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Everything You Need to Know About Georgia Car Seat Laws

Georgia’s car seat laws are designed to improve safety outcomes when children are involved in car accidents. Learn more in this complete guide.

Georgia Car Seat Laws

Across the continental U.S., car accidents are a major cause of death for children below the age of 14.

Research reveals that this risk is substantially less when children use the proper car seat. That’s why many states, including Georgia state law, have implemented mandatory car seat laws.

If you’re driving around Atlanta with children in the vehicle, it’s essential to make sure that you follow the state’s car seats guidelines to ensure the safety of your little ones.


What You Need to Know About Car Seat Laws

Atlanta, GA lawmakers, after realizing the crucial role played by car seats in child safety, have approved laws and regulations pertaining to and stipulating how to use them.

Here is what you need to know about car seats for children and other safety requirements:

  • Children under the age of eight and with less than 57 inches in height must ride in the backseat of a car which is usually considered a child’s car seat. Kids are safer in the back and farthest from the force of a vehicle’s airbag. Airbags are meant for saving adults; however, the incredible force they exert can be fatal to a child’s body.
  • Any children under the age of eight years must be in a car seat or a booster car seat suitable for their age, height, and even weight.
  • If a motor vehicle lacks a back seat or if other children are occupying the back seat, Georgia law permits a child under the age of eight to sit in front provided they are restrained in the appropriate car seat or booster car seat, and the child weighs 40 pounds or less.
  • Law enforcement officers under Georgia’s Primary Lap and Shoulder Belts Law may issue a citation if they detect a seat belt offense. However, other states mandate stopping the driver for a traffic violation; Georgia laws do not.
  • Violation of these laws can rack up a fine of $50. Another possibility could be one point against your license for every child improperly restrained. The fines and points are doubled in the second incident.

Georgia Child Restraint Laws

Under Georgia’s child passenger safety laws, every child under the age of 8 in a vehicle must be adequately secured by using a child restraint system that should be appropriate for their age, height, and weight.

It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the child restraint system’s provision, not that of the parents. Below are the types of car seats that you need to know about for your children.

To make sure you have maximized your child’s safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, or as long as the child reaches height and weight limits according to the specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions.

In other words, children have to be in either a car seat that can be a rear-facing seat or a forward-facing car seat appropriate for their age and height. In case a vehicle doesn’t have a back seat (for example a truck), Georgia law permits that a child sits in front in the proper car seat or booster seat suitable for their height, weight, and age.


Rear-Facing Car Seats

All kids in a car must adhere to the rear-facing rule for as long as possible. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should remain in this sitting position for a period of about two years.

However, it is further advisable or rather ideal that you keep your child rear-facing until they attain the recommended weight and height limit suitable for that position.

It is a mandatory requirement to maintain the rear-facing position until they attain one year of age. When you are using rear-facing car seats, ensure that the chest clip is buckled and at armpit level.

Front-Facing Seat

In Georgia, children may sit in forward-facing seats when they are one year old and weigh a minimum of 21 pounds.

The weight limit is most important here. For instance, if your child is one year old but weighs less than 21 pounds, Georgia state safety laws mandate that they must remain in the rear-facing position.

You should delay the transition phase from rear-facing to front-facing until your child attains the recommended weight and height limits for rear-facing as the car seat manufacturer has set.


Booster Seats

Kids should transition from front-facing seats in vehicles to booster seats when they attain at least 40 pounds in weight. The specific conditions stipulated for a booster seat are as follows:

  • All children between the age of one and seven can use a car seat or booster seat with a lap belt and shoulder.
  • All children between age eight and eighteen must use a car seat or booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt if they have not attained 4 feet 9 inches in height.

Worth noting is that although GA state permits a child to transition to the booster seat at a young age, it is advisable that you wait until they have reached the weight and height limits of their forward-facing seats before transitioning.


Seat Belt Only

It is not mandatory that your children stop using a child restraint system when they attain eight years and reach the minimum height of 4 feet 9 inches.

It’s always recommended that the child remains in booster seats until they can sit firmly with their feet on the ground without slouching.

According to Georgia law, seat belts should fall across a child’s lap (not their belly) and their sternum (not their neck).

Car Seat Guidelines Georgia

According to the Office of the Attorney General, Georgia, there are certain car seat guidelines that you should follow, which include height and weight limits.

Any newborn that is less than one year old and between 20 to 35 lbs must be placed in an infant seat. Children between 1 and three years and between 20 to 40 lbs must be positioned in a toddler’s seat.

