Booster Seats Required for Children Ages 4 and 5 as of January 1, 2015


It's the law in Florida: As of January 1, 2015, all children ages 4 and 5 must be in booster seats when traveling in vehicles!

 

Learn more at www.flhsmv.gov/2014/12/23/giving-boost-child-safety

 

booster seat law 1/1/15

 

Booster Seat Safety and Proper Installation

Officer Vicki Hernandez of the Village Police Department estimates that at least half of the children she observes riding in vehicles around the Key should be in a booster seat, and are not.  Often those that are in booster seats are not buckled in correctly.  The KBPD wants parents and guardians to know that it is NOT the booster seat that restrains the child, but the proper fit of the seatbelt.

A press release (PDF), issued in September 2010 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), is recommended reading for all caregivers of young children.  The article rates  the safety belt fit of 72 boosters currently for sale, reviews the proper use of booster seats and is illustrated with descriptive photos. 

Florida law does not address the use of booster seats.  However, a good rule to follow is to place any child between 40 and 100 lbs. in a booster seat. As stated in the press release,

"Boosters are better than they used to be at fitting lap and shoulder belts on 4 to 8-year-old kids to restrain them in a crash. So parents don't have to search as hard for a good fit for their child and vehicle. Most belt-positioning boosters, though, don't offer consistently good fit in all vehicles. This is the bottom line in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's third round of booster evaluations.

Researchers assessed the safety belt fit of 72 boosters, assigning the best ones the top ratings of BEST BET or GOOD BET because they correctly position belts on average booster-age kids in most vehicles. The worst performers are ones the Institute doesn't recommend because they do a poor job of fitting belts. A good booster routes the lap belt across a child's upper thighs and positions the shoulder belt at midshoulder.

The Institute doesn't conduct vehicle crash tests to evaluate boosters because boosters don't do the restraining in a crash. It's the fit of the belt that's important."

Two photos in the IIHS booster seat press release (PDF) illustrate the proper way a seatbelt should fit. 

 Booster Seat - Good Belt Fit
    
       
Booster Seat - Bad Belt Fit
GOOD BELT FIT
Boosters elevate children so safety belts
designed for adults will fit better. The lap
belt should fit flat across a child’s upper
thighs, not the soft abdomen. Good
boosters have belt-routing features that
hold lap belts down and forward. The
shoulder belt should cross snugly over
the middle of the shoulder. Then it’s
in position to provide effective
protection in a crash.
    POOR BELT FIT
Not all boosters provide good belt
fit. This lap belt is too high on the
abdomen, and the shoulder belt is
too close to the neck.


Hernandez adds that some parents are also under the impression that a child in the rear seat does not need a seatbelt. Florida law says that anyone under the age of 18 MUST be restrained, no matter where they are riding in the vehicle. The seatbelt must have a proper fit.

 

Booster Seats should always be secured when not in use so that they don’t become projectiles in an accident.

 

 


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