This week is Child Passenger Safety week. Did you know that Motor Vehicle Crashes are the leading cause of unintentional deaths among children aged 1-19? In 2014 alone, 451 children aged 8 and under died due to a motor vehicle crash making up 15% of childhood motor vehicle fatalities. Sadly 116 of these children were not restrained by an age-appropriate device such as an infant car seat, booster seat or seat belt. Child Passenger Safety is an important topic and we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight Florida laws regarding child passengers and to urge you to take the safety of your child passengers into consideration each time you are driving in your Wilde Car.
According to the Florida DMV, children 5 years old or younger must be secured in a federally approved child restraint system– specifically, children 3 or younger must use a separate car-seat or the vehicle’s built in child seat while children 4 through 5 years must sit in either a separate car seat, a built in child seat or a seat belt, depending on the child’s height and weight. Children 6-17 must wear a seatbelt. Failure to comply with these laws could result in a fine up to $60 and 3 points against your driver’s license.
It is always safer for your child to ride in the backseat over the front and carseats are an important part of child passenger safety. Read below for car seat recommendations for your child from safecar.gov:
Rear-Facing Car Seat:
Children under age 1 should always ride in rear-facing car seats. You should try to keep your child in rear-facing carseats until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Convertible and All-In-One car seats typically have higher height and weight limits and allow your child to stay rear-facing longer. Once your child outgrows rear-facing they are ready for a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether.
Forward-Facing Car Seat:
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
You should keep your child in a booster seat until they are big enough for a seat belt to fit properly, which means the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs (not stomach) and the shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest (not the neck or face). Once your child outgrows a booster seat, your child is finally ready for a seatbelt.
Even though your child has outgrown the booster seat, safety is still very important. The back seat is the safest place for your child and you should have them sit in the back until they are at least 12 years old. Never start the car without making sure your children are buckled up! Teaching them this habit young will help keep them safe when as passengers and future drivers.