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Florida Child Car Seat Laws,
New 2015 Florida Child Seat Requirements, and
Florida Child Seat Regulations

It is the responsibility of the supervising adult to ensure that any child under 5 years old is seated
in a federally-approved child car seat.

Failure to do so could result in a fines and 3 points against their driver’s license and more importantly,
injury to the child/children.

Florida law states:
(The law is found in Florida Statute §316.613, Florida Child Restraint Requirements-)

Every operator of a motor vehicle as defined in this section, while transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on
the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall, if the child is 5 years of age or younger, provide for protection of
the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device.

       For children aged through 3 years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle
manufacturer’s integrated child seat. 

For children aged 4 and 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat,
or a child booster seat may be used. 

There can be exceptions for emergency situations, transportation by a person who is not a member of the child’s
immediate family, and some medical condition that necessitates an exception.

“Vehicles” do not include a school bus or other bus used for the transportation of persons for compensation, other
than a bus regularly used to transport children to or from school, a farm tractor, a truck having a gross vehicle weight
rating of more than 26,000 pounds, a motorcycle, moped, or bicycle.

The child restraint requirements imposed by law do not apply to a chauffeur-driven taxi, limousine, sedan, van,
bus, motor coach, or other passenger vehicle if the operator and the motor vehicle are hired and used for the
transportation of persons for compensation. It is the obligation and responsibility of the parent, guardian, or other
person responsible for a child’s welfare to comply with the requirements of this section in this setting.


That is what is required by law, but Florida’s “suggested Child Car Seat Guidelines” are:

Birth to 1 year old and at least 20 lbs.-
Use a rear-facing child car seat in the back seat of the car.
Continue to use a rear-facing child car seat in the back seat until they outgrow the weight and
height limit of the child car seat.

1 year old and 20 lbs. to 4 years old and 40 lbs.-
Normally when children are over 1 year old and weigh over 20 pounds,
you can switch to a forward-facing car seat in the back of the car.

4 years old and 40 lbs. to 8 years old or 4’9″ tall-
Switch to a booster seat in the back of the car.
Use a forward-facing child seat in the back seat until they reach the weight and height limits recommended
by the manufacturer.

8 years old or 4’9″ tall 12 years old-
Use a booster seat in the back seat until your child is big enough to use the car’s seat belt.

Booster Seat size considerations and recommendations to help determine if your child, after age 5,
is ready to wear a seat belt without a booster seat:
•the child is at least 4-feet, 9-inches tall.
•the child can sit all the way back in the seat and bend knees at the edge of the seat.
•the shoulder belt lays across the chest, not the neck.
•the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, not the stomach.
Children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat of the vehicle whenever possible for additional safety.

     At 13 years old, your child can sit in the front seat of your car, but not recommended prior to age 13.

Why is information regarding Florida’s child seat regulations on a criminal defense lawyer’s website?

Because if a child is injured or exposed to neglect by failure to comply with the law it can be criminal child abuse, per Florida Statute §827.03.

If you are charged with a violation of Florida Child Seat Regulations in the Pensacola, Florida area, call Chris Rabby.  –  (850) 437-9410.