In a recent report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that vehicle collisions were the leading cause of death in children aged 3 and every age from 5 to 14. At Germain Toyota of Sarasota, we’re saddened by this report, but proud that the state of Florida is combating this by bulking up its child car seat laws after years of legislation and debate.
Photo source: safercar.gov
As a Toyota dealership near Bradenton, we’re doing our part to fight the good fight by offering our fellow Floridians some of the safest vehicles on the market. If you’re about to have a child and are in need of a new vehicle—a vehicle in which you can feel completely safe—contact us at 855-826-1499 to discover your options. We have one of the largest inventories of new Toyotas and pre-owned cars in Sarasota, so you’ll have no trouble locating the vehicle that fits your budget and needs perfectly.
2015’s New Child Car Seat Laws in Florida
In January 2015, the child car seat laws in Florida changed. When once they were some of the most lax regulations in the country, they’re now on par with the rest of the states’ laws. As of 2016, the Florida child car seat regulations are separated by the following age groups:
- Infant – Must be secured in a rear-facing child seat until they are at least 1 year of age and weigh 20 pounds or more. Infants should be positioned at no more a 45-degree angle upright. Rear-facing seats include infant car seats, convertible seats, and all-in-one seats.
- 3 Years and Younger – Must be secured into a separate car seat, or in the vehicle’s built-in child seat (if applicable). This seat is generally front-facing, such as a convertible seat, all-in-one seat, or combination seat.
- 3 to 4 Years – Must be secured into a federally approved child restraint seat or the vehicle’s built-in child seat (if applicable).
- 4 to 5 Years – Must be secured by a safety seatbelt, in either a separate car seat, or in a built-in child seat (if applicable). If a seatbelt does not properly fit your child, a booster set can be used to adjust the belt accordingly. Children under 4’9” in height and weighing between 40 and 80 pounds should always be positioned in a booster seat with the vehicle’s seatbelt.
- 6 Years and Older – Must be in a seatbelt, and probably in a booster seat until the child can place their feet flat on the
Violating the Florida child car seat regulations and laws could result in a fine and demerits placed on your driving record, not to mention the risk of potential injury (and even death) to your child. Those exempt from the law include unpaid drivers unrelated to the child, for-hire drivers, and drivers transporting children in need of urgent care.
Car Seat Do’s and Don’ts
Of course, every situation is different, and laws sometimes aren’t all-encompassing. Here are some helpful tips to keep your child safest when in the car.
- Do put your infant in a car seat positioned in the rear row of seats, preferably in the middle.
- Do use a booster seat for any child under 4’9” in height.
- Do use a high-back booster seat as opposed to a backless seat, as high-back seats fare better in side-impact collisions.
- Do ensure your car seat’s harness clips are securely on the chest of your child.
- Do choose a car seat with a five-point harness for better security in the event of a crash.
- Don’t put your child in a car seat in the front of any vehicle with a passenger air bag.
- Don’t allow children under the age of 13 to sit in the front passenger seat.
- Don’t leave a lot of slack in the harness. Any more than one finger between body and belt is too loose.
- Don’t forget to use LATCH anchors. If your vehicle is from Y2K or before it may not have LATCH, so it might be time to visit our used car dealership in Sarasotato upgrade.
- Don’t forget to adjust the seat’s belt length as your child grows. The top of your child’s head should be at least an inch below the shell of the seat. Any higher and they should be in a booster seat.
Keeping your child safe is your primary concern, so don’t be afraid to seek help if you have difficulty installing or using the car seat. Below you’ll find contact information and resources to assist you better.
- Get Your Seat Inspected Free! – Visit Parents Central to locate your nearest child seat inspection station.
- NHTSA Child Safety Program – Call 888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov for more information about child seat safety.
- Guide to Safety with Kids & Cars – Download PDF for a list of vehicles and compatible car seats.
- Car Seat Installation Instructions by Type – How-to videos available as instructional tools.
- Car Seat Guidelines Post-Collision – Details what to do with a car seat after a crash.
- Child Safety Ratings – Find the safest car seat that is easy to install and use.
- Find the Right Car Seat – Or fill out your child’s information to find some of the best seats based on age, height, & weight.
As always, an ideal way to remain safe is to have a vehicle with the best and most modern safety features available. At Germain Toyota of Sarasota, you’ll find such top-of-the-line safety features in each and every Toyota car, SUV, minivan, or truck in our inventory. Your family deserves nothing less.
As a premier Toyota dealer near Bradenton, we’re here to help ensure your family’s safety on the road. Visit our showroom at 7435 South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota or call us at 855-826-1499 to schedule a test drive and speak with our sales team about our new and pre-owned cars for sale, auto financing options, and other deals and services.