Car accidents are one of the top causes of death for small children. While the safety features in vehicles have greatly improved over the years, the design of them is to protect adults. Common safety devices, such as seat belts and airbags, do not protect a child due to his or her small size. This requires you to take additional steps to ensure the safety of your child whenever he or she is in a vehicle.
The Georgia Department of Law explains that state law mandates the use of a child seat for children who are age eight or younger and who are under 57 inches tall. The two-part requirement is important to note as many parents may overlook the height requirement, which is very important since size is a huge factor in whether standard safety devices built into vehicles will offer proper protection.
Safety seat basics
Safety seats can be infant seats, rear-facing, front-facing or booster seats. The law requires following the manufacturer’s guidelines when determining which type of seat to use. Manufacturers design seats for children based on age, weight and height. Always check the specifications of a seat before you buy it and change seats when your child outgrows the one he or she is currently in.
Typically, booster seats are for older children as they rely on the seat belt as the main safety harness. They will raise a child up to a height comparable with an adult to allow the seat belt to work properly in the event of a crash.
The state also requires that children ride in the backseat of a vehicle. The only exception to this is if there is no backseat or it is not possible to put the child in the backseat. In an instance such as these, your child may ride in a front seat as long as he or she weighs at least 40 pounds and is in an appropriate safety seat.