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Child Passenger Safety ( Car Seats ) 


                                                          Did you know that 4 out of 5 car seats are not installed properly?

Florida State Statue

New!!!!  Enhanced Child Restraint Law efective 01-01-15


1.   A child restraint device must be used until the child’s 6th birthday.

2.    A car seat with harnesses must be used until the child’s 4th birthday (a booster seat cannot be used with a child that is 3 and under).

3.   A car seat or a booster seat can be used for children age 4 and 5.  However, a car seat is preferred if the child is under 40 pounds.


The Law - Florida State Statute 316.613 outlines the 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. However, the requirement to
          use a child restraint device under this subparagraph does not apply when a safety belt is used as required in s. 316.614(4)(a) and the child:
          a. Is being transported gratuitously by an operator who is not a member of the child’s immediate family;
          b. Is being transported in a medical emergency situation involving the child; or
          c. Has a medical condition that necessitates an exception as evidenced by appropriate documentation from a health care professional.
     (b) The department shall provide notice of the requirement for child restraint devices, which notice shall accompany the delivery of each motor vehicle
          license tag.
(2)  As used in this section, the term “motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle as defined in s. 316.003 that is operated on the roadways, streets, and highways
      of the state. The term does not include:
         (a) A school bus as defined in s. 316.003(45).
         (b) A bus used for the transportation of persons for compensation, other than a bus regularly used to transport children to or from school, as defined 
                in s. 316.615(1)(b), or in conjunction with school activities.
         (c) A farm tractor or implement of husbandry.
         (d) A truck having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds.
         (e) A motorcycle, moped, or bicycle.
(3) The failure to provide and use a child passenger restraint shall not be considered comparative negligence, nor shall such failure be admissible as evidence
      in the trial of any civil action with regard to negligence.
(4) It is the legislative intent that all state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, and safety councils, in recognition of the problems with child death and
      injury from unrestrained occupancy in motor vehicles, conduct a continuing safety and public awareness campaign as to the magnitude of the problem.
(5) Any person who violates this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318 and shall have 3 points assessed against his or her
     driver license as set forth in s. 322.27. In lieu of the penalty specified in s. 318.18 and the assessment of points, a person who violates this section may
     elect, with the court’s approval, to participate in a child restraint safety program approved by the chief judge of the circuit in which the violation occurs,
     and, upon completing such program, the penalty specified in chapter 318 and associated costs may be waived at the court’s discretion and the assessment
     of points shall be waived. The child restraint safety program must use a course approved by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and
     the fee for the course must bear a reasonable relationship to the cost of providing the course.
(6) The child restraint requirements imposed by this section do not apply to a chauffeur-driven taxi, limousine, sedan, van, bus, motor coach, or other
     passenger vehicle if the operator and the motor vehicle are hired and used for the transportation of persons for compensation. It is the obligation and
     responsibility of the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for a child’s welfare as defined in s. 39.01 to comply with the requirements of this
Types of Restraints:
These recommendations are all regardless of age!

   Rear-Facing Child Safety Seat for children 5 pounds up to 20 – 35 pounds.
   Convertible Child Safety Seat: rear-facing for children 5 pounds up to 30 – 45 pounds and forward-facing for children 30/45 – 40/80 pounds.

 Front-Facing Only Child Safety Seat: Front-facing only from 30/40 to 40/80 pounds. 

Usually harness straps can be removed and be used as a booster seat up to 80 - 120 pounds.

Booster Seat for children who weigh 40 – 120 pounds and less than 4’9” tall using lap and shoulder belts of vehicle. 

(Children must be at least 4 years old!)

Seat Belt (using lap and shoulder strap) for all other children and used at all times.



•    Consider ease of use when choosing a child restraint.
•    Know how your car works as well as your car seat so installations will be less troublesome.
•    Read your owners manual for your vehicle and car seat.
•    Car seat should not slide back-n-forth or side-to-side more that 1 inch in any direction; if it does then it should be tightened down some more.  If the car       seat continues to move, your seat belt may not be pre-crash locked!  
•    Make harness straps snug on the child.  The harness straps should be at or just below the child’s shoulders for rear-facing seats.  The harness straps              should be at or just above the child’s shoulders for forward-facing seats.
•    Place retainer clip at armpit level. 

Did you know?
  • Car Seats have an expiration date.  Usually 5-6 years from the date it was manufactured unless stated otherwise.  Manufacture dates can be found on a label usually on the underside or back of the car seat.  Sometimes, do not use after dates are printed into the plastic of the seat for when labels are missing.  
  • Car seats are only crash tested once.  So, if your car seat has been in use during a crash, you should replace the car seat for the safety of your child.
  • Items that are loose in your vehicle may become missiles in the event of a crash.  These items may injure you or your child, so please secure them so they will not move about the vehicle.
  • Turning in your warranty card will allow the car seat manufacturer to notify you if there are any recalls or other problems with the car seat you own
  • During the school season, carpooling to school is a big deal.  Please make sure that all children in your vehicle are properly restrained in the appropriate child safety device. 
  • Recommendation for front passenger riders is that NO ONE under the age of 13 rides in the front seat.


What are the most common child safety seat installation mistakes?*

•    Not using the right child safety seats for a child's size and age;
•    Not placing the child safety seat in the correct direction;
•    Incorrect installation of the child safety seat in relation to the vehicle's air bags;
•    Incorrect installation and tightness of the child safety seat to the vehicle seat;
•    Not securing/tightening the child safety seat's harness and crotch straps;
•    Improper use of locking clips for certain vehicle safety belts;
•    Not making sure the vehicle's seat belts fit properly across the child when using a booster seat; and  
•    Using a defective or broken child safety seat.
*Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


Contacts for more information:
Jennie Burton at Polk County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention 863-298-6678
Car Seat Classes and Check-Up Events:
•    Please contact Jennie Burton at Polk County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention 863-298-6678 for information on classes and check-up events.
•    For car seat check up events:

What Parents Need to Do:

  • Bring the child using their current restraint. 
  • Allow at least 30 minutes for each seat to be checked. 
  • Provide the vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Provide the child restraint instructions.


Find out more on your own:
•    Safe Kids Worldwide Website 
•    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Website 
•    Seat Check Website
•    Online Sunshine