South Carolina car seat laws are in place to help provide added protection to your child. Since these safety seats can reduce traffic-related fatalities by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers, it is important to follow them. 

South Carolina car seat laws require all children younger than eight to use a child safety seat anytime they are in the vehicle. Children must remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least two, and a forward-facing car seat until they are four. 

Once the child outgrows their car seat, they may switch to a booster seat with a shoulder and lap belt. The child must stay there until they are at least eight years old, or big enough to use an adult seat belt on their own. 

South Carolina Car Seat Law Changes

South Carolina car seat laws have had a few changes in the past few years. The main change is that children must remain rear-facing until they are two.  This law change has made South Carolina one of five states that require children ages 2 and under to continue using the rear-facing car seat. 

South Carolina Car Seat Laws

South Carolina car seat laws are in place to help keep your child safe while on the road. Some of the car seat laws parents must follow include:

South Carolina Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing

South Carolina car seat laws require babies and toddlers younger than two to remain in a rear-facing car seat. This will help protect them in case of an accident. 

It is recommended that parents get a rear-facing seat that can handle larger weight and height requirements. This helps your child remain rear-facing for all of the first two years. 

However, if the child outgrows the height and weight recommendations on the car seat before the age of two, they may stop using the rear-facing car seat. 

South Carolina Car Seat Laws Forward Facing

South Carolina car seat laws allow children who are two years old, or who outgrew their infant car seats, to use a forward-facing car seat. These children need to remain in the forward-facing car seat until they reach the age of four. Then they can move on to a booster seat. 

If your child outgrows the booster seat weight and height recommendations, they may choose a booster seat instead. Many forward-facing car seats have higher height and weight requirements to help keep your child safer for longer. 

South Carolina Child Booster Seat Law

South Carolina booster seat law allows children who are at least four years old to use a booster seat. If the child outgrows their forward-facing seat, they may switch to a booster seat as well. 

While they are in the booster seat, the child needs to properly use the lap and shoulder belt. The shoulder belt should fit snugly over the chest, without going under the arm. The lap belt should not be up against the stomach, but instead on the lap. 

There are several types of booster seats that you can choose for your child. Many parents start with the option that has aback. This helps guide the seat belt into the right position and provides extra protection too. 

When Can a Child Stop Using a Booster Seat in South Carolina?

South Carolina car seat law requires all children under the age of eight to sit in a car seat. Children who are under 57 inches should remain in a car seat or booster seat as well. 

Once the child reaches eight years old, or 57 inches, they may transition out of the booster seat. They can then use an adult safety belt. Only do this if the belt fits snugly across the hips and thighs, and the shoulder belt rests on their chests. 

The child must also sit back against the cushion of the vehicle and have their knees bent over the seat. If the child is not tall enough to do this, then it is best to keep them in a booster seat longer. 

Uber and Taxi Car Seat Laws

South Carolina car seat laws require parents to continue following all the laws when in a taxi or Uber car. Your child must stay in the approved car seat the whole drive. 

Uber and tax drivers are not required to provide the appropriate car seat to you. If you plan to use one of these services, it is best to bring the proper car seat along. 

Can My Child Sit Up Front in a Vehicle?

South Carolina car seat laws require all children under the age of eight to sit in the back of the vehicle. This is the safest place for your child until they are older. There are a few exceptions to this rule. 

If your child is riding in a truck or another vehicle that does not have a back seat, then they may sit in the front of the vehicle. They must continue to use the proper child safety seat while sitting up front. 

Also, if all the rear seats are occupied by younger children in the vehicle, then a child may sit in the front as well. If you have four children but only three back seats, it is acceptable to put one child in the front seat. 

Always use the proper safety precautions when a child under the age of eight sits in the vehicle. Turn off the airbags, use proper child safety seats, and push the seat as far back from the dash as possible. 

South Carolina Seat Belt Laws

South Carolina safety belt law requires all people in a vehicle, including the passengers and drivers, to wear a seat belt while the vehicle is moving. The driver will be responsible for everyone 17 and younger. 

All passengers who are 8 or younger should wear a seat belt in the back of the vehicle if they are not in their child safety seat. It is required that all passengers wear a seat belt as well. 

Some exceptions to this include:

  1. If a passenger or driver has a written verification that they can’t wear the seatbelt for medical reasons. 
  2. Medical or rescue personnel do not need to wear the seatbelt. 
  3. School, church, and day car buses. 
  4. Any passengers in vehicles used for a parade. 
  5. Public transportation. This does not include taxis. 
  6. USPS mail carriers. 
  7. If a passenger can’t use a seat belt because all of the belts are being used by others. 

Penalties for Violating the South Carolina Car Seat Regulations

South Carolina requires all families to follow the car seat laws. Failure to do so can result in penalties and fines to the parents. 

If a motorist violates these car seat rules, they will need to pay a traffic ticket. This is often $150 for each offense. However, this penalty will not apply to daycare, school, or church buses, or taxis. It also doesn’t apply to any vehicle that is driven by a motorist with a commercial driver’s license. Also, the fine can be waived if they produce evidence that they purchased a car seat on or before their court date.

Laws RegardingSpecial Needs Children

According to South Carolina law, any child who can’t ride in a normal car seat because of a medical condition may ride in a child safety restraint system designed for special needs children. Common medical conditions requiring special car seats include tracheostomies, spica casts, muscle tone abnormalities, and challenging behavior.

Car Seat Programs

If you can’t afford a car seat, there is a program that can help.

Buckle Buddies Program

Prisma Health has a program called Buckle Buddies. It allows families in South Carolina to purchase car seats at cost on the fourth floors of the Richland and Baptist hospitals, at the Birthplace.

The program’s goal is to make new car seats available to families in South Carolina. They want to increase safe travel for children and reduce the risk of injury or death.

Details

It’s open to the general public, including patients that deliver at Prisma Health Hospitals.

There are two different discounts available when purchasing the seat. The Medicaid discount allows parents and children receiving Medicaid to receive a discount by showing their Medicaid card.

The educational discount allows anyone who attends one of their monthly child safety passenger classes to receive a discount. The discount may vary depending on what kind of seat the parent is purchasing.

Seats Available Through The Program

Infant carriers

You can get the Evenflo Embrace 35 for as little as $35 if you qualify for both discounts.

Convertible seats

You could get the Cosco Scenera or Evenflo Tribute for as little as $10 if you qualify for both discounts.

Forward facing/Booster seat combination

You could get either the Evenflo Surekid or a no-back booster seat. The Evenflo Surekid comes in two different styles – one used with a five-point harness and the other is used as a high-back booster. If you qualify for both discounts, you can get it for as little as $30.

For the no-back booster, depending on what they have in stock, you could get either the Juvenile Harmony or the Evenflo Big kid for as little as $5 if you qualify for both discounts.

All fabrics are gender-neutral. Check their website for more information on the discounts for the different models available, or contact them by email at bucklebuddies@prismahealth.org.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the height and weight requirements for a booster seat?

The requirements vary depending on the manufacturer. Once the child outgrows their forward-facing car seat, they’re ready for a booster seat.

When can my child sit in the front seat?

A child can sit in the front seat in South Carolina when they reach 8 years old.

How long should a child ride rear-facing?

According to South Carolina law, children should stay rear-facing until age 2.

Conclusion 

South Carolina car seat laws are in place to help keep your child safe on the road. Following these rules and making sure your child is in the right car seat is the best idea to keep everyone in the car safe.

 

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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