Understanding Georgia’s Car Seat Laws

Children: When they are in our vehicles, they are the most precious cargo we can have and it’s imperative that we know how to protect them. Their small bodies and developing bones are fragile and any situation in which a crash occurs can result in them sustaining significant damage.

This is why it is so important to have the right car seat for your child. Having a car seat is not just a matter of keeping your child safe, it is also dictated by Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 40-8-76 in the Georgia Code) that certain children must ride in a car seat until they reach a certain age.

There are also various recommendations regarding the type of car seat you should be utilizing as your child grows. Here are some of the laws and recommendations you should know when purchasing a car seat.

What Does the Law Say Regarding Age and Car Seats?

In Georgia, any child under the age of eight is required to ride in a car seat that is approved and the driver must ensure that the child is properly restrained in a system designated for the child’s height and weight.

Car seats are supposed to undergo rigorous testing by the United States government to ensure that all consumers can trust the system to provide the necessary safety. Parents must choose approved systems for their children and ensure they are properly installed.

Unfortunately, there are roughly 2,600 children under the age of 13 involved in vehicle accidents every single day and studies show that of all car seats used, 59% are improperly installed, creating a significant danger to the children restrained.

Which Car Seat Is Right for My Child?

Not only do certain laws exist regarding who must ride in a car seat, there are also recommendations and best practices that should be followed. These recommendations are typically based on the child’s age, as well as their height and weight to determine what type of restraint system is best for them.

The recommendations are as follows:

  • Rear-Facing Car Seats: These are typically the safest restraints for children under the age of 2 and should be used as long as possible, even if your child is older than 2, but below the weight limit.

  • Front-Facing Car Seats: Children in front-facing car seats should remain in this type of harness until they reach the height and weight limits determined by the manufacturer. Typically, most of the car seats available to consumers can safely and comfortably hold children up to 65 pounds.

  • Booster Seat: Booster seats should be used after the child reaches a certain weight until they are at least eight years old by law, but ideally, you want them to remain in a booster seat until they are tall enough.

Once your child is old enough and meets certain height and weight limits, they can go to just wearing a seatbelt, but they should remain in the rear seats until at least the age of 13. This position provides them the most protection.

You should also know that the car seat must be properly installed. This typically involves checking to ensure it is leveled, the seat belt and harness are properly attached, and/or the anchor and tether are properly connected.

Failure to properly install a car seat can put your child at significant risk of harm.

Our team at Studstill Firm, LLP truly cares about the safety of you and your children. As such, whenever someone else’s negligent actions result in harm to you or your family, we aim to be the advocates you need on your side.

If you have any questions, our Valdosta car accident attorneys are available to speak with you in a free consultation. We treat every client like family.

Contact us today at (229) 515-8900 to learn more.

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