Florida takes the safety of children seriously and in the past couple of years, has made changes to expand its car seat laws regarding older children, as well as the use of booster seats. According to the Orlando Sentinel, state law requires children up to the age of 6 to be in an approved car or booster seat. However, experts did state that plastic becomes compromised over time, particularly when exposed to heat, and the seat could pose a danger. For safety purposes, they recommend that the seats should not be used past their expiration date.
The main reason for requiring older children to be in booster seats is to allow for the proper fit of a seat belt. When using a belt, it needs to rest on the hips and across the shoulder. However, the belt instead sits on the neck and stomach of small children, which may increase the chances of serious injuries in a crash.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that a fine and points on the license could occur for drivers found in violation of the car seat law. Of course, there are exceptions to the law. In a medical emergency or when riding with an unpaid, unrelated driver, a child doesn’t have to be in a car or booster seat. In addition, there are some medical conditions that allow for exemption. Although Florida is not alone in basing the booster seat law on the age of a child, the vehicle’s original seat belts fit best on those who are 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller.