Florida law requires all children under five years old to be secured by a federally approved seat when riding in a vehicle, but compliance with the statute is a secondary reason to buckle up your child. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that proper safety restraints reduce the risk of serious injury among children aged 4-8 years old by 45 percent, as compared to only wearing a manufacturer-installed seatbelt. Plus, car or booster seats lower the risk of fatalities among toddlers from 1-4 years old by more than half.
However, even when you know these devices offer considerable protection for your child, you may face challenges in choosing one. There’s an almost infinite number of models available at all price points, and it’s important to do your homework. You may not be able to avoid Ocala, FL auto accidents entirely, but you can make sure your child is as secure as possible by following some tips on picking and using the right booster seat.
- Buy the best booster seat you can Padding around the child’s head is very important.
- Try not to place the booster seat immediately next to the side of the
We recently declined a side impact case in which a one year-old suffered brain damage. Although the booster seat’s padding in the head area was inadequate, the impact into the rear side of the vehicle was so severe that adequate padding may not have made a difference. Also, the mother had fit three booster seats into the rear of a small 4-door sedan so that the booster seat in which the injured child sat was immediately up against the side of the rear door which was impacted.
The Purpose of a Booster Seat: Even before you start researching specific brands, it’s important to understand what booster seats do. They’re intended for children more than 12 months old, up to the age limit of five years old in Florida. Boosters are not intended for use with infants, who need a much higher degree of protection. These devices are designed for children who are mobile and typically ride upright in the vehicle.
Your Child’s Height and Weight: After age, the other important factors in choosing a booster seat are weight and height – allowing room for growth. Manufacturer specifications for most models will state a minimum weight of 30 pounds for a booster with a back, and at least 40 pounds for one without a back. By default, all children under 4 feet, 9 inches should be in a proper car seat.
Generally, manufacturer and consumer safety groups associate height and weight with the child’s skeletal strength and ability to withstand an impact. When a child is higher in both measurements, the presumption is that the skeleton is more developed.
Florida Law Defines the Bottom Line: You should also note that the statute merely names the minimum threshold to avoid a ticket for having your child in an improper booster seat. Your concerns on safety far surpass trying to get out of a traffic citation.
Get Legal Advice from an Ocala, FL Auto Accidents Attorney
Armed with these tips, you’re sure to choose the best fit when shopping for a booster seat for your child. However, there are still risks all around when you’re driving on Florida roadways. If you were involved in a car accident and you or your child was hurt, please call Piccin & Glynn to schedule a no-cost case evaluation. You can reach our Ocala car accident attorneys by calling 352-581-6174 or visiting our firm online at www.ocalapersonalinjury.law.