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Child Passenger Safety Laws in Georgia

Georgia law specifically addresses child safety inside vehicles, particularly the safety of those eight years of age and younger. Every state across the country recognizes the need to increase safety standards for children inside vehicles, and Georgia is no exception. Failure to remain compliant with child car seat laws in Georgia could result in a citation and fine for parents and guardians, not to mention the safety risks associated with failing to properly secure a child.

Georgia Car Seat Laws Explained

Georgia car seat laws aim to provide maximum protection for children by establishing clear guidelines for the appropriate use of car seats and booster seats. The requirements vary based on the child’s age, height, and weight:

  • Under 8 years old and less than 57 inches tall. Children in this category must ride in the back seat of the vehicle. They must also use a car seat or booster seat suitable for their age and height per manufacturer specifications.
  • Front seat exceptions. If the vehicle lacks a back seat or is fully occupied with other restrained children, children under eight are permitted to sit in the front seat if they weigh at least 40 pounds and are restrained in a suitable car or booster seat.

Penalties for Non-Compliance in Georgia

Georgia law allows police officers to issue tickets to parents or guardians who do not properly secure their children in car seats. Violations can result in fines of up to $50 and one point against the driver’s license per improperly restrained child. For example, if three children are improperly secured, this results in a $150 fine and three points against the parent’s license.

Because Georgia has a primary seatbelt law, officers can stop and cite drivers solely for car seat violations, even if no other traffic offenses occur.

Injuries Related to Improper Restraints

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 children aged 12 and younger die in vehicle accidents each year, and over 91,000 suffer injuries. Tragically, 38% of the children who died were not properly restrained. Vehicle accidents can disproportionately affect children if they are not in the right car seat or booster seat.

Common injuries include:

Other Child Passenger Safety Considerations in Georgia

Beyond car seats and booster seats, parents and guardians should keep these safety practices in mind:

  • Seat belt use. Children aged 8 to 17 must wear a seat belt regardless of where they are seated in the vehicle.
  • Front airbags. Airbags can be dangerous to young children. If they must sit in the front seat, ensure their seat is as far back as possible to minimize the impact of an airbag.
  • Vehicle temperatures. Never leave a child unattended in a parked vehicle, even with the windows cracked, due to the risk of heatstroke.

Ensuring Proper Installation and Resources in Georgia

Parents must ensure that a car seat is correctly installed to be effective. An improperly installed car seat may not protect the child in the event of a collision. Parents can find resources on proper car seat installation and other child safety practices at Safe Kids Georgia and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.