Vehicle and Child Safety
Be Alert While Backing
- Walk around your vehicle to check for children playing.
- Turn off your radio to better hear your surroundings.
- Keep your foot on the brake until you completely shift into reverse.
- Back out slowly.
- Teach children to never play in, on, around, or under vehicles.
- Know your vehicle’s blind spots and look again before backing.
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Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
- While on a bicycle, ride in the same direction as traffic and obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.
- Always use a headlight and taillight at night.
- Pedestrians should use the sidewalk if there is one; if not, walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
- Always cross streets where pedestrians are expected, such as corners and crosswalks.
- And be visible. Wear bright and reflective colors on your clothes, shoes and/or wristbands.
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- Motorists are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and STOP arms extended.
- The only time traffic approaching an oncoming school bus does not need to stop, is if there is a raised barrier such as a concrete divider or at least five feet of unpaved space separating the lanes of traffic.
- Motorists should be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops, school buses, and in school parking lots.
- At bus stops, children should wait in a safe place away from the road.
- Children should never walk behind a bus.
- Remember, Stop on Red, kids ahead!
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Seatbelt Child Restraint
- Buckle up. A seatbelt is your vehicle’s most important safety feature, but it only works if you use it.
- Florida law requires the use of seat belts by drivers of motor vehicles and all children riding in a vehicle under the age of 18.
- Keep children in the back seat, at least through age 12, if possible. Front seat air bags, when deployed, can be dangerous to children.
- A new law effective January 2015 requires children 4 and 5 years of age to ride in a booster seat.
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What are the child restraint requirements in Florida?
Every operator of a motor vehicle driven on Florida roads must provide for the protection of any child, 5 years of age or younger, by using a crash-tested, federally approved car seat. For children up to 3 years old, the restraint must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a child booster seat may be used. For passengers age 6 through 17 years, a seat belt must be used while riding in a motor vehicle. You may find more information regarding child restraint requirements by visiting The Florida Senate website.
Which car seat is right for your child?
It is critically important to keep our children safe in vehicles as they travel our state’s roadways. That means putting them in the proper restraint for their age, size and weight. “Securing your child in a correctly installed child safety seat is one of the most important things you can do to protect your child’s life every day,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since parents are often confused about the difference between child restraint laws (which differ in many states) and the recommendations of national experts regarding child safety seats, safety advocates want to ensure that parents and caregivers are aware of the Car Seats for Children Guidelines. The Car Seat Finder is an easy-to-use tool that lets you find the right car seat to fit your child. Follow your car seat manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual on how to install and properly use the car seat.
“Seat Belts” (file size 11M – Windows media, Must use Internet Explorer) “Riding in My Booster Seat” (file size 4M – Windows media, Must use Internet Explorer) Additional Resources: Please note, these links will open another window and you will leave the DHSMV website.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety | American Academy of Pediatrics: Car Seat Checkup | CarSeatSite.Com | Car Seats: Information for Families | Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Child Passenger Safety | Car Seat Safety for Kids | Child Passenger Safety | IIHS: Child SafetyKids and Cars | KidsHealth: Auto Safety | LATCH (Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children) | National Child Passenger Safety Board | SeatCheck.Org