New child safety seat law in effect for Florida drivers

AT THE TURN of the New Year, besides the bubbly and resolutions being passed around, a few new laws also were passed for Florida residents. One of them was the increase in minimum wage from $7.93 to $8.05 per hour. Another was a law for stricter child safety seat restraints to be followed for children under the age of six.

In the coming weeks, you may have patients asking questions about whether their toddler needs to be in a car seat. The new law requires that any child under the age of six, or the height of four feet and nine inches, must at least be in a booster seat. Anyone who violates the new law will be fined $60 and three points to his or her driver’s license. There is only one exception to the new legislation: If it is an emergency or if the driver is not a member of the child’s immediate family, then the under-aged passenger may ride in the vehicle with only a seat belt.

That being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that any child under 40 pounds should be seated in a five-point harness car seat. So, patients might have questions about the state law versus the AAP recommendations, and why they differ.

CREDIT

column by CELESTE JO WALLS

Celeste Jo Walls is managing editor of Central Florida Doctor magazine. She may be reached by e-mail at celeste.walls@centralfloridamediagroup.com.