South Carolina Car Seat Laws


South Carolina Car Seat Laws

  • In the State of South Carolina children from birth to one (1) year of age or children that weigh less than twenty (20) pounds must be secured in a rear facing infant seat or child safety seat.
  • Children one (1) through five (5) years of age weighing between twenty (20) to forty (40) pounds must be secured with a forward facing car seat.
  • Children one (1) through five (5) years of age weighing between forty (40) to eight (80) pounds must be restrained with a belt-positioning booster seat.
  • Children under the age of six (6) are not required to be in booster seats if they weigh more than eighty (80) pounds or if they can comfortably sit with their back against the seat and bend their legs over the seat edge without effort.
  • Children under the age of six (6) may not sit in the front passenger seat unless the vehicle has no back seat or if all the back seats are occupied by children under the age of six (6).
  • Drivers cited for a violation of the South Carolina Car Seat Law are subject to a fine of $150.
  • Commercial Vehicles, Taxis, Church Buses, Day Car Buses and School Buses are not subject to this law.

Safety Recommendations

Rear Facing Car SeatFrom Birth to Twelve (12) Months of Age

  • Children under the age of one (1) should always be placed in a rear facing car seat when travelling in a vehicle.
  • If you use a Convertible or 3-in-1 car seat you may be able to keep the child rear-facing for a longer period of time since many of these seats often have higher weight and height limits.
  • Infant-Only car seats are usually designed to be rear facing only therefore limiting the product usability.

Forward Facing Car SeatRear Facing Car SeatFrom One (1) to Three (3) Years of Age

  • Again, the best way to keep a child safe is to keep them in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible.
  • Knowing the manufacturer’s height and weight limit of your rear-facing car seat will help you to determine if your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat.

Forward Facing Car SeatFrom Four (4) to Seven (7) Years of Age

  • This is the typical age range for children to ride in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
  • These seats should be placed in the back seat as well.
  • Again it is important to understand the manufactures recommend height and weight limit and making the decision to place your child in booster seat.

From Eight (8) to Twelve (12) Years of Age

  • Children should remain in a booster seat in the back seat of the vehicle until they safely fit into a seat belt.
  • This means the seat belt should fit across the upper thighs snug.
  • In addition the shoulder belt should fit snug across the chest and shoulder and not across the face or neck.
  • As a reminder it is still safer to keep your child riding in the rear seat.

Child Car Seat Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has several other recommendations for car and booster seat safety.

  • When choosing a child car seat be sure that the seat will fit in the vehicle(s) that you will be transporting your child with.
  • The child car seat should match the child’s size, age and weight.
  • For proper installation of the child safety seat, always follow the manufactures recommendation for fitment and the height and weight limits of the car or booster seat.
  • Based on the height and weight limit of your child the safest rule of thumb is to keep the child in a car seat as long as the child fits into the recommended height and weight limits defined by the car seat manufacturer.
  • Keeping your child in the back seat through the age of twelve (12) is also recommended by the NHTSA

Source Link for this Page

South Carolina Department of Public Safety

National Highway Traffic Association