Representatives of the AAA have stated that Florida has the weakest child passenger safety legislation of all states. Obviously, this is not a distinction that our state wants, and the AAA has urged Florida to pass new rules that would require children to stay in proper safety restraint systems.
Current Florida laws require that parents and guardians keep children up to three years old in car seats. The problem is that children who are four years of age or older are not required by law to be placed age-appropriate safety restraints. The law simply requires them to wear a safety belt.
According to the AAA and other safety experts, there are a number of problems with the law. The key problem, of course, is that if a child is in the car when a vehicle is in a serious car accident in Hollywood or another community, their chance of injury or death is much higher if they are not in proper safety restraints. While parents still have the option of keeping their children in age-appropriate safety systems past age three, many safety experts state that passing a law mandating the use of these systems would go a long way towards ensuring that children are safe in cars.
A third issue, according to the AAA and other experts is that the law states that children should wear safety belts after age four. This can be very dangerous for children, since seat belts are designed for adults and not children. Children who are restrained by a seat belt in a traffic collision in Hollywood or another community may suffer from lacerations, head injuries, and other injuries. A seat belt may also fail to properly restrain in them in the event of a broadside collision, head-on impact, or other type of crash, potentially leading to life-threatening injuries.
The AAA would like to see the state pass legislation that would mandate children be kept in appropriate safety seats up to age seven. Already, Senator Anitere Flores and Representatives Keith Perry have suggested legislation that would toughen up Florida’s laws. Experts and legislators have noted that the new law would help improve traffic safety, an especially important concern since traffic accidents are the leading cause of child injury in Hollywood and Florida – not to mention the leading cause of death among children.
In the meantime, parents can and should take a moment to ensure that their children are protected in the car with the appropriate safety restraints. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the AAA, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should use a five point harness car seat until they grow out of it by weight or height. These seats provide the highest level of protection in a crash. Children who no longer use car seat should use a booster seat until they grow to at least 4’9”, which usually occurs at about ages 8 through 12. A booster seat elevates a child so that the seat belt fits them correctly and protects them in the event of a collision.
If you or your child have been injured in a traffic collision, contact Flaxman Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. Staff at our full-service law firm would be happy to listen to your concerns and offer information about your options.