Georgias New Booster Seat Law Gets Thumbs Up from Safety Experts
Georgia has passed a new law regarding child booster seats that is drawing applause from child safety advocates. According to the Times-Georgian, Governor Nathan Deal signed the new law earlier this month. It raises the mandatory booster seat age for children from 6 years old to 8 years old. The new law brings Georgia in line with the recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All 50 states have some type of child restraint laws. However, the requirements of the laws vary greatly from state to state. The age limits vary from children up to 9 years old to no restraints necessary for children riding in the backseat.
Parents Encouraged to Use Booster Seats
"This is a huge victory for us," said Meaghan Tilton, of Safe Kids Douglas County. "It takes the burden off parents for deciding if their child is big enough." The new law exempts children taller than 4 feet 9 inches tall from using a booster seat. Safe Kids encourages parents to use booster seats for children older than age 8 if they are too small to use a regular seat belt. It also provides a safety test to determine whether a child is big enough to use a seatbelt at www.usa.safekids.org.
New Law Protects Children
The new law extends protection for children during a vulnerable phase of their physical development. Children ages 4 to 9 are at the greatest risk for injuries from car crashes. The prior law did not require children older than age 6 to use a booster seat. "I have no doubt this law will save countless lives and prevent serious injuries for many young children," said Governor Deal at the bill-signing ceremony. "We must do everything in our power to protect young Georgians."
According to the NHTSA, three-fourths of the states have laws requiring the use of booster seats once children outgrow child safety seats. The states with the worst laws? Alaska, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Ohio. Regardless of the law in your particular state, do your children a favor. Keep them in an approved booster seat until they're at least 8 years old. Any inconvenience to you or them pales in comparison to the possibility of your child walking away from a serious car accident.