North Carolina Car Seat Laws (2024) -Age, Weight, Height Requirements

According to the North Carolina State Law, children younger than 8 years old and weighing less than 80 pounds should be properly restrained in an appropriate child passenger restraint system.

What is the car seat law in North Carolina?

North Carolina Legislature Laws G.S. 20-137.1(a1) read as: "Every driver who is transporting one or more passengers of less than 16 years of age shall have all such passengers properly secured in a child passenger restraint system or seat belt which meets federal standards applicable at the time of its manufacture."


North Carolina Rear-facing Car Seat Laws


North Carolina Forward facing Car Seat Rules


North Carolina Booster Seat Laws

Front Seat Laws

When can child sit in front seat North Carolina

Car Seats List

Best car seat to meet North Carolina laws

US Car Seat Laws

Seat Laws across the United States

North Carolina Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

According to the regulations in § 20-137.1, the NC law does not say the age, weight, or height requirements on the rear-facing car seats. It only requires a child to use a child’s safety seat based on the weight.

For this case, the best practice is always to follow the rules of AAP and NHTSA. Keep your children in the rear-facing car seat for as long as they exceed the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

Infant-only seats have a weight limit between 30-35 pounds and a height limit between 30-32 inches. They are able to ride infants to 12 months or 18 months.

Convertible and all-in-one car seats have higher weight and height limits for a longer period of time to stay rear-facing.

North Carolina Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

When can a baby face forward in a car seat in North Carolina?

After a child reaches the height and weight limit of the rear-facing seat, turn them to the forward-facing. The North Carolina law does not say much about forward-facing car seats.

According to the AAP and NHTSA rule, it’s better for a child to keep staying in the forward-facing car seat until they outgrow the weight or height limit.

Most car seats have a forward-facing weight limit of 65 pounds and a height limit of 57 inches. That means your child can stay in a forward-facing car seat until age 5-7.

Child Booster Seat Laws in North Carolina

What is the age and weight of a booster seat in NC?

The NC law does not say the age and weight requirements for a booster seat. But it’s natural to use a booster seat after the child has reached the forward-facing seat’s limits.

It’s best to keep your child in a booster seat until the lap and shoulder belts fit properly, typically between 8 and 12 years old with a weight of 80 pounds.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in North Carolina

Children aged 8 through 16 should be secured a seat belt or a child restraint system if the seat belt does not fit properly.


If no seating position equipped with a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure the weight-appropriate child passenger restraint system is available, a child less than eight years of age and between 40 and 80 pounds may be restrained by a properly fitted lap belt only.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in North Carolina

Violating the North Dakota law causes a heavy penalty, including:

  • fine not to exceed $25
  • Full court costs apply ($263)
  • Two driver license points
  • No insurance points
  • No conviction if a child is less than four and proof presented at trial that CRD has been acquired since a violation

North Carolina Car Seat Laws Apply for

The drivers are responsible for all children less than sixteen to be secured.


Vehicles not required to have belts (such as cars made before 1968 and pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans made before 1972, and large buses)

  • Ambulances and other emergency vehicles
  • If a child’s “personal needs” are being tended to
  • If all seating positions with belts are occupied

When can a child sit in the front seat in North Carolina?

According to the NC law, your child must sit in the back seat until they are 5 years old and weigh 40 pounds.

However, it is not recommended to place your child in the front seat in a rush after the child is 5 years and weighs more than 40 pounds because the seat belt would not fit your child properly at this time.

Experts from AAP and NHTSA at child safety recommend that your child sits in the back seat until they are 13.

Taxi Car Seat Law in North Carolina

Taxis are required to follow child restraint laws and they aren’t exempt like some other states.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in North Carolina Law

The North Carolina laws don’t state the age, weight, and height requirements based on four car seat stages, but say as below:

A child passenger restraint system is required for children less than 8 years of age and less than 80 pounds.

A child who is less than 5 years old and less than 40 pounds in weight should be secured in a rear seat.

Children younger than 8 years of age and between 40 to 80 pounds MAY be restrained by a properly fitted lap belt only when the seating position is not equipped with a lap and shoulder belt.

Children under 16 years old should be restrained in a weight-appropriate child passenger restraint system.

Best Car Seats to Work with North Carolina Laws

Based on the North Carolina child car seat laws, here are the best car seats that will ride your boys or girls safely without breaking the rules.

To help parents quickly find the best option based on your child’s current age, this list is made by age.

Newborn - 2 Years Old

Rear-facing car seats

Birth - 4 Years Old

Convertible car seats for use

4-8 Years Old

Booster seats for use

With Special Functions

Car seats with Unique Features

Birth - 2 Years

30-lb rear-facing maximum weight

Further Information

Best Car Seats for One Year Old

Birth - 4 Years

4-8 Years

  • Best to Fit 3 Across – Diono Radian 3R
  • Best with backless booster – Graco 4Ever DLX
Diono Cambria 2 XL

The Diono Cambria 2 XL combines a highback and backless booster into one. It provides spacious room for growing big kids.

Diono Cambria 2 XL

The Good
The Bad

Car Seats with Unique Functions

For Travel

Further Information

Best car seat with wheels

Slim Fit to Do 3 Across


Car seat with 5-point harness

Further Information

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