In 2013 five children were killed and 152 injured in Florida wrecks as a result of improperly fitted, possibly inappropriate restraints or in some cases no child restraints what so ever. 2014 sees very similar figures, 5 dead and 145 injured. We would like to remind you on behalf of The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that if you are a parent or guardian with young children there is an upcoming change in the Florida Child Restraint Law.

From January. 1, 2015 children aged 4 and 5 will be required to sit in a child safety seat or a booster seat and are not permitted to be buckled only in a seat belt.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says booster seats reduce the risk for serious injury by up to 45 percent for children ages four to eight when compared to using a seat belt alone.

Terry L. Rhodes, executive director of the department said "Safety belts save lives, but only when used and used correctly, booster seats help elevate children to the height at which the safety belt will properly secure them."

As an advisory note many children could need booster seats beyond the age required by the new law, depending on the size of the child and where the seat belt crosses the body.

The following recommendations will help determine if your child, after age five, is ready to wear a seat belt without a booster seat:

  • The child is at least 4-feet, 9-inches (4’9″) tall.
  • The child can sit all the way back in the seat and bend their knees at the edge of the seat.
  • The shoulder belt lays across the chest, not the neck.
  • The lap belt lays across the upper thighs, not the stomach.

We also advise that children younger than thirteen should ride in the back seat of the vehicle whenever possible.

For more information regarding child safety and to locate the nearest child car seat inspection station, visit https://www.safercar.gov/.

Have a safe and Happy New Year.