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Florida Outlaws Seat Belts for Kids Under 5, Requires Booster Seats

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that outlaws using an adult seatbelt on kids under age 5.

Governor Rick Scott signed a bill requiring child booster seats for toddlers. The bill goes into effect New Year's Day. (Photo credit: Flickr/Eric Lewis)
Governor Rick Scott signed a bill requiring child booster seats for toddlers. The bill goes into effect New Year's Day. (Photo credit: Flickr/Eric Lewis)

We’ve all seen it: moms driving with their small kids in passenger seats (or lap, Britney Spears!). But that’s all about to change, thanks to a bill signed into law this week.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Tuesday afternoon a new measure that keeps children in booster seats just a little bit longer. The new law outlaws the use of a standard seat belt only up to age 5. The former rules set the limit at 4, according to 10 News.

HB 225 was brought forth by the House Transportation & Highway Subcommittee, headed by Rep. Ed Hooper (R-Clearwater). The bill passed in April after a unanimous House vote of 114-0.

Before reaching Scott’s desk, the bill passed in the Florida Senate on a 36-3 vote, with dissenting votes from Sens. Rene Garcia (Hialeah), Denise Grimsley (Sebring), and John Legg (Lutz).

The Associated Press reports the new law allows for children not transported by a family member to ride without a booster seat.

Before the bill passed, Florida and South Dakota had been the only two U.S. states that hadn’t required kids to use booster seats up to the age of 5, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The law goes into effect New Year’s Day.

Connie Smith June 25, 2014 at 09:44 PM
I guess that children being transported by people other than their family members aren't as likely to be in an accident....
KAF1995 June 26, 2014 at 01:37 AM
My kids were so small they were in booster seats until they were 8. There are state recommendations on the weight of the child in order for them to use a regular seat belt. I believe it is 80 lb. You also have to consider the heigth of the child. Shorter children have problems wearing the shoulder strap properly, it runs across their throat, there for they put it under their arms defeating the purpose of protecting them from going forward and hitting their heads on the back of the front seat. This happened to an acquaintance of mine and the child suffered permanent brain damage. It is just not worth the risk,

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