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Do Your Older Children Still Need Car Seats? An Atlanta Auto Accident Attorney Answers

Many parents feel that when their kids get old enough to tie their shoes or they are tall in size that they don’t need to be in their car seats anymore and that securing them with just a seat belt should be fine. However, according to many federal authorities, older children should still be secured in the proper car seat for their age and height every time they are in a vehicle.

According to a car accident that CBS Atlanta reported on, a four-year-old slid out of his seat belt, was ejected from the car, and died. While infants are required to be in child safety seats, older children are not and this child’s parents were in accordance with Washington state law at the time of this tragic crash. While buckling up is considered by many to be safe, placing children in appropriate car seats and booster seats is the most important thing parents can do to keep their children safe in the event of an Atlanta auto accident.

Sadly, car accidents in this nation are the number one killer of children ages one to 12. This is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges parents to continue to keep their children in booster seats until they are big enough—meeting height and weight requirements. This means that children ages four to seven should stay in car seats until they are big enough for booster seats, and that children between 8 and 12 years of age may need to stay in booster seats until they are big enough to be restrained by seat belts.

Just how big does a child need to be before he or she is allowed to stop using a booster seat?

According to Safe Kids USA, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, children need to be 4’9” tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds before they retire their booster seats and graduate to the seat belt. This will give them the best protection in the event of a wreck.

Children restrained only by seat belts before they are tall enough or weigh enough may suffer serious injuries in the event of a crash, including:

  • Seat belt syndrome
  • Serious cervical and lumbar spinal cord injury
  • Intra-abdominal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Death

The reason why small children may suffer these types of injuries from seat belts is due to their small pelvis. If your child was injured in a Georgia car crash and you complied with the child seat safety laws, please call an experienced Atlanta personal injury law firm for help determining if you have a case against the other driver or the manufacturer of the car or booster seat. For more information, call the Law Offices of Shane Smith for a free, no-obligation consultation at 770-HURT-999 to find out more about your rights today.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia