Gov. Nathan Deal signed the new booster seat law Monday while at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
The new law, set to go into effect July 1, will require children to be restrained in a child seat up to the age of 8. Currently the age is 5. The law is reported to protect children between the ages of 6 and 8 whose height and weight still puts them at risk for injury as a result of being secured only by an adult lap or seat belt.
According to a press release from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, three years ago 14,154 children in this age group were involved in motor vehicle accidents in Georgia with a resultant 10 fatalities and 1,755 injuries. Only 12 percent of those children were reportedly using a child safety or booster seat in addition to the adult seat belt.
Experts from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta report children wearing just an adult seat belt are more likely to suffer injuries such as fractures and severe bruising of abdominal organs. They are also more likely to slide under the seat belt leading to more severe injuries of organs such as the liver, spleen and pancreas.
Officials from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta say it was a collaboration between Gov. Nathan Deal and the hospital that paved the way for the bills to become law. The governor and first lady will also be delivering toy bears to young patients during the visit.