After years of attempts, legislators require all Florida kids under age 5 to use safety seats

Herald/Times Tallahassee BureauApril 29, 2014 

Starting in January, Florida children under age five must ride in a child safety seat when traveling in a automobile under legislation passed 36-0 by the Senate Tuesday and sent to the governor.

The measure, HB 225, received final approval after legislators have tried for 14 years to get the measure passed.

Under the bill, pushed by members of the Florida Junior League and sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, children ages 4 and 5, who often out-grow car seats, will no longer be allowed to be restrained using a seat belt but will have to be restrained using booster seats.

Drivers who violate the requirement are subject to a $60 fine, court costs and add-ons, and having three points assessed against their driver’s license. To avoid the points, the drive may participate in a child restraint safety program.

There are some exceptions: children between 4 and 5 years of age may use a seat belt if the driver is not a member of the child’s immediate family and the child is being transported as a favor to the family, in the case of an emergency, or when a doctor provides reason for an exception.

“This is a wonderful bill and it’s going to save children’s lives,’’ said Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, who worked on passing the bill for years.

Sen. Maria Sachs, D-DelrayBeach, called it a “mom’s issue.” Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami, called it a “father's issue too.” And Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, said concerned uncles support it as well.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service