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At What Age Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat in Florida?

At What Age Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat in Florida?

Every stage of parenting brings with it new challenges and questions. Keeping up with basics, like ensuring you provide them with healthy food and that they get enough rest, can be stressful enough. Safety issues are the types of parenting issues that are likely to keep you up at night. 

Keeping kids safe while riding in the family vehicle, for instance, is every parent’s priority. However, some car safety technologies may actually put young riders at risk. All cars released after 1999 contain front-seat airbags, but these are made to protect adults, not kids. 

Airbags can cause serious harm to a small child, including brain injuries that can be fatal. In response, car seats were designed to make trips in the car safer for kids, but even they can be tricky to work with.

Staying Safe at Every Age

Close to 400,000 motor vehicle accidents occurred in the State of Florida in 2023 alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics has since issued recommendations to help parents keep children of all ages safer in the event of a car accident. But “recommendations” are not always legal requirements. 

As a child grows, they eventually graduate from rear-facing car seats to forward-facing car seats, then to booster seats, and finally to seat belts. The transition isn’t based solely on age but also on size.

It is generally recommended to keep a child in each stage for as long as possible. Following the car seat manufacturer’s recommendations and requirements makes it easier to guide the transition. 

Nevertheless, as per Florida law, children under the age of 5 should be secured in a federally approved child restraint system. In addition, Florida law states that all drivers and passengers, wherever they are seated, are required to use a seat belt or appropriate child restraint device.

There is no specific law in Florida that designates the age at which children can move into the front seat. However, the state does mandate that children under the age of 6 remain in a car restraint. If the vehicle has a back seat, it is typically agreed upon that children under the age of 13 are safest when riding there.   

Choosing and installing the correct restraint for your child can be confusing. Read the relevant portion of your vehicle’s owner’s manual before installing a seat. And, always be on the lookout for any car seat and booster seat recalls to ensure the seat you choose is federally approved.

In any case, the kinds of child restraints that are used throughout Florida are as follows:

Rear-Facing Car Seat

Rear-facing seats are safest for infants to children around two years old. Infant-only seats may only be used in the rear-facing mode. Convertible car seats can be adapted for forward-facing use once the child gets big enough. Children should remain in their rear-facing seat until they reach its weight and height limit. 

Forward-Facing Car Seat

Most children are ready to graduate to a forward-facing seat by the age of 2.

Booster Seat

Florida law states that children between the ages of 4 and 5 must be sat in an integrated car seat or booster seat. 

Seat Belt

Children should remain in booster seats until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt. For a proper fit, the lap belt should lie snugly against the child’s upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should fit across the chest and shoulder and should not slip onto the face or neck. 

If you must transport a young child in a vehicle that doesn’t have a back seat, disable the car’s airbags. 

Need More Help?

Whether they are walking on the sidewalk or riding in a car, children are safer when drivers follow all traffic regulations, including seat restraint laws. If you’d like more information about child restraints or need help installing a car seat, visit the Polk Car Seat Safety page today.

Contact a Lakeland Car Accident Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney in Lakeland today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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