48 states have laws regarding children and car seats. In the United States as a whole, more than 121,350 children were injured in motor vehicle accidents during 2014, and 663 children were killed in 2015. In Georgia, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death and injuries for children ages 1 to 12 years of age. Furthermore, the Center of Disease Control estimates that proper use of car seats reduces the risk of death for infants by 71% and toddlers by 54%.
To protect children from injuries, Georgia requires children under eight years of age to be in an appropriate child safety seat while riding in cars, vans, SUV, and pickup trucks. However, children are not required to wear a seat belt when riding on a bus or in a taxi. Furthermore, children that are over 4'9'' do not have to use a car seat even if they are less than eight years old.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Four Steps to Safety:
- For newborns to children up to 2 years of age, the NHTSA recommends that the car seats are rear facing.
- For children ages 2-5, children should still be in the back seat, but they can move to forward facing. They recommend that the child needs to be both at least one year old and 20 pounds or more before moving to a forward-facing seat.
- Booster seats should be used when children reach the upper height or weight limit of their car seat. The seat belt fits properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt lays across the chest.
- Children do not need a booster seat anymore once the seat belt fits them properly. The recommended height is 57 inches tall, but a child is ready when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs with the belt laying across the chest.
The Penalties for Not Complying With Georgia's Child Safety Laws:
Under O.C.G.A. §40-8-76, a first conviction will come with a fine up to $50 and one point on the individual's driving record. For a second or subsequent conviction, the fine will increase to up to $100 and will result in two points on the individual's driving record.
General Suggestions to Ensure Your Child's Safety:
- Children should never go in the front seat.
- Make sure the car seat is correctly installed. Without proper installation, the seat will not work as intended.
- Keep children under two ear facing as long as possible.
For more information on child safety, check out the CDC's website here:
Also, the NHTSA conducted a study revealing that 8 out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly. For free installation and inspection, you can contact your local fire department or by calling 1-866-SEATCHECK (866-732-8243).
If you have any questions about car seat use or another driving issue, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Our Georgia DUI Attorneys are here to help you or direct you to the right resource. Contact us today.