South Carolina Car Seat Laws (2022): Rear- or Forward-facing, or Booster

According to the South Carolina State Law, children under 8 years of age should be secured in a child restraint system that is appropriate for the child’s age, weight, and height requirements.

What is the car seat law in South Carolina?

South Carolina Legislature Laws SC Code § 56-5-6410 (2012) reads: "Every driver of a motor vehicle (passenger car, pickup truck, van, or recreational vehicle) operated on the highways and streets of this State when transporting a child five years of age or younger upon the public streets and highways of the State must provide an appropriate child passenger restraint system."

South Carolina State Regulations

South Carolina Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

The South Carolina law in section Section 56-5-6410.  (A) (1) requires infants and toddlers under 2 years of age to ride in a rear-facing car seat.

The child is required to keep using a rear-facing car seat until he or she outgrows the maximum weight or height allowed by the manufacturers.

The seat must be placed in the back seat.

Infant-only car seats are good for 12 months or 18 months small infants. This type of car seat does not feature high rear-facing weight and height limits as the other two car seat types – convertible and all-in-one.

The latter two will allow you to ride a toddler to 2 years old or even till age 4.

South Carolina Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

Rules in section 56-5-6410.  (A) (2) say that a child should be secured in a forward-facing car seat when he or she is:

  • 1) at least 2 years old or 
  • 2) younger than 2 years old but outgrows the rear-facing car seat

As long as your child meet one of the age requirement above, they can move to a forward-facing car seat.

The forward-facing car seats are required to feature a harness and install in the rear passenger seat.

It’s the best practice to keep your child in the rear- or forward-facing car seat as long as possible for the next stage.

Child Booster Seat Laws in South Carolina

The South Carolina law Section 56-5-6410.  (A) (3)  says that children who are at least 4 years old must be secured in a booster seat whenever they exceed the maximum weight or height limit for the forward-facing car seat.

The booster seat should be used until the child is at least eight years old or at least 4 feet 9 inches.

It’s best to install the booster seat with a lap-shoulder belt.

When can my child ride without a booster seat in South Carolina?

According to the laws, a child can get out of their booster seats when they are eight years of age or older, or 57 inches or taller.

However, it’s not recommended to move your child to the next stage in a rush. You should check if the seat belt fits your child properly or not.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in South Carolina

According to the South Carolina law in section 56-5-6410.  (A) (4), children can be secured in a seat belt when they meet one of the below age or height requirements:
1) 8 years or older
2) 4 feet 9 inches or taller

Before getting out of the booster seat, check if the safety seat belt works well for fitting your child or not.

  • (a) the lap belt fits across the child’s thighs and hips and not across the abdomen;
  • (b) the shoulder belt crosses the center of the child’s chest and not the neck; and
  • (c) the child is able to sit with his back straight against the vehicle seat back cushion with his knees bent over the vehicle’s seat edge without slouching.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in South Carolina

Violating the law that not secure a child in an appropriate child passenger safety seat will be charged or fined up to $150.

Not following the seat belt law can result in a fine of $25.

South Carolina Car Seat Laws Apply for

The driver is responsible for the child’s security in the car.

Exceptions

The rules in Section 56-5-6410.  (A) (5) list the situations exempt from following the SC law.

  • Children for a medical reason. 
  • Taxi drivers
  • Emergency vehicles
  • Bus drivers, or public transport vehicles

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

How much does a child have to weigh to sit in the front seat in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, your child can sit in the front seat if they’re older than 8 years and use a proper restraint device. They can also sit in the front seat if the car has no back seat.

But there are no requirements on weight or height to allow a child to sit in the front seat.

Taxi Car Seat Law in South Carolina

Taxis are exemptions to follow child restraint laws in South Carolina.

This rule can be found in Section 56-5-6410.  (A) (5).

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in South Carolina Law

According to South Carolina law, the age, weight, and height requirements on a child and child restraint system include:

  • Rear-facing (stage 1): under 2 years old
  • Forward-facing (stage 2): between the age of 2 to 4
  • Booster (stage 3): at least 4 years old and under 8 years old, less than 4 feet 9 inches
  • Seat belt (stage 4): at least 8 years of age and 57 inches or taller

Best Car Seats to Work with South Carolina Laws

Rear- and Forward-Facing for Infants and Toddlers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Zip

$299.99*

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

$24.99*

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

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