When you’re planning a family trip to Florida, it’s important that you make sure to follow local (or exceed) the child passenger safety laws.
Official Florida Car Seat Laws
You can find the official Florida car seat law in Statute 316.613.
Florida Rear-Facing Car Seat Law
Florida does not specify how long children must be rear facing. At a minimum, parents are required to follow the guidelines set forth by the manufacturer of their specific car seat (referred to as “proper use”).
Some manufacturers permit children to forward face as young as 1 year as long as they weigh at least 22 pounds, while other manufacturers require toddlers to be at least 2 years old to forward face.
Rear-facing is significantly safer for children as it dramatically decreases the risk of head and neck injuries. This resource is full of great information.
The current guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that children should remain rear-facing to the limits of their convertible car seat. Nearly all convertible car seats today will accommodate kids up to 40 pounds (they have variable height limits so read your manual) – the size of an average 4 year old – rear facing.
Though it’s not specified by the law, research indicates that kids should continue riding in a harnessed car seat (whether rear-facing or forward-facing) until at least age 5, 40 pounds and mature enough to sit properly for the whole drive.
Regardless of their size, FL car seat law requires that children ride in a harnessed car seat until at least their 4th birthday.
Florida Booster Seat Law
Florida requires children to ride in a booster seat until they reach 6 years old (the statute says “through 5 years”) – but be aware that taking a child out of a booster at that age is extremely unsafe even if it’s a legal choice. Most children do not fit properly in an adults seatbelt until 10-12 years old, when they pass the 5-step test.
Be sure to follow manufacturer minimum and maximum size requirements for your booster seat – most manufacturers now require a minimum of 4 years old, 40″ tall and 40 pounds.
When Can Kids Ride In the Front Seat In Florida?
Florida law doesn’t require that children ride in the back seat, but many car manufacturers specify that kids should not ride in the front until age 13. Here’s an excellent explanation of why.
Upcoming Changes To Florida Car Seat Law
In early 2020, a proposal made its way through the Florida legislature to require booster seats through 6 years old; unfortunately it expired in the state Senate when the legislative term ended. A follow-on bill was ignored again in 2021 despite Florida being ranked as one of the most dangerous states for driving.
Get the latest from FL Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
If you’ll be flying to Florida, be sure to bring one of these travel car seats. If you’re planning a family road trip, consider one of these comfortable convertible car seats or comfortable booster seats. Check more car seat laws by state as you plan your route.
6 thoughts on “Florida Car Seat Laws You Need To Know (2021)”
I have an NV 2500 from Nissan. There’s only 2 seats. I cannot afford another vehicle and need to transport my son. Can I have a rear facing car seat in the seat beside me if I turn the air bags off? It’s such a big and safe vehicle. But I want to follow the rules.
It looks like the passenger airbag is optional on some years of the NV. Do you know if that’s the case for yours?
If there is an airbag installed and there’s no key to disable it, you absolutely must not put a rear facing car seat there. It’s extremely dangerous and could cause serious injury or death in a crash.
How old is your son and what are his height and weight?
This information incorrect. There is no Florida law or Statute that says a child 6 or older must ride in the back seat of a vehicle.
It is merely recommended to age 12 (not 13), but there is no law against it.
If I am wrong please state the statute that says otherwise. If you are quoting statute 316.613, then you need to reread that statute because it says nothing about any laws for children age 6-17 except that they must be secured with a seat belt.
Thanks for stopping by! You’re right, unfortunately Florida’s law is exceptionally weak. I’ve updated to reflect that it is a recommendation rather than a requirement.
I’m a travel agent and I have a client flying in that has a child 6 years old and weighs 51 pounds. Will he need a booster seat?
I’m glad you stopped by and asked! Florida has some of the most dangerous car seat laws in America. To avoid serious injury or death in a crash, that kiddo needs to use a booster seat until 10-12 years old depending on the child’s build and the vehicle. The good news is that there are tons of ultra-portable booster seats! At that size, have them check out the Graco RightGuide.