Georgia Car Seat Laws - Updated & Simplified
Table of Contents
Child Restraint Seat Law in Georgia
Car Seat Law in Georgia (GA Statute 40-8-76)
What does the child passenger safety law in Georgia say?
- A child passenger restraint system that meets federal safety standards and the following requirements (and exceptions) must be used to properly restrain a child under 8 years of age according to the appropriate restraint system meant for their age and height in a motor vehicle (passenger automobile, pickup truck, van, and sports utility vehicle, designed with sitting capacity of 15 or less).
- A lap belt is to be used to restrain a child weighing at least 40 lbs. if the vehicle doesn’t have both lap and shoulder belts.
- Such a child must be appropriately restrained in the back seat. An exception to this will be if the vehicle has no back seat (single cab truck) or if the back-seat space has been occupied by other children, then such child may be properly restrained in the front seat with the following conditions again;
- That a properly installed child restraint system is available in the front seat and used correctly and;
- That the parent or guardian provides a medical report that the child cannot be restrained in the manner required for a child restraining system, or;
- If the child is more than 4 feet 9 inches
- Then such a child should be restrained by a safety belt.
What this car seat laws for Georgia simply means is that a child less than 8 years old, weighing at least 40 lbs., is less than 4 feet 9 inches, and doesn’t have a medical condition that wouldn’t let him be restrained as required, then, they must be secured by a seat safety belt in the back seat, otherwise in the front seat if the back seat is occupied by other children in restraint systems.
More on The Law
- A fine of not more than $50 shall apply for violation of these car seat laws in Georgia.
- If a person violates these laws a second time, they shall pay a fine of not more than $100.
According to a visual aid (PDF document) provided by the Georgia Department of Public Health here, the Georgia State car seat laws can be interpreted for the following, on rear-facing, forward-facing, booster seat car seats, and seat belts and the respective age, weight, and height appropriate for each.
The Georgia Department of Public Health recommends that the rear-facing car seat is the best for your young child.
The rear-facing car seat is recommended for infants under 12 months old up and less than 20lbs, up to toddlers aged 1-3 years and less than 20 lbs.
Therefore, you should ensure you use this rear-facing car seat for your baby under 12 months old or less than 20 lbs. up to 3 years or less than 20lbs.
This is also in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of using a rear-facing infant car safety seat for as long as possible, up to 2 years, and in some cases, 4 years.
The state of Georgia car seat laws vis-à-vis the Department of Public health further recommends the “rear or forward-facing from 1-3 years through 7 years or less than 40lbs.
This type of car seat is to be used for your preschoolers and school-aged children between the ages of 4-7 years or less than 40 lbs.
I will recommend you get a convertible car seat from the very beginning. As the name implies, ‘convertible,’ it can be used as a rear-facing car seat and then converted to a forward-facing.
This offers you more as you can use it longer than an infant seat. However, if you’re planning ahead of your delivery and thinking when to get a car seat, this will guide you on choosing a car seat.
Belt-positioning Booster Seat
A booster seat should be used when your child is over 40 lbs. and under 4 feet 9 inches in height, or between 8-12 years, until a seat belt can fit them properly.
Also, a booster seat with lap and shoulder belts or seat belts is used.
Seat Belt Law
What does the law say?
Every occupant of a “passenger vehicle” (pickup truck, van, and sports utility vehicle, designed with a sitting capacity of 15 or less) must be restrained by seat safety belts, including the front seat passenger.
A violation of the seat belt law in Georgia shall attract a fine of $15.
The law further says
- A safety seat belt must restrain each minor aged 8 years or older.
- Where a safety seat belt
- doesn’t restrain such minor, the driver of the vehicle shall be guilty of the offense of failure to secure such minor by a safety belt.
- Such fine herein shall not be more than $25.
You should note that children less than 13 years old are to ride in the back seat and be restrained by a safety belt.
Other Laws About Car Seat You Need to Know About in Georgia
Other Passengers in A Car
- Each front seat occupant (driver and front-seat passenger) of a passenger car must have a safety seat belt properly fastened about their body when the vehicle is in motion.
Front Passenger Seat – Can A Child Sit in The Front Seat?
A child must ride in a child passenger restraint system, which should be installed in the back seat.
The only time a child may ride in the front passenger seat is when other children in restraint systems occupy the space in the back seat. And if there is a properly installed restraint system for the front seat. And, if the child is more than 4 feet 9 inches (and that means they are above 13 years, which is the only legal age a child can ride in the front passenger seat).
Therefore, a child shouldn’t or ‘cannot’ technically ride in the front seat in Georgia.
However, installing a car seat in the front seat is also not safe. The center rear is the safest position to install a car seat. That is because if the front passenger airbag is activated and there is a car crash, the pressure from the inflated airbag will hit the back of a rear-facing infant seat where your baby’s head will be resting and can cause severe injury and even death.
The Georgia state car seat laws do not apply to taxis or public transit vehicles.
- “every driver who transports a child under eight years… other than a taxicab…or a public transit vehicle….”
However, in a situation where you may need to use a taxi, cab, or uber, I recommend that you learn how to install an infant safety seat without the base. It would be helpful if you were to be in such a situation. More so, it is safe and legal to do it. That is why manufacturers teach you such installation in the car seat manual.
Can You Leave A Child in Your Car Alone in Georgia?
No law prohibits leaving a child alone in the car in Georgia. But it is not still advised you do such.
Here’s some information you need to know; it is estimated that every year, between 30 and 50 babies die due to hypothermia and heat illness in the U. S. after being left in a car.
You don’t want that.
Smoking Around Children in Cars – is it illegal?
Georgia is looking to pass a bill that will make it illegal to smoke in a car with minors.
Georgia Car Seat Laws – Car Seat Replacement After an Accident
While no one hopes to be involved in a car crash, we can only try to avoid such.
Georgia doesn’t have a law that supports the replacement of car seats.
However, there are some guidelines to note when buying or using your car seat. The manufacturer’s instruction is your go-to guide for one of such. Another is to avoid buying an expired car seat or any seat that has been involved in even the minor of crashes.
You should also not sell yours or give it to anyone if it expires or is involved in a crash, however light. Here is a guide on how to check if your car seat has expired.