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New Georgia Car Seat Legislation Reminder

June 07, 2011

One of the most effective ways for a parent to protect their children and secure a bright future is to faithfully employ age appropriate safety restraint systems including car seats and booster seats.

As many as 150 children between the ages of 0-19 enter emergency rooms every hour for injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. More children between the ages of five and nineteen die from injuries related to car crashes than from any other type of injury. Most parents use front and rear facing car seats for small children faithfully. When a child outgrows a car seat, the use of a booster seat is critical to continue to keep a child who is not yet big enough for a seat belt safe in a serious car accident.

Recently the Georgia senate passed a bill that raised child car seat requirements in the state to include all children younger than age 8, with an exception for children under age 8 who are at least 4'9" tall and weigh at least 40 pounds. If a parent is found breaking the law they will be fined $50.00. Georgia is not the only state to have increased child restraint legislation. At least 20 other states have laws requiring that children under the age of 8 remain in a booster seat. Nevada and Wyoming's laws actually include children under the age of 9.

Typically, children who are ready to use booster seats are between the ages of 4-8 years old or are under 4'9" tall. A good gauge, according to some sources, to determine that a child has outgrown a car safety seat is when the child’s ears are level with the top of the back of the safety seat, and their shoulders are above the top strap slots. A child who has also reached the weight limit for the car seat is also ready to move up to a booster seat.

Once a child outgrows a car seat, a booster seat should be utilized until the lap/shoulder seat belts in the car fit the child properly. A booster seat is typically appropriate until the child is at least 4'9" tall or has a sitting height of 29" and weighs 80 pounds. A child should only be riding in the seat of a car without any aids when they can bend their knees over the edge of the seat while sitting with their backs firmly against the seat back.

Booster seats come in a couple of different styles. They do not come with their own harness straps but rely on the use of the shoulder seat belts in the vehicle. Some booster seats come with a high back on them while others have no back at all. The ones with high backs can be useful in cars that do not have headrests or have really low seat backs. The boosters without backs can be easier to move from vehicle to vehicle.

Parents should always refer to the instruction booklet to understand how to clip a booster seat into the vehicle’s shoulder and lap belts. The lap belt should lay low across your child's upper thighs snugly. The shoulder belt should cross over the middle of your child's chest and shoulder. If for any reason your car does not have shoulder belts in it, the safest option is to use a car seat with the highest weight limits available.

National Highway Safety Transportation Administration data reveals that the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 3-14 is car accidents. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers are committed to representing car accident victims including small children. Children who are unrestrained account for over thirty percent of those fatalities. If you or your child are seriously injured or suffer wrongful death in a Georgia car accident, Montlick and Associates handle our clients’ legal issues with compassion, fairness, and experience.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers of Montlick and Associates are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, 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. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.