Bill to change Florida law on car seats moving forward

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A bill gathering speed in the Florida Legislature would change how you secure your child in a car.

Current Florida law requires a driver to have a child up to 3 years old restrained in a car seat. Bridgette Taggart just learned how to use car seats three months ago when her baby boy was born.

"When you go to the hospital you have to have it in correctly or they won't even let you take the baby out," said Taggart.

Child safety advocates say they've been working for over a decade to change the law and extend the age to require older children to be restrained properly.

"We have the weakest law in the nation. There's only one other state that has the law as weak as ours," said Danielle Kessenger, certified child passenger safety instructor, Wolfson Children's Hospital.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill Monday that would require drivers to use an age and size appropriate seat for children ages 4 and 5. Right now, state law treats anyone above four as an adult, only requiring them to wear a seat belt.

"The seat belt doesn't fit them properly, it tends to ride up on their belly so if you're in a crash and the seat belt is not fitting properly you're going to get spinal cord issues, spinal separation issues, as well as seat belt syndrome which is all the damage in all of those organs," added Kessenger.

Kessenger says best practice is for parents to secure their child in a booster seat until the child fits in a seat belt, which could range between ages 8 to 12. But some parents choose law over best practice. Taggart thinks after age 3 it should be up to the parent.

"When I had my little brother as a toddler, 3 years old, it was hard to even get him in the seat, plus I mean he could open it and get it out himself so I think it should be optional," said Taggart.

If that bill passes the Senate, it would go into effect January 1, 2015. Anyone who would violate the law would be issued a ticket and could get up to three points on his or her driver's license.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment