North Carolina Car Seat Laws (2023) -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

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

Rear-Facing Car Seat for Infants and Small Toddlers

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo

More than this Doona car seat and stroller combo, there are a few excellent options available for riding infants in rear-facing. But not all will perform as well as it to allow 1-year-old infants to face the back for this long time, Chicco KeyFit 30 for example, features a low 30-lb weight limit that might not go through the first year. 

Forward-Facing for Big Toddlers and Preschoolers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the parent’s need to ride their kids in the rear- and front-facing for a longer time. It features 50-lb rear-facing weight limit to be one of the best rear-facing car seats for 2 years old.

When using it facing front, the 65-lb weight limit makes it go through the preschool ages – 3 years old, 4 years old, and 5 years old.

Booster Seats for Big Kids

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster


The Graco TurboBooster is the most popular and best budget car seat to meet the State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger.