Child Safety Laws Florida
Infants should always use a rear-facing seat, as this is the safest possible method of transporting young children. Safety experts recommend continuing to use this seat as long as the child is within the height and weight limits of the seat. When the child does outgrow the rear-facing seat (normally reaching at least one year of age and a minimum of 20 pounds of weight), you should switch to a forward-facing child safety seat. This seat should also be installed in the vehicle’s rear seat.
Violations to these laws are noncriminal, but may result in a fine. Certain medical conditions such as lupus or other autoimmune disorders which require limited exposure to sunlight could be reason for exemption with proper medical documentation.
To prevent heat stroke or other fatal outcomes, it's against Florida law to leave a child under 6 years old in an unattended vehicle for more than 15 minutes. Punishment for breaking this law is a second degree misdemeanor.
Children ages nine through twelve must remain in the rear seat of the vehicle and use a seat belt at all times. Children of this age no longer require the use of a booster seat and can safely use the adult seat belt.
By law, children ages four and five may continue to use a child safety seat, at the parent’s discretion. Alternatively, the child may use the vehicle’s safety belt. The child must remain in the rear seat. That said, safety experts recommend that children should continue to use the forward-facing seat until they exceed the weight or height limit of the seat. This is normally around age four and a weight of 40 pounds. Safety experts also recommend that children use a booster seat at this age. Otherwise, the seat belt may not fit properly and the child is at significant risk of harm in the event of an accident.
On these webpages, you will find information about occupant protection and proper seat restraints, safety in and around school zones and school buses, bicycle and pedestrian safety, preventing child heatstroke in cars and driveway safety and new teen driver safety. At the bottom of each page, you will find more resources such as handouts for adults and children and other useful videos.
Florida offers a number of free child seat fitting stations. You should always visit one of these stations when considering changing your child’s seating arrangement to ensure that it is safe. Never make a car safety decision based solely upon materials you read online or offline. Always seek out an expert opinion. Visit the SaferCar website to find a station and make an appointment. For more information on child seat safety, read safety tips from Miami Children’s Hospital or TheSpruce.
Children aged six though eight must remain in the rear seat of the vehicle and use a seat belt at all times. Although the law does not require the use of a booster seat, safety experts recommend that you continue to use a booster seat for your child until the child is at least four feet, nine inches (4’9”) tall.