Overview of Child Passenger Automobile Safety in Georgia
Auto accidents of all types and severities are devastating. Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accident, truck accidents, bike accidents, and bus accidents all have the potential to be extremely dangerous. When preventable driver negligence results in the serious injury or death of a child, however, the accident is even more traumatic. Children are at the greatest risk during an accident due to the effects of gravitational forces on a child’s body. When a parent or legal guardian fails to take steps to provide for the safety of a child passenger in a vehicle, the consequences can be deadly.
Child Passenger Safety in Georgia
The Official Code of Georgia states that every driver who transports a child under the age of 8 must provide for the child’s proper restraint in the vehicle. Proper restraint includes providing a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved child passenger restraint system. There are guidelines outlining which type of restraint system is appropriate for a child’s age, height, and weight.
The general guidelines for child restraint systems direct how drivers should care for a child passenger’s safety. Children under the age of 1 should ride in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat, safely away from airbags. If the vehicle does not have a backseat, such as a two-door truck, the infant can sit in a rear-facing car seat in the passenger seat. From ages 1 to 3, the child should remain in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible until reaching the top height and weight limit.
Four- to 7-year-olds should ride in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they outgrow the limit, at which time they will move to a booster seat in the back seat. Children should remain in a booster seat until they can properly fit in a seat with a seat belt. Once a child reaches 40 pounds, the driver can restrain the child using a lap belt if the belt fulfills code requirements.
Georgia offers a variety of resources to drivers who transport children, including a large number of child safety seat fitting locations. These locations offer help and advice to new parents or people who have questions about the proper way to install and use child restraint systems. If you have any doubts about your car seat system, please visit one of the locations in your county to ensure the safety of all the children riding in your car.
Child Vehicle Passenger Safety Lawsuits
If you get into a car accident while transporting a child and the car seat fails to protect your child properly, the manufacturer of the seat may be responsible. Car seat recalls occur more often than many parents realize, due to inherent flaws in the seats’ designs or part malfunctions that make the seats unsafe during collisions. If you properly used the correct restraint system for your child’s height and weight and the restraint system still malfunctions, you may have a product liability case.
The law in Georgia dictates car seat manufacturers provide a safe product to consumers. If the manufacturer makes a production error, uses a defective component, makes a design flaw, or fails to provide appropriate warnings or instruction, the parents of an injured child can file a product liability claim and sue for damages. The courts will investigate the source of the malfunction and determine whether it was a manufacturer, distributor, or parts maker error. The victim’s family may then receive compensation for their child’s pain, suffering, and past and future medical costs.
Was Your Child the Victim of Negligence?
When a child restraint system fails to provide for the safety of a child in an accident, it’s imperative that information comes to light and that manufacturers issue a recall. The Savannah, GA personal injury attorneys at Roden + Love, LLC are passionate about defending children’s rights, especially those who are the victims of manufacturer error. Contact us online or call 1-844-RESULTS for a free case evaluation.