News Release: AAA
TAMPA, Fla. – The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously passed legislation this morning to improve the Florida child passenger safety law. Senate Bill 518, sponsored by Anitere Flores (R-Miami), would require a child be properly restrained in an age appropriate car seat through age 6.
There are 48 states that enforce a similar law; Florida and South Dakota are the only ones that do not. Current Florida law only requires children up to three years old be secured in a car seat. Children ages four and older are treated like full-grown adults, their only requirement is that they wear a safety belt.
A child is not ready to switch to an adult belt until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and can sit with their back straight against the vehicle’s seat-back cushion and bend their knees over the seat edge without slouching. The safety belt should fit low across the hips and thighs, and across the shoulder and chest. It should not cut into the child’s abdomen or neck.
“We applaud the Senate Transportation Committee and are hopeful that the full Senate will vote in favor of this measure,” said Karen Morgan, manager, AAA Public Policy, The Auto Club Group. “Protecting our children is basic Traffic Safety 101.”
Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S, but many of these deaths can be prevented by placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats. The House bill (HB 225), sponsored by Representatives Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) has not been heard in committee.