Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said his department will soon begin enforcing a new car safety seat law for children.
Starting July 1, children aged 8 and under will be required to ride in a car safety or booster seat.
Senate Bill 88 requires drivers to “provide for the proper restraint of such child in a child passenger restraining system appropriate for such child’s height and weight.”
The law aims to reduce the number of children who are injured or killed in automobile accidents.
Previously, the law applied to children 6 and under. On July 1, the age will increase to 8.
“The law really didn’t change too much, it just upped the age,” Grogan said. “We’ll just continue to enforce it like we do now. We’ll just be checking kids that look a little older than they did before.”
Grogran said the law will be a positive change if it helps save lives.
“I think it’s probably pretty good. The goal for us, and I’m sure for the Legislature, is to keep children safe,” Grogan said.
It’s important for parents to make sure booster seats are installed properly, Grogan said.
“Parents just need to make sure they follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how they should install the seat in your car. If it’s not installed properly you’re in violation of the law,” he said. “Besides that fact, if it’s not installed properly it could be dangerous for the child, which is the most important consideration.”
There are exceptions. Children who weigh 40 or more pounds may wear a lap belt if the vehicle does not have both lap and shoulder belts or if all other lap and shoulder belts are being used by other children, according the bill.
The law won’t apply to children whose guardian has a written statement from a physician that a physical or medical condition of the child from being restrained by something like a booster seat. Children 5 feet or taller are off the hook, too.
The penalty for breaking the law is $50 for first time offenders and $100 for second offenders.
“Our goal is not to write a lot of tickets for this offense,” Grogan said. “Of course, if you fail to secure your child according to the new law, you will be subject to receiving a citation for your offense. Please follow the law and keep your children safe.”