Child Car Seat Laws

(404) 816-4440

Child Car Seat Laws in Georgia

On July 1st, 2011, Georgia introduced a law requiring all children under 8 to be in a car or booster seat appropriate for their health and weight. This law was developed due to automobile accidents becoming a leading cause of death and injuries for children ages 1-12 years of age. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4 out of every 10 children under 6 who die or are seriously injured in auto accidents were unrestrained or improperly restrained; however, when car seats are used correctly they are 71% effective in preventing injury among infants and 54% effective with children ages 1-4.  And children who use booster seats are 59% less likely to be injured in a crash than those using a seat belt alone. This article will outline the child car seat laws in Georgia but if you have any other questions, feel free to call our Georgia Lawyers today.

Georgia Law on Child Safety Seats

Under O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76:

Every driver who transports a child under eight years of age in a passenger automobile, van, or pickup truck, other than a taxicab or a public transit vehicle, shall provide for the proper restraint of such child in a child passenger restraining system appropriate for such child's height and weight and approved by the United States Department of Transportation under provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 in effect on January 1, 1983, or at the time of manufacture, subject to the following specific requirements and exceptions:

(A) Any such child weighing at least 40 pounds may be secured by a lap belt when:

(i) The vehicle is not equipped with both lap and shoulder belts;  or

(ii) Not including the driver's seat, the vehicle is equipped with one or more lap and shoulder belts that are all being used to properly restrain other children;

(B) Any such child shall be properly restrained in a rear seat of the motor vehicle consistent with the requirements of this paragraph.  If the vehicle has no rear seating position appropriate for correctly restraining a child or all appropriate rear seating positions are occupied by other children, any such child may be properly restrained in a front seat consistent with the requirements of this paragraph;

(C) A driver shall not be deemed to be complying with the provisions of this paragraph unless any child passenger restraining system required by this paragraph is installed and being used in accordance with the manufacturer's directions for such system.

Exceptions to Child Car Seat Laws

If your child is over 4'9'', they are not required to be in a child safety seat, even if they are under 8 years of age.

In addition, the above laws shall not apply if the child has a physical or medical condition that prevents them from being restrained as recommended. The parent or guardian must obtain a written statement from the child's physical.

Penalty for Failing to Comply with Child Car Seat Laws in Georgia

Officers can issue a citation for child car seat violation without having to stop the driver for another traffic violation first. A first conviction will result in a fine up to $50 and one point against your license per improperly restrained child. A second or subsequent offense will carry a fine of up to $100 and a conviction will result in the assessment of two points on an individual's driving record.

Failure to properly secure a child in a car seat is particularly problematic if the driver happens to be under the influence of alcohol, as it can provide further evidence of child endangerment.  Child endangerment occurs when an individual is transporting a child under 14 while driving under the influence.  This charge does not merge with DUI, nor do multiple child endangerment charges merge with each other.  Typically an individual carrying multiple children in the car receives a separate child endangerment charge for each child he or she is transporting, which can result in substantial jail time and/or loss of driving privileges.

4 Steps to Safety Chart by NHTSA

Age Limit

Weight / Height Limit



Infant Seat

Newborn to 1 yr.

Less than 1 yr.

Up to 20 lbs.

20-35 lbs.

These car seats should be rear-facing

For 20+ lb. babies, use a seat recommended for heavier infants

Toddler Seat

1-3 years

20-40 lbs

Child needs to be BOTH 1 year old and 20 lbs. or more before placed in a forward-facing seat

Booster Seat

From 4 years to at least 8 years

Between 40-80 lbs; Under 4'9” tall

Booster seat should be used with lap and shoulder belt; Lap belt should rest across the lap-never the stomach

Safety Belt

8+ years

Taller than 4'9”

Seat belt fits properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).

Additional Tips to Ensure Your Child's Safety

  • Children should stay in the back seat until they reach 13 years of age.
  • Do not hold a child in your lap or place a car seat in the front seat instead of the back. In both situations, you are putting your child's life in serious danger.
  • Do not use a child seat that has been in an accident. Many insurance companies will cover the cost of a replacement car seat after an accident.
  • Buckle up, even on short trips! The NHTSA found that 52% of all accidents that occur within the US happen with 5 miles of their residence, and 69% happen within 10 miles of their home.
  • Read the directions. Studies have shown that 72% (nearly two-thirds!) of car seats and booster seats are dangerously misused. Take the time to protect your child!
  • Wear your own seat belt!  Protect yourself from injury or death and set a good example for your children. Nearly 40% of children with unbelted drivers were found to not be securely restrained themselves.

Some jurisdictions in Georgia are taking further steps to educate the public about the importance of proper car seat usage.  For example, Walton County requires all individuals convicted of DUI to donate a new car seat to the Sheriff's Office for distribution to individuals who cannot afford a car seat.  The City of Atlanta Fire Department has 33 fitting stations around the city, with a certified child safety seat technician on staff.

Contact Us Today

If you have any questions about child car seat safety, you can visit the NHTSA's website here. You can also reach out to our office anytime.

You Only Have 30 Days To Save Your Drivers License

Our attorneys will pick up the phone at any time. Call our office now to avoid automatic suspension of your drivers license.

CALL US 24/7

Most Reviewed Law Office in Georgia

We invest 100% of our time, energy and passion into every case to achieve the best results possible.


Two Decades of Experience

Find out why choosing a team with experience can make all the difference in your DUI case.


We've Helped Nearly 5,000 People

Our team is committed to delivering our clients the results that they need after a DUI arrest.