Child Seat Belt Laws in Georgia

By Valerie Liles
child in the car image by Natalia Pavlova from Fotolia.com

Georgia's child seat belt laws state that all children under the age of 17 must be restrained while riding in a moving passenger vehicle. Children between the ages of 6 through 17 must wear a safety belt, while children under the age of 6 must be in a car seat or booster. If your child is not wearing a seat belt, the fine for a first violation is $25. The fine for a first offender for not restraining a child under 6 is $50 and one point against his license. For repeat offenders, the fine and punishment goes up significantly. Also, keep in mind that this fine is per child not adequately restrained.

Statistics and the Law

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teenage deaths in Georgia.
child in the car image by Natalia Pavlova from Fotolia.com

According to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, both as drivers and passengers, as well as African Americans from birth to age 14, and Latinos from age 1 to 44. Georgia establishes safety zones and inspection stops to enforce the child seat belt laws in an effort to lower these astounding statistics.

Best Practices

Most fire departments will inspect and install your car seat.
child in the car image by Natalia Pavlova from Fotolia.com

Buy a car seat or booster that is suitable for your child's height, weight and age now and in the near future. Read and understand the guidelines and installation instructions found on the seat. Children under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat and children under the age of 4 should use a car seat or booster. Most fire departments in the state of Georgia will install and inspect your car seat or booster, free of charge.

Height and Weight

A child's height, weight and age will determine car seat placement.
child in the car image by Natalia Pavlova from Fotolia.com

Car seat and booster specifications are clearly marked on the seat as well as the packaging. These specifications are determined by height and weight, and sometimes age. Georgia's child restraint law specifies that children under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat using a seat belt. An infant should ride in a rear-facing car seat until reaching the weight or height restrictions of the seat. No child restraint should be placed in front of an active air bag. When a child is 4 and around 40 pounds, he can move to a booster seat, provided the seat and lap belts fit properly. At 8 years of age, a child can use an adult seat and seat belt. Most booster seats will accommodate a child up to 100 pounds.

Exceptions

A child restraint is not required on a school bus.
child in the car image by Natalia Pavlova from Fotolia.com

A child riding on a school bus, in a taxi or on public transportation is not required to use a child restraint. When riding in a private vehicle, a child over 40 pounds can use just a lap belt if a shoulder strap is not available, or a front seat and seat belt if a safe rear seat option is not available.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Valerie Liles has been writing about landscape and garden design since 1980. As a registered respiratory therapist, she also has experience in family health, nutrition and pediatric and adult asthma managment. Liles holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University and a Master of Science in technical communication from the University of Colorado.