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Child Passenger Safety (Car Seats)
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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
The Law - Florida State Statute 316.613 outlines the child restraint requirements:
(1)    (a)  Every operator of a motor vehicle as defined herein, 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. For children aged through 3 years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer's integrated child seat. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used.
(b)  The Division of Motor Vehicles 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 the provisions of this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318 and shall have 3 points assessed against his or her driver's 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 the provisions of 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.
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 or 120 pounds.
Booster Seat for children who weigh 40 – 120 pounds and less than 4’9” tall using lap and shoulder belts of vehicle. 
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 20 to 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