Florida has a mandatory child restraint law. This law sets up a three-tier system that describes the type of restraint drivers must use when traveling with a child under 18.
This law serves an essential purpose. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 91,000 children age 12 and younger got injured in car accidents in 2019.
According to the CDC, a child seat reduces the risk of injury by 82% in young children. This means tens of thousands of children could avoid injury by simply riding in the required safety seat.
Below, learn about the child car seat laws covering drivers and their young passengers in Jacksonville, Florida. If you have any questions or need help after a collision, contact the car accident attorneys in Jacksonville at Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers or give us a call at (904) 396-1100.
How Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After an Accident in Jacksonville, FL
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers was founded in 2012. Since our firm opened its doors, we’ve helped accident victims recover tens of millions of dollars in life-changing injury compensation.
Our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers have over 69 years of combined legal experience assisting injured clients and their families get back on their feet.
Our firm’s lawyers have earned many honors and awards, including:
- An AV Preeminent rating, the highest possible, from Martindale-Hubbell
- Florida Super Lawyers
- Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Florida by National Trial Lawyers
After a car accident involving your child, you need experienced legal representation to ensure that you get the compensation you and your child need. To discuss injuries you or your child suffered in a car accident, contact Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.
How Common Are Car Accidents Involving Children?
Car accidents are a leading cause of death for children of all ages. According to the CDC, 38% of children who die in car accidents were not wearing any kind of child restraint.
For children between 5 and 8 years old, the CDC identifies motor vehicle accidents as the eighth leading cause of non-fatal injuries.
Fortunately, car seats work. In Florida, only two children died out of 3,604 children in rear-facing child seats during a car crash in 2020. Only four out of 10,462 children in forward-facing child car seats died.
Even booster seats helped. Over 78% of children riding in booster seats walked away from their car crash with no injuries.
Overview of Florida Child Car Seat Laws
Florida has a law requiring drivers to use a child restraint device for children five years and younger. Florida’s mandatory seat belt law takes over from there, requiring that children under 18 must wear a seat belt.
These two laws set up a three-step system of child restraints where:
- Children 3 years and younger must ride in a child car seat
- Children 4 and 5 may use a booster seat or a car seat
- Children 6 through 17 must wear a seat belt
If you drive with the child unrestrained or improperly restrained, the police can stop you and issue a citation. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can also add three points to your driving record.
More importantly, driving with an unrestrained or improperly restrained child risks more than your driver’s license. Your child could die or suffer a serious injury without proper restraint.
How Do Child Car Seats Work?
Car seats include an integrated head, neck, and back support. In a forward-facing seat, the supports act the same as your seat but are shaped for the child’s smaller body.
In a rear-facing car seat, these supports sit in the direction of your motion. When you collide with something, the child gets pushed into the seat, preventing whiplash.
Car seats also include a five-point harness, reducing the likelihood of the child getting ejected from the seat in a collision or rollover accident.
What Causes Child Injuries in Collisions?
As mentioned, many children who died in car crashes were unrestrained. But over 60% were restrained and still suffered a fatal injury. This happens when parents misuse or improperly install car seats.
One of the most common mistakes parents make is to select the wrong car seat for their child’s age or size. Florida’s law does not tell you when to use a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat.
Generally, you should use a rear-facing seat as long as possible. Children usually outgrow rear-facing seats after they turn two.
Another mistake comes from installing the car seat incorrectly. Older cars might not have anchors for the seat, and securing the seat with the car’s seat belt can get tricky. Police, fire, and health departments often offer child seat inspection services to ensure you install your seat correctly.
What Types of Child Injuries Can Occur in Car Accidents?
Your child can suffer the same injuries in a car accident as you, such as:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Chest injury
- Crushing injury
- Brain injury
- Soft tissue damage
One car seat-related injury you can avoid comes from your airbags.
Child seats are not designed for use in your front seat. You should always put your child in the back seat. If you cannot, you should manually turn off your passenger-side airbag.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyers if Your Child Was Injured in a Crash
Even if your child was properly restrained in a car seat, accidents can cause injuries.
If your child was injured in a car accident, you can take action to ensure they have the resources to meet their medical and living expenses. Contact Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss your child’s car accident.