Child Restraints in Vehicles

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Florida law requires use of child restraint devices in motor vehicles. The law applies to all children five or younger.

If the child is three or younger, the device must be an approved separate carrier or car seat or one provided in the vehicle by the manufacturer. Older children, ages four and five, can use those same devices or a seat belt. 

Vehicle exceptions 

There are some exceptions for certain types of vehicles. School busses are not required to comply. Neither are various farm vehicles such as tractors. Large trucks and semis are exempt, as are motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles. (There is, however, a separate rule for bicycles that requires a child under four to be in a special seat.) In addition, various kinds of hired transportation vehicles are not required to provide child restraints.  These include taxis, limos, vans, buses and others with a hired driver. In the case of these hired vehicles, the law specifically states that it is the sole responsibility of the child’s parent or guardian to comply with the law, although there is no indication how a parent should arrange to put a child seat in a taxicab, limo or minivan.

Failure to meet requirements

Failure to meet these requirements is a moving violation with a fine and three points on the offender’s license. There is, however, an option for taking a child safety course instead if the court allows. That course must meet standards set by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Finally, it is the law that one with the obligation to provide and use a child restraint device—a parent or guardian—can be liable for the injuries suffered by a child in an accident. Noncompliance with the law can be used to show negligence of the parent or guardian and the injuries that resulted from the failure to put the child in the required seat or carrier.
Taking proper care of our children is something we all want to do. In the case of child vehicle restraints, the State of Florida absolutely requires us to do it.
If you have any questions about this law or your responsibility, or if you or your child were involved in an accident, we are here to help. Please contact us for more information.
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