Child Seat Safety Laws in South Carolina

In South Carolina, children are far more likely to die in motor vehicle collisions than from any other cause. Car accidents are also the leading cause of injuries in children. Accordingly, there are laws that are based in common sense that govern the use of child seats in vehicles.

Summary of South Carolina’s child seat safety laws

In South Carolina, the child seat safety laws can be summarized as follows:

  • Anyone operating a passenger vehicle in South Carolina must provide an appropriate restraint system for any child age five and under who is travelling in the vehicle.

  • Children from birth to 1 year and less than 20 pounds must occupy a rear-facing safety seat that meets NHTSA standards.

  • Children 1 or older, but not yet 6, and weighing over 20 pounds but under 40, must occupy a front-facing safety seat that meets NHTSA standards.

  • Children 1 or older, but not yet 6, and weighing 40-80 pounds must be restrained using a belt-positioning booster seat. Both the shoulder and lap belts must be used, since booster seats are not made to work with just a lap belt.

  • Children 1 or older, but not yet 6, who weigh over 80 pounds can be restrained in the same manner as an adult, using the vehicle’s safety belt system.

  • Children under six who are able to sit in the back seat with their back against the seat’s back, and their knees bent over the edge of the seat, without slouching, can be restrained in the same manner as an adult in the back seat.

  • Children under the age of six may not ride in the front seat of a motor vehicle, unless the vehicle has no back seat, or the back seat already contains a full complement of children under six.

  • Child restraint laws in South Carolina do not apply to taxis, school buses, day care buses, church buses, or commercial vehicles.

Penalties

If you fail to secure your child in accordance with the law in South Carolina, you could be fined $150.

Child safety seats save lives, so secure your child in an age, and size appropriate restraining system.


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