Florida Has Lax Child Safety Laws on the Road

Florida is one of the worst states in the nation with regulations that consistently fail to protect young children in motor vehicle accidents, reports the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

While the federal government, through the NTSB, recommends children up to the age of eight use specially designed child car seats or booster seats, Florida only requires child safety seats up to the age of three.

The NTSB says “laws in Arizona, South Dakota, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico are only slightly more protective, covering children age 4 years or younger. Twelve states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and South Carolina) mandate child restraints for children age 5 or younger and six states (Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, and North Dakota) only cover children age 6 or younger.”

The NTSB names Florida specifically as having the “most lenient child passenger safety law in the nation” reports First Coast News.

The NTSB is calling on Florida and 20 other states plus American Samoa and Puerto Rico to have laws that require safety seats be used for children up to the age of six. Booster seat laws are needed in Arizona, Florida and South Dakota, according to an NTSB news release.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles does require children up to the age of four or five be secured by a child safety seat or a seat belt. But seat belts, engineered for adults, are notoriously unsafe if not fitted properly on the smaller body of a child. That’s where the booster seat comes in, so that adult seat belts restrain the child in his lap and shoulder at the proper position for maximum safety in a Florida car crash.