While today’s vehicles are equipped with air bags and advanced onboard crash computers designed to protect adults in a crash, using a properly sized child safety seat is the best way to protect a child in case of an accident. All fifty states require that children of the ages three and below be secured in car seats when riding in privately owned vehicles. Kentucky requires the use of a child seat for children less than 40”-tall, regardless of age.
Safety seats come in a wide range of sizes to properly fit during each stage of a child’s growth. While many brands and models offer a variety of comfort features and washable fabrics, parents should ensure that whichever model they select meets certain age and size-specific design criteria.
A Guideline to the Four Types of Child Safety Seats
Using a child’s car seat correctly starts with selecting the appropriate seat configuration for your child’s height and weight. The back seat is statistically the safest place for children and experts recommend the use of child safety seats in the back seat at all times unless your vehicle does not have back seats. The four steps below identify the recommended progression of seat types along with each corresponding age group to help maximize safety:
General Tips for Maximum Safety at All Ages
Parents Central – Car Seats & Booster Basics –http://www.safercar.gov/parents/RightSeat.htm
Baby Center – Car seat safety: The biggest mistakes parents make, and how to avoid them – http://www.babycenter.com/0_car-seat-safety-the-biggest-mistakes-parents-make-and-how-to_64875.bc
In the wake of the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting tragedy, gun control has again become a national focal point and subject of heated disputes. Other high-profile incidents, such as the shooting of Sanford teen Treyvon Martin by a neighborhood watch member, have placed the state of Florida and its firearm laws under the public microscope.
Firearm safety seems to have a common, direct connection to children’s safety. Gun violence is an unfortunate component of American society and law enforcement, but the topic receives special attention and varying arguments when the controversial topic involves children. There are strong arguments that are in favor of exposing kids to firearms and promoting gun safety/awareness at a young age. Some parents argue that teaching kids about firearms properly reduces firearm accidents because it removes the curiosity and taboo associated with them. Others argue that guns and safety training are unnecessary.
Florida and Child Access Prevention Laws
Florida is one of several states with Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws. It is a misdemeanor offense to allow or to fail to stop a child under the age of 16 from gaining access to firearms. Firearms in the home are required to be secured in a locked box, container, or secured by a gun lock. This also applies to relatives who may have children visiting their homes regularly.
The state of Florida imposes additional criminal liability on the firearm owner in cases where the firearm is improperly secured and the child is caught in possession of the firearm in public and/or uses the firearm in a threatening manner.
Local News and Child Accident Statistics
In early May, a 3-year-old Tampa boy died after he was shot in his uncle’s apartment. The boy, Jadarrius Sprights, was believed to have removed a loaded 9mm handgun from his uncle’s backpack in the living room. The boy’s uncle, 29-year-old Jeffrey Walker, apparently left the loaded weapon unsecured in the backpack. Jadarrius accidentally shot himself while handling the gun. Walker purchased the gun legally and holds a CCW permit, but has been arrested and charged with Culpable Negligence under Florida’s Child Access Prevention (CAP) law. Under Florida CAP law, Walker was responsible for securing the handgun with a gunlock or inside a locked container, or otherwise preventing access to the gun, while it was in the same living space as his nephew. If convicted, Walker faces potential prison time associated with a third degree felony.
From December of 2012 to May of 2013, at least 71 shooting deaths have claimed the lives of children under age 17.
Nearly all of the 40 accidental deaths were violations of CAP laws and may have been prevented by the use of gun locks or locked cases.
Citrus County Sheriff Firearms Guide (pdf) – http://www.sheriffcitrus.org/pdf/FlFirearmsGuide.pdf
Summary of State Child Access Prevention Laws (pdf) –http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/LAW/Documents/SummaryOfStateChild
WFLA (.com) – http://www.wfla.com/story/22188603/three-year-old-boy