Florida Car Seat Laws (2024)

Florida car seat laws state that kids must remain in a booster seat until they are 4’9” tall or weigh more than 80 pounds—so long as they fit securely.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Edited by R.E. Fulton
background
The legal requirements for drivers in
Florida
go far beyond
car insurance coverage
to include high standards for child-restraint systems. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many car accident deaths involving children are preventable with the proper restraints.
  • Kids in Florida need to stay in an approved car seat or booster until age 6.
  • A proposed new law would make car seats mandatory for children 7 and under.
  • All children must remain in approved car seats until they are either 4’9” or weigh more than 80 pounds.
  • You may be fined $60 and receive 3 points on your record if you’re caught driving with an unsecured child.

Florida’s car seat law requires a car seat or booster seat for all kids 5 and under

The current
Florida car seat laws
state that all Florida kids under the age of 6 must be secured in a booster seat or car seat when riding in motor vehicles. 
Height, weight, and age: If the child is under 4’9” tall, under 80 pounds, or under 8 years of age, a properly-secured booster seat is necessary according to national guidelines.
Install in the back seats: Safe kids ride in back! As per Florida statutes, children under 8 years of age must ride in the rear seat of a vehicle. Florida law recommends that all children sit in the rear passenger seats until at least 12 years of age. 
Car seat safety experts agree that rear-facing car seats in the back seat are the safest option for children who weigh less than 40 pounds. In fact, most carriers prohibit installation in the front seat if there is an airbag on the passenger side of the vehicle.
We’ve put together a table below showing you how to stay on the right side of Florida’s booster seat law while keeping your kids safe:
Seat type
Age limit
Child weight limit and/or height limit
Infant seat (rear-facing)
Newborn to one-year-old
Up to 20 pounds
Toddler seat (forward-facing)
One to three years old
20 to 40 pounds
Booster seat
Four years to eight years old
Between 40 and 80 pounds/under 4’9’’ tall
Seat belt
Eight plus years old
Taller than 4’9’’
Florida seat belt laws
say that four and five-year-olds can meet this requirement by using a separate carrier, an integrated safety seat, or a safety belt. Children under the age of three need a separate carrier or integrated child seat that is installed per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Always tailor booster and car seats to your child’s height and weight. No matter their age, children should continue to use a child restraint device until they can be comfortably secured by an adult-sized seat belt.
Key Takeaway Children under age 8 who weigh more than 40 pounds and are under 4’9” tall should always be seated in a booster seat with a proper safety restraint in the back of the vehicle.

A new law almost extended car seat requirements to all Florida kids under age 8

In spring 2023, legislators in the state of Florida pitched three big changes to car seat laws:
  • Age as primary factor: A child’s age would become the only determining factor in whether or not the child must use a car seat.
  • Under 2: Children younger than 2 years old would be required to ride in a rear-facing seat.
  • Ages 3-4: Children ages 3-4 would be able to ride in a rear or forward-facing car seat.
Ultimately, this proposal did not become state law. However, parents and guardians should still follow national guidelines for age, weight, and height requirements for child safety seats in vehicles.

You could be pulled over for violating the Florida car seat law

If you get caught ignoring Florida’s booster seat law for child passenger safety, you could be ticketed. Consequences may include:
  • Fine: $60 
  • Driver’s license points: 3
The person with the driver’s license pays the ticket.
Furthermore, violating Florida’s booster seat law is a red flag to your insurer. The ticket will likely result in increased monthly premiums—and
points on your driving record
tend to negatively impact your car insurance rates, as well.

How to pick a car seat

Start by checking the
NHTSA’s recommendations
for your Florida child’s age and size. Learn more about the styles and types of car seats in this
helpful guide from Consumer Reports
Now, it’s time to find a car seat or booster seat that will adhere to the law and fit your child.
Here is a list of well-reviewed and crash-tested
car seat brands
to get you started.
Old car seats: You can use an older seat or a used car seat so long as it’s functioning properly, although safety standards can change with new science.
Expired car seats: It is not illegal to
use an expired car seat
, but be careful. Car seat manufacturers print or stamp an expiration date on most car seats to help prevent serious injuries due to deteriorating parts and materials.

How to safely install a booster or car seat 

You’ll need to know the dimensions of your child’s safety seat before installing it in your vehicle. 
Thankfully, the NHTSA has made this easy by publishing detailed instructions on how to do this, as well as locations of
car seat installation stations
across the country. These stations can
inspect
your installation job, or help you
install a child car seat
if you’re not sure how to do it.
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