South Carolina car seat laws require children to ride in a child safety seat until they reach a certain age, weight, and height. If a child is a passenger in your vehicle, you must follow South Carolina car seat laws to protect them as you travel to your destination. As the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) explains, car seats help protect young riders as seat belts do for adults.
When children are in a car seat, they can remain seated and avoid coming into contact with other surfaces or equipment in the vehicle. If you are unsure about South Carolina’s car seat laws or get into an accident with a child passenger, our car accident lawyer can help you.
In this Article
- What Are South Carolina’s Car Seat Laws?
- Are There Exceptions to South Carolina’s Car Seat Laws?
- Do South Carolina’s Car Seat Laws Apply to Out-of-Town Motorists?
- What Are the Penalties in South Carolina for Violating a Car Seat Law?
- My Child Was Hurt in a S.C. Car Accident: How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
- Call Our South Carolina Team Today for a Free Consultation
What Are South Carolina’s Car Seat Laws?
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In South Carolina, children aged 8 and younger typically must use a car seat or booster seat when riding in motor vehicles, per S.C. Ann § 56-5-6410. Generally, the only exception to this age limit is if a younger child is over 57 inches tall. The requirements for the safety seat your child should use will depend on their age, height, and weight:
- Infants and children under age 2 must use a rear-facing car seat in the rear passenger seat of a vehicle. They can use this seat until their height or weight exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended limit for each.
- Children aged 2 through age 4 must use a forward-facing car seat with a harness. They must use this seat in a vehicle’s rear passenger seat until they outgrow it.
- Children ages 4-8 who outgrow the forward-facing car seat must use a booster seat with lap and shoulder belts in a vehicle’s rear passenger seat.
- Children aged 8 or those reaching 57 inches tall can use an adult seat belt. The lap belt must fit across the child’s hips and thighs, and the shoulder strap should fit across the chest. The child must also be able to sit with their back against the seat and bend their knees over the seat’s edge without slouching.
The SCDPS recommends that children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat. It says this part of the vehicle can protect them from airbag injuries should one deploy. They may also be shielded from injuries if a head-on collision occurs.
Are There Exceptions to South Carolina’s Car Seat Laws?
There are some exceptions to South Carolina’s car seat laws. Not all vehicles must follow the state’s car seat and booster seat laws, as S.C. Ann § 56-5-6440 states. These include:
- School buses
- Church and daycare vehicles
- Emergency vehicles
- Commercial vehicles
- Public transportation vehicles
Some child passengers may not be able to wear seat belts for medical reasons. In that case, parents or guardians must have written documentation from a medical professional that explains why they cannot use the standard child passenger seat for their age group.
Do South Carolina’s Car Seat Laws Apply to Out-of-Town Motorists?
Unless they are driving a vehicle that is exempt from the law, all motorists driving on South Carolina’s roads must adhere to its car seat laws if they are carrying young passengers. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) inspects car seats for free at stations throughout the state. People interested in having a certified technician inspect a car seat can visit the SCDHEC’s site and make an appointment for a safety check.
What Are the Penalties in South Carolina for Violating a Car Seat Law?
Violating a car seat law means paying a $150 traffic ticket. The court could waive the fine if the offender can show they got the proper car seat before their court date.
My Child Was Hurt in a S.C. Car Accident: How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
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If your child suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident in South Carolina, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney promptly to review your legal options. Our car accident attorneys can review the details of the accident and advise you on possible next steps.
We can protect your rights and interests as you seek to recover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses from the liable party. An attorney with our firm can investigate the accident, collect evidence supporting your case, and handle communications with the insurance company and legal representatives. We can also seek the appropriate compensation in your case and protect you from accepting a settlement offer that falls short of your child’s needs.
Call Our South Carolina Team Today for a Free Consultation
South Carolina’s car seat laws can be straightforward, but a motor vehicle accident could complicate matters. Call Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC for legal guidance today. We offer a free case evaluation and can work on your case at no upfront cost. We receive payment only if we recover compensation for you.
Call or text 828.286.3866 or complete a Case Evaluation form