At What Age Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat of a Car in Florida?
October 30, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Florida Law
There’s a reason you never see children, specifically small children and babies, riding in the front seat of a vehicle. Under Florida law, children are required to sit in the back seat. Depending on a child’s age, they must also sit in a special seat.
Following Florida’s rules regarding child seating in vehicles is imperative to keep young ones safe. These laws were made for a reason: to help prevent injury in the event of a collision.
Front Seat Requirements For Children in Florida
Under Florida law, children under 12 cannot sit in the front seat while riding in a car and must instead sit in the back. Many car manufacturers also recommend not allowing your children to sit in the front seat until they turn 13.
Furthermore, when a child reaches the appropriate age and begins sitting in the front seat, they must wear a seat belt. Florida seat belt laws require children under 18 and front-seat passengers to wear their seat belts at all times.
Additional Child Car Seat Laws in Florida
Car seat and seat belt laws aren’t just important for children sitting in the front seat.
Other essential Florida laws concerning child restraints include:
- Children up to three years old must be in child restraint devices at all times while in a vehicle, whether in a separate carrier or an integrated child seat
- Children aged four and five should be properly seated in a separate carrier, integrated child seat, or booster seat
The type of child restraint appropriate for your child depends on their age and size. These devices include:
- Rear-Facing Car Seats: These car seats are often the safest option for children two and under, as they face the rear of the vehicle, away from airbags
- Forward-Facing Car Seats: Children two to three can transition into the forward-facing seat once they reach the appropriate weight
- Booster Seats: Once children outgrow forward-facing car seats, they can move on to a booster seat, typically at age four or five
- Seat Belts: Children should remain in booster seats until the seat belt fits appropriately, sitting across the upper thighs, shoulder, and chest
Car seat laws have more to do with a child’s weight and size than their age. Pay close attention to the vehicle and car seat manufacturer’s recommendations regarding seating. This will give you a better idea of when to transition your child as they grow for optimal safety.
Why Are Children Not Allowed in the Front Seat Until They’ve Reached a Certain Age?
Your child may want to sit in the front seat before they’re an appropriate age. Although this may seem harmless, there are good reasons why the law says otherwise.
Front seat airbags are dangerous for small children. When the front passenger airbags deploy, they inflate rapidly with a high degree of force. While these devices are made for safety, they can do small children more harm than good.
Additionally, front passenger seats aren’t designed for children. Back seats, on the other hand, are commonly designed with child safety in mind.
Keeping your kids safe is the highest priority, and prohibiting them from sitting in the front seat until they’re the right age and size can significantly help minimize their risk.
If Your Child Has Suffered an Injury in a Collision, consult a Florida Car Accident Attorney
Even if you follow Florida’s car seat laws to the letter, there’s no guarantee your child won’t suffer harm in a car accident. If you or your children have sustained injuries in a crash, don’t wait to seek legal advice. A qualified Florida car accident lawyer can provide personalized direction and help you obtain fair compensation.