Florida Lawmakers Reject Safer Booster Seat Requirement for Adolescents

Florida remains one of just three states that do not require the use of a booster seat by adolescents who have outgrown child safety seats in the car. Florida legislators allowed a bill to die before the 2011 session came to a close this month. This is reminiscent of 2001, when then Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed a child booster seat bill saying the seat would be too expensive for poor families and enforcement would be a burden to police officers.

Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for children, teens, and young adults ages 5 to 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The function of a booster seat is to allow the seat belt to fit the child in a similar way to how a seat belt fits an adult since seat belt configuration is based on an adult’s size and weight. The CDC recommends booster seats for young children but for now, use in Florida is voluntary.

When should a child transfer to a booster seat? When they grow out of comfortably sitting in their child safety seat and/or when their ears are level with the top of the seat’s back or when they reach the weight limit specified by the child safety seat manufacturer. Children should be in a booster until they are at least 57 inches tall and weigh 80 pounds with a sitting height of 29 inches. This describes most children age 10 and younger.

The Amelia Island car accident lawyers at the law firm of Farah & Farah reminds parents to always place their children in the back seat, the safest place to be in a crash, to reduce the chance of their child suffering a serious injury or death.