There are 48 states with laws requiring children over the age of 3 be restrained in a booster seat. Unfortunately, Florida is not one of them. It seems that our state has lagged behind in creating booster seat laws for our youngest passengers. Some state representatives are working to enact a booster seat law that would make automobiles and roads safer for child passengers.
Safety rules and regulations are always evolving to meet the needs of motorists and their child passengers. It can often take regulators time to catch up, even when recommendations and trends are clear. Our Fort Lauderdale child injury attorneys are dedicated to public health and road safety. We also stay abreast of national trends and are committed to raising awareness in our own state to prevent future accidents and injuries.
According to reports, a new bill would extend the amount of time that toddlers are required to stay in a federally-approved safety seat. If the law passes, children who are under 7 and under 4 feet, 9 inches will be required to use a booster seat in a moving car. Under the current Florida laws, car seats are only required for children under 3. At this time, once a child turns four, he or she is allowed to sit without a crash-tested booster seat and can use an adult seat belt.
Booster seats have been proven to better restrain children in the event of an accident. They are primarily used after a child grows out of their car seat and are intended to protect a child with better fitting of a seat belt over their chest and thighs. Accident investigations have shown that without proper booster seats, a seat belt can run across a child’s neck and stomach, which could result in fatal injuries.
Advocates for the new bill hope to save the lives of children involved in future accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, booster seats for children between the ages of 4 and 8 can reduce the risk of injury or fatality by 45%. Under the new law, children within the age and height range must be in a booster seat and cannot simply ride with an adult seat belt. Violators of the new law could face traffic violations and lose points on their license
The Florida Legislature has delayed the passing of this bill for over 10 years. Had the law passed then, Florida would have been one of the first states to require the extended use of booster seats. The original bill, proposed in 2001 has been proposed at 10 legislative sessions, but never passed. Advocates believe that the current regulations put young children at risk and are at a greater risk than infants who are required to ride in car seats.
Though the benefits to child safety seem like a powerful reason to pass the law, some believe that the government should not overreach, even if it involves child safety. Despite opponent concerns, the bill could save the lives of young children in the event of an accident.
If you or someone in your family has been injured or killed in an accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp, & Gonzalez at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
More Blog Entries:
South Florida at High Risk of Child Heat Stroke Deaths, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, July 21, 2013
Child Pedestrians Safety a Spring Focus in South Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, April 25, 2013