The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently updated their recommendations for children’s car seat usage. According to these new recommendations, children are instructed to remain in a rear-facing car safety seat for as long as possible, so long as they are within the seat manufacturer’s maximum height and weight limits.
This new guideline removes the previous age-specific milestone from the AAP’s earlier recommendation, which originally stated that children were only required to remain in a rear-facing car seat until they were two years of age.
Florida state law requires that children from the ages of 0 to 3 must be properly secured in a federally-approved, crash-tested child restraint device of a separate carrier or vehicle manufacturer’s integrated car seat. It is also required by law that children ages 4 and 5 must be seated in a separate carrier, a booster, or an integrated child seat.
The law in Florida state also mandates that seat belts and restraint devices be used for drivers, front-seat passengers, and all passengers and children who are under the age of 18. It is also recommended that children stay in rear seats until they reach the age of at least 12, due to the threat of injury posed to younger children by front seat air bags.
The AAP further pointed out that if a child is in a rear-facing car seat, the safety seat’s hard outer shell supports their head, neck, and spine. This allows the seat to protect these vulnerable areas by absorbing most of the force of the impact in a crash. If a young kid is facing forward and not properly seated, their bodies will be kept restrained by the harness straps, but the momentum will bring their heads down, likely resulting in a severe injury to the head or spine.
It is important for parents to check both the instruction manual for the vehicle safety seat, and the seat label itself in order to find the seat manufacturers’ height and weight limits. This, as well as observance of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new guidelines, will be their best bet in ensuring their kids are safe and secure.
If you’re looking for more information on car seat laws in Florida state or what your rights are if you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, contact us via our website, or call our offices for a free consultation today.