According to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection, traffic accidents are the leading cause of injuries and death for children under the age of 13 in Georgia. Many people are still unaware of the safest ways to properly restrain children in cars so that they are protected in the event of a crash. Proper use of an appropriate child restraint system can drastically reduce the number of children hurt and killed in auto accidents.
Proper Restraint Systems Can Save Children’s Lives
It is vastly important for parents to know the proper way to buckle children in cars so that they are not injured in case of an accident. Using proper restraint systems not only could save your child’s life, but it is the law. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following guidelines for car seats for children:
- Newborn to one year old: Rear-facing infant seats in the backseat
- Under one year old, but more than 20 pounds: Rear-facing, specially-designed infant seats for older babies in the backseat
- One to three years old (20 to 40 pounds): Forward-facing toddler seats in the backseat
- Four years to eight years old (40 to 80 pounds and under 57 inches): Booster seats in the backseat
- Eight to 13 years old (taller than 57 inches): Wearing a seatbelt in the backseat
The most important consideration when switching between types of restraining systems is the child’s height and weight. Until a child is 57 inches high, a seatbelt will not fit him or her correctly, no matter his or her age. Remember that children under the age of 13 should never ride in the front seat, especially before they are 57 inches tall. Although at that height children can be buckled normally in any seat, airbags are not designed for children, so seating children in the front seat of the car is very dangerous in the event of a crash. The impact from the airbags that could save an adult’s life can injure or even kill a child.
Georgia Laws on Car Seats
Georgia statute is specially designed to encourage safe child restraint practices. The following are the most important child restraint laws:
- Children younger than eight years old and less than 57 inches tall must be secured in a booster or car seat in the backseat of the vehicle.
- The booster or car seat must be suitable for the child’s weight and height (according to the guidelines above) and meet U.S. federal regulations.
- A child who weighs at least 40 pounds may ride in an appropriate booster or car seat in the front seat of a vehicle that does not have a back seat or if other children already occupy all the rear seats.
Violations of child restraint laws can result in fines of up to $50 per child and one point on the driver’s record for the first offense. Second offenses can cost up to $100 per child and an additional two points. Failure to use proper car seats is furthermore a primary offense. That means that a police officer can ticket a driver even if no other traffic laws were violated. Georgia laws and the law offices of Van Sant Law, want to keep your children safe in motor vehicles. Make sure to buckle up your children properly to keep them safe.
We care about keeping our families safe all the time, just as you do. Unfortunately, in traffic, we are not always fully in control of preventing accidents. If you or any member of your family has been injured in a car accident, we may be able to obtain compensation for your damage and injuries. Contact us at Van Sant Law, today to get a free consultation on your case.