April 24, 2014 UPDATE:
Florida lawmakers are close to passing legislation that would require children to be properly restrained through age five.
Florida currently has the weakest child passenger safety law in the country, as the law only requires children up to three years old be secured in a car seat. Children ages four and older are treated like full-grown adults.
Their only requirement is that they wear a safety belt.
Basic safety tips for traveling with baby:
- Make sure to have your car seat either installed or inspected by a certified technician. There's a complete list of approved technicians by county below. Make sure to make an appointment.
- Car seat for infants are always rear-facing. Convertible car seats can face front after a child reaches the weight-limit listed on the seat itself. Make sure to check the specifications on your car seat for details.
- Any apparatus that attaches to a window or seatback can possibly become a projectile in the event of a crash if the item does not include a G-rating for varying speeds.
- Static cling sun shades are often available at car seat check locations. They are free and cannot fall off and act as projectiles.
- "Baby on Board" signs have not been proven by any organization to decrease aggressive driving.
List of centers that offer car seat checks:
The Suncoast SAFE KIDS Coalition strongly recommends that parents have their child car seat checked by a nationally certified child passenger safety technician. To schedule an appointment, please call or email us or register online at:
- St. Joseph's Children's Hospital - http://www.sjbhealth.org/body_childrens.cfm?id=2396
- All Children's Outpatient Care, Brandon & Tampa: www.allkids.org/carseats
All Children's Outpatient Care, Lakewood Ranch: www.allkids.org/carseats
Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue: 941-751-7090
Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County: firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, 941-757-2900, ext. 244
Manatee Memorial Hospital MOMM's Place: 941-745-6925
Safe Kids Manatee CPS Program: 941-713-4084
Southern Manatee Fire Rescue: 941-225-2591 or 941-751-7675
All Children's Outpatient Care, Pasco: www.allkids.org/carseats
All Children's Hospital: www.allkids.org/carseats
All Children's Outpatient Care, East Lake: www.allkids.org/carseats
East Lake Fire: 727-784-8668
Lealman Fire Rescue District: 727-526-5650
Palm Harbor Fire Rescue: 727-784-0454
Pinellas Park Fire Department: 727-541-0712
Sunstar EMS (Largo & St. Petersburg area): 727-582-2068 or 727-582-2090
All Children's Outpatient Care, Lakeland: www.allkids.org/carseats
Lakeland Regional Medical Center: 863-284-1882
Polk County Sheriff's Office: 863-298-6678
Booster seats normally retail for anywhere from $20 to $40 depending on the type, but you can get them for free at a variety of locations when parents participate in a free child safety course.
To find a location near you, call 1-800-756-7233, extension 4.
Safe Kids is encouraging parents to contact their state representatives to voice support for the booster seat initiative.