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New Florida Car Seat Rules Go Into Effect Today

My kids are 5 years and 7 years old. They are still in booster seats. I always thought this was

Nora in her car seat

Nora in her car seat

pretty reasonable. I also thought this was the law, but I was wrong. Until today, car seats or booster seats were only required for children up to age 3. Now they are required for age 4 and 5, as well.

Here is the official Florida statute:

316.613 Child restraint requirements.

(1)(a) 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.

1. For children aged through 3 years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat.
2. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a child booster seat may be used.
I think this is totally reasonable. In fact, a quick look at the recommendation flyer of the of the National Highway Traffic Safety Association includes recommendation up to age 12: “Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there. “

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