Is My Child’s Car Seat Safe?
As the weather in Florida improves after a grey, chilly winter, more and more families are out and around to enjoy the sun. However, it is important that you ensure that your car and more specifically, your child’s car seat, are up to protecting you should any kind of accident happen. Recalls can make a parent understandably nervous, and it is important that you are aware of what to look for to make sure your child is well protected.
State Law Requirements
Florida’s law requires that all children aged 5 or under be restrained in a “crash-tested, federally approved” restraint device – not necessarily a car seat, but any kind of device designed to protect a child in the event of a crash. Children under the age of 3, however, must be restrained in an “integrated” child’s car seat or separate carrier. The distinction is fine, but important; a booster seat that is designed for an older child will not be safe for a younger child or baby, and may actually cause more harm in the event of an accident, depending on where the automobile is hit.
While there is constant debate as to what type of seat is the “best,” the best car seat is one that is the appropriate size for your child, and fits their size. There is such a thing as best practices – for example, it is generally recommended to place a seat for a child aged 0-3 years facing the rear, as the muscles in their necks and backs are not well-formed enough to sustain life in the event of a serious crash while facing forward. However, there is no hard and fast choice one can make as to the model of car seat itself.
Lack Of A Car Seat Is Not A Crime
It is important that you understand that while placing your child in the wrong type of car seat or placing it incorrectly is not a crime, it is considered a moving violation, carrying a $60 fine and putting three points onto your driver’s license. In some cases, the court may agree to waive the points if you consent to participate in a child safety program that can help teach you the correct way to install a seat and better ways to ensure your child’s safety in the car.
It is also important to understand that Florida law explicitly states that the lack of a car seat will not be considered contributory negligence in the event of a wreck. In other words, if the unthinkable happens and you are involved in an accident while your child is in the car, any award you receive on behalf of your child for their injuries would not be lowered because of any alleged negligence on your part. Normally, if you are in an accident but you are held to have been contributorily negligent in your own harm, any award a jury granted you would be lowered according to your percentage of fault. If any injuries happen due to the lack of a proper car seat, Florida law forbids a jury from taking that into account.
Call A Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Most parents place their children’s safety as their top priority, and naturally you want to ensure that they are as safe as possible in your vehicle. If you have any further questions about Florida’s car seat laws or you have been assessed a moving violation for an improper car seat, calling an experienced Tampa personal injury lawyer may be a good idea. The Rinaldo Law Group has been handling these cases for years, and we will work hard to help you with yours. Call us today for a free consultation.