Georgia Car Seat Law Overview
We all want our children to be safe from danger. When it comes to accidents that could have been prevented, such as a car seat being used incorrectly, injury or death can be even more painful and full of blame, regret, and guilt. If you or your child have suffered an injury as a result of being involved in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact the Roden + Love, LLC Savannah, GA auto accident lawyers for legal help and counsel.
The Georgia Department of Law cites that automobile accidents are the number one cause of death and injuries for children 1-12 years old in the state. One of the worst years for childhood death and injury from car accidents was 2009, with a sobering 1,314 children killed and 179,000 injured.
Lack of or improper use of car seats contribute to an average of 4 out of 10 deaths of children under six years old each year. In 2008 alone, one-third of all fatalities involving children under the age of four found that the child was totally unrestrained.
What Does the Law Say About Car Seats?
In Georgia, all children less than 57 inches tall and under the age of eight must ride in the backseat of a car, farthest away from the airbag. These children are required to be in a car seat or booster seat, depending on their current age and height. Many parents don’t wait until their child is eight to switch to seat belts, but jumping the gun can amount to serious injury or death in the event of an accident.
If something prevents you from placing your child in the backseat (i.e., the backseat is already full of children or your vehicle has no backseat), Georgia law allows a child under the age of eight to sit in the front. The child must be properly restrained in the correct car seat or booster seat and weigh at least 40 pounds.
If a Georgia law enforcement officer observes a seat belt offense, he or she can issue a citation on those grounds alone. In other states, officials can only ticket for seat belt offenses if the driver has been stopped for other offenses first. If you’re found violating child safety laws, you could be subject to up to $50 per improperly restrained child.
Important Safety Reminders
The NHTSA has done extensive research into the causes of child death in car accidents and recommends the following safety measures when using a car seat:
- Never place rear-facing car seats in the front seat of vehicles equipped with passenger airbags. The force of the airbag striking a rear-facing seat can injure or kill a child.
- Children under 12 should sit in the backseat to avoid injury or death from airbags.
- Select the correct type of restraint for your child based on age and height.
- Keep children in each type of restraint for as long as possible before moving to the next type.
- Understand your vehicle and car seat parts to install a car seat correctly.
- Read up on how to harness your child correctly in a car seat.
Using your child restraint system properly ensures you don’t break the law, and most importantly, it will greatly increase your child’s chance of surviving a car accident.
If you feel you can’t afford the proper car seat for your child, contact one of Georgia’s Child Passenger Safety Grantees to get assistance. You can also utilize helpful, free checkpoints in your area to ensure you’ve installed the seat correctly and are harnessing your child according to safety regulations.
Your Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been involved with a car accident of any kind, whether your child was or not, call our Savannah injury lawyers today to discuss how to proceed. Car accidents can be traumatic and damaging in more ways than one. Contact us so that our caring team of attorneys can help you get through this tough time and conduct a proper investigation of the accident to ensure your claim gets the recompense it deserves.