South Carolina car seat laws state that infants and toddlers between one (1) and five (5) years of age, who weigh between 20 and 39 pounds, must use a forward-facing car seat in the back seat of a moving vehicle. Additionally, children who are five (5) years old or under and weigh between 40 and 80 pounds are required to use a booster seat.

As parents, it’s essential to keep in mind that it’s encouraged to keep children in booster seats for as long as possible until the child can safely use a seat belt without the assistance of a booster seat. Also, children under the age of 13 must always sit in the back seat of a vehicle for maximum safety.

Proper usage of car seats and booster seats can help protect your child in an accident. If you have any questions or concerns about car seat laws or the proper usage of these safety seats, seek guidance from a certified car seat technician or pediatrician.

In this article, I have given comprehensive guidelines on how you can abide by the car seat law in South Carolina to avoid fines and keep your adorable little ones safe. 

An overview of South Carolina car seat laws

South Carolina’s child passenger safety laws have undergone a few changes in the past few years. The main difference 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. Below I have given a more comprehensive explanation of all the car seats according to the laws and guidelines in South Carolina.

Car seat laws in South Carolina according to age and weight

Recommended Car SeatAge and weight
Rear-facing car seatInfants aged two years and under
Forward-facing car seatA child who is two years old or under and has outgrown the manufacturer’s height or weight limits for a rear-facing car seat
Booster seatA child older than 4 years who have outgrown their forward-facing car seat can be secured in a booster seat.

Lap and shoulder car seat belts must be used.

Adult Safety Seat BeltA child who is at least eight or at least 57 inches tall can be restrained with an adult safety belt if the child can be secured properly in the adult safety seat belt.

 A child who is at least eight or at least 57 inches tall can be restrained with an adult safety belt if the child can be secured properly in the adult safety seat belt.

South Carolina Car Seat Laws: Rear-Facing

According to South Carolina car seat laws, infants and toddlers younger than two should 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 child passenger safety 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.

 Many forward-facing car seats have higher height and weight requirements to help keep your child safe for longer. The booster seat should be used with both lap and shoulder belts.

South Carolina Child Booster Seat Law

The 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 also switch to a booster car seat.

 While in the booster seat, the child needs to use the lap and shoulder belts properly. 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 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 a back. This helps guide the seat belt into the right position and provides extra protection.

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 under 57 inches should also remain in a car seat or booster seat.

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, it is best to keep them in a booster seat longer.

South Carolina Seat Belt Laws

South Carolina’s safety belt law requires all people in a vehicle, including passengers and drivers, to wear a seat belt while 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. In addition, it is required that all passengers wear seat belts well.

 Some exceptions to this include:

  1. If a passenger or driver has written verification stating that they can’t wear the seatbelt for medical reasons.
  2. Medical or rescue personnel do not need to wear a seat belt.
  3. School, church, and daycare 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 others are using the belts.

Uber and Taxi Car Seat Laws

South Carolina car seat laws require parents to follow all the laws when in a taxi or Uber car. Your child must stay in the approved car seat the whole drive. The law explicitly stated that all children in motor vehicles should be restrained appropriately.

 Uber and taxi drivers are not required to provide the appropriate car seat for you. However, if you plan to use one of these services, bringing the proper car seat along is best.

Can my child sit in the 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. However, 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, they may sit in the front of the vehicle. However, they must continue to use the proper child safety seat while sitting upfront.

 Also, if your younger children occupy the back seat, a child may sit in the front. If you have four children but only three back seats, putting one child in the front seat is acceptable.

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

Enforcement and penalties of car seat laws in South Carolina

 In South Carolina, there are two agencies saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the car seat laws: the police and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, which includes the highway patrol and state transport police. Violators of the law face sanctions such as a fine, a ticket, or even court.

Violating the car seat safety laws could attract a $150 fine; no license points exist.

Anyone guilty of not using a safety seat belt could be fined $25 or more.

Auto insurance companies and car seat replacement in South Carolina

 After an auto crash, there is usually concern about injury, death, and damages. All these depend largely on the nature and severity of the accident. It can be disheartening, I must say, but you and I have a role to play to lessen the impact on the passengers, both young and old; buckle up.

According to NHTSA, you are required to replace a car seat after a crash, be it minor or severe, to ensure your child’s safety.

 In South Carolina, some auto insurance companies will replace or reimburse you for replacing a new car seat after a crash; you have to file a claim.

When it comes to crash claims, South Carolina is an at-fault state.  crash claims. This law allows you to file a claim against the other driver, who is as responsible for the accident as you are. In addition, you can file a claim for a settlement that covers all damages, which could include the car seat replacement.

Final Thought

South Carolina car seat laws are in place to help keep your child safe on the road. Following these rules and ensuring your child is in the right car seat is the best way to keep everyone in the car safe. Go for the recommended car seat according to your children’s age, weight, and height. Always buckle up before moving.

 

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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Keren Simanova

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