No one wants to be in a car accident in Marietta but if you are, you want every person riding in the car to be as safe as possible. Children are especially vulnerable given their size and weight and therefore every state has its own laws regarding how child passengers need to be restrained. Knowing what the law says is crucial in keeping your child safe in the event that an accident does occur.

One common mistake many people make is thinking that their child is old enough to not need a car seat or booster seat. However, whether or not your child can use the seat belt without assistance is actually based on his or her height and weight and not age according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Children should use a booster seat so that the lap belt and seat belt fit correctly until they are big enough to do so without. Therefore, your child may outgrow the booster seat sooner or later than other kids who are the same age.

Smaller children should ride in a car seat with a safety harness. They should only move up to a booster seat when they have outgrown the height and weight specifications for their particular brand of car seat. Many car seats can be positioned either rear-facing or forward-facing. Again, your child’s seat should not be switched to forward-facing until he or she has outgrown the manufacturer’s specifications for rear-facing.

Infants under the age of one should always ride rear-facing. This will afford them much more protection in the event of an impact. While some states have laws requiring babies to remain rear-facing longer, in Georgia the law says that your child should remain rear-facing until the height and weight requirements for forward-facing have been met.