The importance of child booster seats and restraint laws cannot be understated. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Transportation injuries were the leading cause of death for children, with motor vehicle traffic accidents producing the highest death rates.
In 2019, there were 127,285 children involved in traffic crashes in Florida. Those crashes resulted in 142 fatalities and thousands of injuries. Child booster seats and restraint systems can protect your child in the event of a crash.
What Are Florida’s Laws Regarding Child Booster Seats and Restraint Systems?
The Florida child restraint laws state that all children under the age of 18 years must use a seatbelt or child restraint device when riding in an automobile. Children under five years of age must be secured in a child restraint device.
There are some exceptions to the law, including:
- School buses
- Truck with a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds
- Farm tractor
Children from birth to three years of age must be in a child restraint device or the vehicle’s integrated child seat while riding in a motor vehicle. Children who are four or five years of age can ride in a booster seat, integrated child seat, or separate carrier.
Children under 12 years of age should ride in the rear seats to protect them from injuries caused by airbags during a crash.
What Type of Car Restraint Device Should I Use for My Child?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing a child in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of a vehicle. The child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until the child exceeds the maximum height or weight for the car seat. At that time, the child can be placed in a front-facing car seat in the vehicle’s rear seat.
When children outgrow car seats, they may be transitioned into a booster seat. A booster seat allows for proper positioning of the seat belt, which is vital during a collision.
Most children are tall enough to ride without a booster seat by the time they reach eight years of age. Parents should always ensure that the seat belt is positioned correctly before transitioning a child out of a booster seat into a seat belt.
Why Does Florida Have Booster Seat and Restraint Laws?
The state wants to protect children who are involved in car crashes. Requiring drivers to place children in car seats and other restraints reduces severe injuries and childhood deaths in traffic accidents.
Injuries that children may sustain in a car crash include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Fractures and broken bones
- Damage to internal organs
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Back and neck injuries
A child injured in a car accident could develop permanent impairments, requiring lifelong medical and personal care.
What Should I Do if My Child Is Injured in a Car Accident?
Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts reduce the risk of severe injuries from an automobile accident. They do not guarantee that a child will not sustain injuries. It is in your child’s best interest to be examined by a physician after an accident, even though you might believe your child was not injured in the crash.
Childhood injury cases can be challenging. A child who sustains permanent disabilities has a lifetime of expenses, loss of income, and decreased quality of life to consider. The child deserves fair and just compensation for these damages.
However, the first hurdle is to prove the elements of negligence. You must prove that a party caused a car accident, and the crash resulted in your child’s injuries.
If you were driving and you were at fault, your child could have a claim against you. Your car insurance may be required to compensate your child for damages.
Determining the cause of the accident and identifying the liable parties begins with an accident investigation. A personal injury lawyer can handle your legal matter so you can focus on your child’s recovery and wellbeing.
The attorney gathers evidence, identifies the responsible parties, files insurance claims, and negotiates a settlement. If the other party refuses to pay a fair settlement amount, the attorney will discuss proceeding with a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
When Do I Need to File a Claim for My Child’s Automobile Accident?
The timing for filing a claim for a child depends on several factors, including the duration of your child’s recovery. Your lawyer monitors the deadlines for you to ensure you do not miss a filing deadline for a personal injury lawsuit. Missing the deadlines for personal injury claims can result in a lawsuit being dismissed.