Starting on January 1, 2015, new car seat laws have taken effect which may mean that your child’s safety seat is no longer in compliance. According to the new law, children five and under MUST be in a car seat or booster seat, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
While every child grows differently, it is recommended by SaferCar.gov that you keep your kids in a booster seat until they are 4-foot-9, which usually is when they are around eight years old.
It is also important to note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that children under three years old remain in rear facing car seats. It is important not to turn your child front-facing until they have reached the weight a size limit recommended by your car seat’s manufacturer.
Children between the ages of four and seven should remain in a front facing car seat with a harness or a tether, and only once the child has reached the weight or high restriction given by the car seat’s manufacturer should the child move to a booster seat, according to the NHTSA.
It is also recommended that children between eight and 12 remain in a booster seat until they are big enough to wear a seat belt securely and snugly.
Whether in a carrier, car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, your kids are always safest in the back seat of the car. Never put a car seat in the front seat of any car, especially a rear facing car seat like a baby carrier. This can cause serious injuries and even fatalities to your children.
For assistance installing a new car seat, or help choosing the right one for your child, visit the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Safety Store. You can also visit SaferCar.gov to find out specific height or weight requirements and get tips on how to keep your kids safe in the car.
On Saturday, January 10 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital will be at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County E. Palm Ave Tampa location to do a free high-back booster seat giveaway! Click here for more information.