“Buckle Up for Safety, Buckle Up! Buckle Up for Safety, Always Buckle Up!” is a tune I have long been familiar with, starting with my grandmother who sang that tune whenever I rode in her car, and now is a tune that my own children know. Automobile Safety has always been a priority in our family. It’s important, it’s the law, and it saves lives.
The law is changing on January 1st. Currently, children ages 3 and under are required to ride in seats with restraints and all other children can simply use seat belts. The new car seat law requires car seats or booster seats for all children, regardless of weight, to be in a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device, up through age 5.  Children and minors ages 6-18 are still required to wear a seatbelt, whether riding in the front seat or the backseat of the car.
AAA Auto Club has worked towards this change for the past 14 years, even though it doesn’t meet the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that booster seats be used until children reach 4’ 9” in height.  “Many states have moved to require child-safety laws through the age of 8,” according to AAA public policy spokesperson Karen Morgan.
People charged with violating the law face a moving violation, $60 fines, and three points on their driver’s licenses. The law includes exceptions such as when a driver is unpaid and is not a member or a child’s immediate family or when a child is being transported because of a medical emergency.
Drivers cited with this violation may, with the court’s approval participate in a child restraint safety program approved by the Chief Judge of the circuit in which the violation occurs, and, upon completing such program, the penalty, points, and costs may be waived at the court’s discretion.
FHP lost funding for their free car seat program in 2011.  In Orange County, families who receive financial assistance and are Healthy Start Clients can attend a Car Seat Safety Class through Healthy Start, using points or a $20 registration fee, and may receive a free car seat.
- To find the best car seat to fit your child, visit: http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/crs/index.htm
- To find information on how to properly install a car seat, visit: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/Video-Instructions-How-to-Install-Car-Seat.htm
- To get your car seat inspected, visit: http://www.childrenssafetyvillagefl.org/programs.html
For more information, contact Colbert Law at 407-412-7234 or Central Florida Residents who use AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile can reach Colbert Law by dialing #DUI from their mobile phones.