A booster seat is suitable and highly recommended for all children between 4 to 8 years old, weighing between 40 to 80 lbs and under 4’9″ tall. The regular safety belt is for everyone above eight years and taller than 4’9″.

If you or your child was the victim of an auto accident in Georgia, do not hesitate to contact the Do Law Office. Our skilled car accident lawyer will take care of your personal injury claim while you rest and heal. Contact us for a free consultation at (678) 504-8091.

Georgia Car Seat Requirements

In Georgia, automobile accidents are the number one cause of severe injuries and death to all children below 12 years.

To ensure the security of your children and keep them safe, it is advisable that your car seats should at least exceed the state law’s minimum safety requirements.

  • Children that are under eight years must be in an appropriate safety restraint according to their height and weight.
  • All children below the age of eight and shorter than 4’9″ must be in the vehicle’s rear seat (exceptions below).
  • Atlanta authorities recommend a back-facing seat for newborns under 20 pounds.
  • Authorities also recommend a forward-facing seat for all toddlers under 40 pounds.
  • A booster seat is advised if the child’s weight is below 80 pounds and 4’9″ in height. The children must be placed in the booster seat and strapped in with the lap and shoulder belts to ensure they are adequately secured and seated.

For a first offense, law enforcement officers can penalize you up to $50 and deduct points from your license.

You will lose a point for each youngster who is not securely strapped in your vehicle. In the case of a second offense, both penalties are doubled.

Although Atlanta law doesn’t require it, safety officials encourage all children under the age of 13 to sit in the car’s rear seats.

Only if the back seats are occupied and an appropriate child safety seat is placed in the front seat can a child under the age of eight be in the front passenger seat.


Can Police Officers in Georgia Inspect or Enforce Car Seat Installations?

Police officers in Georgia have the authority to inspect and enforce car seat installations. Under Georgia law, children must be properly secured in an approved child restraint system appropriate for their age, height, and weight.

During routine traffic stops or safety checkpoints, officers can check if a child car seat is properly installed and if the child is appropriately restrained. If a child is found to be improperly restrained or if the car seat safety guidelines are not followed, the driver can be cited for a seat belt violation.

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is particularly attentive to car seat safety, emphasizing the need to protect children from serious injuries in auto accidents.

Additionally, in cases of a car crash, police officers assess whether improperly restrained children contributed to the severity of injuries, which can lead to legal consequences for the driver or vehicle owner.

How Do Georgia Car Seat Laws Address Children with Special Needs?

Georgia car seat laws pay special attention to children with special needs, ensuring they are also properly secured in passenger vehicles. Georgia law requires children with physical or medical conditions that prevent standard car seat use to be secured in a specially designed restraint system.

This may include specialized child restraint systems with additional support features, modified seat belts that fit properly, or other restraint devices recommended by healthcare professionals. The law recognizes that standard lap belts or traditional child car seats may not be suitable for all children, particularly those with specific health or developmental challenges.

For parents and caregivers, the local fire department or car seat safety programs like Safety Belt Safe USA can offer guidance on choosing the right restraint system and ensuring it’s properly installed.

These resources help ensure that all restrained children, regardless of their unique needs, can legally ride in a vehicle while being adequately protected.

Child Fatality Causes in Automobile Accidents in Georgia

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted a significant study into the causes of child fatality in automobile accidents and recommends the following safety precautions when using a car seat:

  • Never place a rear-facing car seat in vehicles equipped with passenger airbags in the front seat. The force of the airbag striking a back-facing seat can cause a serious injury to your child or even outright kill them.
  • Although children under the age of twelve (between the ages of eight and twelve) are not required to use booster seats, should sit in the back seat to avoid severe injuries or death caused by airbags during an accident.
  • You need to choose the proper type of restraint for your child. Follow the security guidelines based on the age and height of your kid.
  • To help your children get used to car seat belts, you must change each type of restraint according to their age, height, and weight and move on to the next recommended one when the time is right.
  • Understand your vehicle and car seat parts to install them correctly.
  • Understand the five-point harness to help you put your child correctly in a car.

You won’t breach the law if you use your child restraint system properly, and it will considerably improve your child’s chances of surviving a car accident.

If you can’t get a decent car seat for your child, you can obtain help through a Child Passenger Safety Grantee.

You can also use free checkpoints in your region to ensure that you’ve placed the seat correctly and that your child is harnessed correctly according to safety regulations.

If you and your children have been involved in a car accident, and you suspect that the car seats were below requirements, contact an Atlanta auto accident lawyer at the Do Law Office today. You can benefit from a free consultation at (678) 504-8091.

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