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At What Age Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat of a Car in Florida?

In a recent year, more than 63,000 children were injured in motor vehicle accidents across the United States. With that in mind, keeping your children safe while they ride in the car should always be a top priority. And in Florida, a major part of doing so is understanding the state’s laws regarding car seats

Following the law and knowing where and how to seat your kids in the car can assist in protecting them, especially in the event of an auto collision. But if you or your child are injured in a crash, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance from a qualified Florida car accident attorney.

Front Seat Requirements For Kids Under Florida Law

Children often want to do whatever they can to feel more mature and “cool,” which means they may ask to sit in the front seat. However, if your child has not reached the requisite age, it’s best not to let them ride in the front with you.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), alongside most car manufacturers, recommends that children ride in the back seat of any car until they’ve reached the age of 13. The keyword there, however, is “recommends,” as Florida law does not explicitly state that children under 13 should remain in the back seat.

Nevertheless, once children reach 13, they can typically ride more comfortably and safely in the front passenger seat. Additionally, a car’s seat belts will more appropriately fit an older and larger child, sitting across their chest and on top of their lap. 

Why It’s Important to Keep Children in the Back Seat For Longer

The front seat of a car is not designed for small children, and allowing them to sit there can have serious consequences. For instance, airbags installed for the front seat are designed with adults in mind, not children. Therefore, in the event of a car crash, the resulting airbag deployment can severely injure your child.

In general, keeping kids in the back seat can significantly help keep them safer. Riding in the back seat instead of the front seat minimizes the risk of substantial injury and even death. And it is for that reason that every type of car and booster seat must be installed in the back seat. The back seat of a vehicle has all of the special features to securely fasten child restraints, and safety features are more suitable to a child’s needs. 

Other Types of Child Restraints

Florida law requires children to sit in appropriate child restraints depending on their age, height, and weight. 

Child car seats progress gradually through three phases, which are as follows:

  • Rear-Facing Car Seats: Used from birth until about two to three years of age
  • Forward-Facing Car Seats: Kids transition into forward-facing seats after outgrowing the rear-facing seat and stay in them until reaching height and weight limits set by car seat manufacturers
  • Booster Seats: At about age four or five, children begin to sit in booster seats until reaching weight and height limits (typically about 80 pounds and 4’9”)

Once a child has outgrown all car and booster seats and reached the right age, they can begin sitting in the front seat. Keeping kids in seats that are adequate for their age and size beforehand is a crucial means of protecting them in case of an accident. 

Contact the Jacksonville Car Accident Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help

Sometimes, no matter how much you try to protect your kids, accidents happen. If you and your child(ren) suffer injuries in an auto collision, consult an experienced attorney right away. A lawyer can offer qualified advice and direction for your case and assist you in obtaining favorable compensation for your expenses and losses.

For more information, please contact the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra car accident law firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve Duval County, St. Johns County, and its surrounding areas:

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 396-1100

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 822-4225

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Ponte Vedra
480 Town Plaza Ave #130,
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081
(904) 675-1167

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