Child Booster Seat/Restraint Laws in Florida

Child booster seat/restraint laws, though decided at the state level, are fairly uniform throughout the country. With few exceptions, most states have passed and implemented laws requiring children five years of age and under to use a booster seat when traveling in a vehicle.

The state of Florida passed such a law, which became effective in 2015. Under the law, children between the ages of 0-5 need to be in a federally approved car or booster seat of some kind. Prior to this law, children ages 4-5 only needed to wear a seat belt. 

The law is broken down like this:

  • 0-3-year-olds need to be in a federally approved car seat
  • 4-5-year-olds need to be in a federally approved booster seat
  • 6 years and up need to wear a seat belt

The law, and similar laws in other states, follows numerous studies that have shown how effective such restraints can be at preventing injury and death in an accident. Some have even indicated that the use of booster seats by children ages 4-8 can reduce the risk of injury by over 40 percent.

It is worth noting that there is a “free ride” provision in the law that allows drivers to transport children not in their family without a restraint. The law does not want to penalize those who are helping out friends, family, and neighbors by giving them and their children a ride.

What are the Penalties For Violating Florida’s Car Seat Laws?

The child restraint/booster seat law does have some teeth. Drivers who fail to comply can face a $60 fine and receive a three-point penalty on their driver’s license. While these consequences are by no means devastating, they should be enough to make most drivers want to follow the law.

In addition to the safety benefits of using proper restraints and legal consequences for failing to do so, there is one other reason drivers may want to follow state booster seat laws. If a child is injured in an accident and they were not in a proper restraint or booster seat, it could add an additional barrier when it comes time to collect compensation.

An insurance company could claim that the driver was negligent by not putting their child in a proper restraint and is therefore barred from recovering damages to pay for the child’s injuries. There will certainly be other factors in play in such a case, but it would definitely make your case more challenging.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Claim

You should contact a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you and your child were involved in an accident — regardless of whether your child was in a proper restraint or booster seat. A skilled lawyer will know what to look for in each accident and how to effectively build your case.

Insurance companies will be terrified if a child is injured in a case and rightfully so. Juries are known to give compensation generously when an accident injures a child. Because of this, your lawyer should be able to bring your insurance company to the table quickly. If the insurance company is willing to make a good faith effort, your lawyer will also be able to negotiate a settlement that is fair for you and your child.

Don’t try to handle the legal issues surrounding your case while trying to nurse your child back to health. Hire competent legal representation and fight to get the money you and your child deserve.