At What Age Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat of a Car In Florida?

Parenting involves a pretty steep learning curve, with basics like feeding, grooming, sleep schedule management, and potty training dominating the early years. Once your kids reach school age, you might feel like you can breathe a sigh of relief. However, there are still a few safety concerns you’ll need to address.

For instance, when is it safe for your child to sit in the front seat of the car? This is an important question to address because of potential hazards related to passenger airbags. Airbags for both drivers and front-seat passengers became mandatory for all vehicles released in the 1999 model year and after.

While airbags are designed to save lives when a car accident occurs, they are not meant to accommodate the amount of space a rear-facing child seat occupies. When an airbag deploys and hits a car seat, it will essentially make contact at the back of your child’s head, causing potentially fatal harm.

Even children who are large enough to be out of car seats and boosters may not yet be tall enough to benefit from an airbag inflating. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under age 13 always be placed in the back seat, whether they’re in a car seat, a booster seat, or a seat belt.

Laws differ by state. In Florida, children may move to the front seat of the car when they reach the age of 13. Here’s what all parents should know about Florida’s laws regarding safe car travel for children.

Safety at Every Age

In 2022, there were nearly 400,000 motor vehicle crashes reported in the State of Florida, with over 15,000 occurring in Pinellas County. Whether they stemmed from DUI, distracted driving, or other causes, these accidents resulted in over 3,600 deaths statewide — 85 of which were child fatalities. The best way to prevent such incidents is by following child car seat laws.

Birth to 12 Months

Infants up to 12 months of age or 20 pounds must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the vehicle.

Age 1–5 Years

When children exceed the height and weight requirements for a rear-facing car seat, they may be moved to a front-facing car seat placed in the back seat of the car. Toddlers must be over the age of 1 and over 20 pounds before they can switch to a front-facing seat. You must continue to secure them in a suitable front-facing car seat up to age 5 and a weight of 40 pounds.

Age 5–6 Years

Children aged 5 to 6 years weighing at least 40 pounds and up to a height of 4 feet, 9 inches may switch to a booster seat in the back seat of the car. Again, you should always follow the height and weight recommendations of your car seat or booster.

Age 6–12 Years

Children over the age of 6 and taller than 4 feet, 9 inches, may be secured with a seat belt only in the back seat of a car. However, the lap belt must be snug across the thighs (not the stomach), and the shoulder belt must fit securely across the chest and shoulder (not the neck or face). Children aged 13 and over are legally allowed to ride in the front seat of the car.

Follow Florida Law To Stay Safe on the Road

The best way to avoid child injuries and fatalities in the event of a car accident is by following all laws related to car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. In addition, you should never allow kids to sit in the front seat before they’re ready.

Contact the Pinellas County Car Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg car accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
(727) 796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
(727) 349-1728