Georgia Car Seat Laws & Safety Advice
Georgia Car Seat Laws & Safety
Protecting your little one is instinctive, especially when your child is riding in a car. Both your child’s safety and yours, however, can be unexpectedly jeopardized by the thoughtless actions of another motorist or an unavoidable malfunction in your own vehicle. That’s why it’s important to always have your child properly restrained up until the age of eight (8) while traveling the streets, highways, and byways. In Georgia, it’s the law. Many parents may believe that children are more vulnerable the younger they are. While this may be true in certain situations, it is also true that your child, regardless of how young or old, is at risk for being seriously injured if not properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat.
Car safety seats are designed to protect newborns up to, roughly, the age of three (3) or when the child’s weight reaches 30-35 pounds. There are many brands of car seats to choose from, but it’s important to make sure your baby’s car seat is in compliance with Georgia law. In order to meet Georgia’s standards, the car seat must satisfy the following:
- Meet or exceeds federal standards;
- Accommodate your child’s height and weight requirements;
- Is compatible with the backseat of your vehicle -- the safest car seat placement for your baby’s ride;
- Is installed in the backseat pursuant to the manufacturer’s guidelines;
- Is rear-facing; and
- Is installed out of airbag range (refer to the car seat and vehicle owner’s manual to ensure you are properly and safely installing a car seat).
Child Safety Seats are Improperly Used By Many Parents – What You Must Know
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that child safety seats are improperly used in eight (8) out of every ten (10) vehicles. Tightly securing your child’s safety seat with your vehicle’s seat belt, or through utilization of the LATCH (lower anchor and tethers for children) system hardware, are the only ways to ensure protection of your child in the event of a sudden stop or crash.
To make sure that you have a thorough understanding of car seat safety and how your child’s car seat is to be properly used in your car, it is important to be cognizant of the following guidelines:
- Birth–1-year – Rear-facing car seats should always be used for a child under the age of one. Rear-facing car seats come in the following three styles:
- Infant-only – strictly a rear-facing model is limited to the first few months of life;
- 3-in-1 – features adjustable positioning to accommodate your child’s growth (increasing height and weight) and is designed to allow your child to ride in a rear-facing position as long as possible (this style acts as a car seat early on and then becomes a booster seat as your child grows); and
- Convertible – just like the 3-in-1 style, the convertible car seat has adjustable positioning to accommodate your child’s growth, by allowing your child to ride in a rear-facing position, and then transition into a forward-facing position with a harness at about the age of three (3).
- 1-3-years – Your child’s car seat should remain in a rear-facing position until he (or she) has completely outgrown the rear-facing option.
Ensuring Your Child’s Car Seat is Safe
As a Georgia parent, you have too much at stake to cut corners on safety when it comes to your children. While many car seats are pricy, there are car seats out there that are both safe and affordable. It isn’t always easy to find the right brand that will best fit your child, so it is important that you do what you can as a parent to ensure that your child is safe while traveling as a passenger in a motor vehicle.
If you currently have a car seat and would like to make sure the car seat is installed properly, and that your child is sitting properly in the car seat, you can visit a Certified Child Passenger Safety technician or instructor who will perform a car seat safety fitting inspection. These technicians and instructors are available throughout the City of Atlanta, located at fire stations, county health departments, the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, among other locations.
If you need a car seat for your child, and are having trouble affording a car seat, you may have options available to you depending on your unique financial and personal circumstances. Specifically, there are grant programs available to qualifying Georgia residents, however, it is important to keep in mind that only certain residents may qualify, and that the criteria may have to do more with a child’s special needs than the parents’ income. As such, as a Georgia parent, you should research all potential resources for financial assistance and/or grant programs that you may qualify for.
Grant programs that help qualifying parents acquire car seats are available through organizations including, but not limited to, the following:
- City of Atlanta, Department of Fire Rescue;
- Department of Public Health, Injury Prevention;
- Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute;
- DeKalb Safe Communities; and
- Pioneer RESA.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact Montlick & Associates today for your free consultation with our experienced Accident Injury Lawyers in Georgia. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 39 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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