Kids & Car Seats: What is the Law?
From the moment your baby enters the world, they rely on you to care for all their needs. Along with their need for nutrition, love and shelter, comes the need for protection. Before you can leave the hospital with your baby, you will be required to have a child safety seat in your vehicle that is appropriate for their size and weight. Although different states have subtle changes in rules about child seats in vehicles, every state in the US requires them.
North Carolina law requires that kids under eight years old and eighty pounds be in a car seat or booster seat. Once children turn eight years old or outweigh the eighty pounds, they can graduate to just the seat belt. Car seats must be fastened in the rear of the vehicle if the child is under forty pounds or under five years of age. If your car has passenger side air bags, the same rule applies, unless the car seat is rated for air bags. North Carolina law requires that all passengers not required to be in a car seat or booster seat must be buckled in by their seat belt, regardless of position or seat. Children under 12 years of age must sit in the rear of the vehicle. Everyone is required to wear a seat belt if they are in a seat.
South Carolina law requires that children under one year old, or that weigh less than twenty pounds, must be in a rear-facing child seat. Children ages of one through five, between twenty and forty pounds, are required to ride in a forward-facing child seat. Children over eighty pounds or under 6, and can sit with their backs against the car’s seat and bend their legs over the seat edge without slouching are not required to ride in a booster seat, belted in. Children under 6 may not sit in the front passenger seat if the vehicle has rear passenger seats.
Child safety seats greatly reduce your child's risk of injury or fatality, so remember that these rules are for your child's protection. If you are concerned that your car seat is not installed properly, you can also visit a child car seat inspection station in your state. You buckle your child into their child seat to protect them; accordingly, make sure you have the right insurance to protect your family.