South Dakota Car Seat Laws (2022) -Rules What Parents Need to Know

According to South Dakota State Law, all children under 5 (five) years and under 40 pounds old should be secured in a child passenger retraint system that meets Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 as in effect January 1, 1981. Children under 17 years of age must be buckled up in the vehicle.

The law was updated and effective July 1, 2001.

What is the car seat law in South Dakota?

South Dakota State Legislature Law in Section 32-37-1 reads: “Any operator of any passenger vehicle transporting a child under five years of age on the streets and highways of this state shall properly secure the child in a child passenger restraint system according to its manufacturer's instructions.”

South Dakota State Regulations

South Dakota Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

According to the rule in section 32-37-1, the South Dakota laws just require children under 5 years old to use a child restraint system.

No age, weight, or height requirements on a rear-facing car seat can be found in the regulation’s statement.

But you need to follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions to choose an appropriate safety device for the child.

It’s best to read the child car seat guidelines from AAP and NHTSA, which recommend placing a child in rear-facing car seats as long as possible until they are 2 years of age.

South Dakota Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

Similarly, the South Dakota law does not specify a child’s age, weight, or height requirements for forward-facing car seats.

For this case, we do suggest you follow the advice of APP and NHTSA on forward-facing car seats.

Use a forward-facing car seat once your child reaches the highest weight or height limit of the rear-facing car seat.

The forward-facing car seat should come with a 5-point harness. Multifunctional car seats like convertible, all-in-one, and harnessed boosters should meet this rule.

Child Booster Seat Laws in South Dakota

In the regulations of section 32-37-1, South Dakota law only requires that all children should ride in a child restraint system until the age of 5. No weight or height requirements for a booster seat.

If you’re planning to use a booster seat for your child, 4-year-old is a minimum age requirement. Because all the booster seats sold on the US market are manufactured with the federal safety standards for this baseline.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in South Dakota

According to the South Dakota laws in section 32-37-1.1, children who are 5 years or older but less than 18 years of age should be secured in a seat belt system.

That means a child can stop using a booster seat after 5 years old by rules.

However, it’s NOT recommended to put a child on a seat belt so soon, even it does not break the South Dakota car seat laws.

It’s the common rule to keep your child in a rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat, or booster seat as long as possible until they exceed the highest weight or height limit allowed by the manufacturer.

The South Dakota Department of Social Services suggests keeping your child in a belt-positioning booster until they are 8 years old or at least fit the seat belt properly.

It also gives a few advance tips to check if your child fits a seat belt well:

  • Be tall enough to sit without slouching,
  • Keep his/her back against the vehicle seat back,
  • Keep his/her knees completely bent over the edge of the seat,
  • Keep his/her feet flat on the floor, and
  • Be able to stay comfortably seated this way.
  • The lap belt must fit low and tight across the upper thighs.
  • The shoulder belt should rest over the center of the shoulder and across the chest.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in South Dakota

Violating the SD law that not secure a child properly will receive a fine of $25.

South Dakota Car Seat Laws Apply for

It’s the driver’s responsibility to make sure the child passengers aged 0-17 be restrained securely in the car.

Exceptions:

Cars manufactured before 1966 

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

When can a kid sit in the front seat in South Dakota?

South Dakota Department of Social Services recommends that children under 12 years old ride in the back seat, which is considered safer for children. The rear middle seat is the safest position.

You should NEVER place a rear-facing infant seat in the front passenger position with an active airbag.

Taxi Car Seat Law in South Dakota

Laws in South Dakota aren’t clear whether taxis are required to follow child restraint laws.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in South Dakota Law

There are few hard numbers of age, weight, and height requirements in South Dakota laws. Just two statements:

Any operator of any passenger vehicle transporting a child under five years of age on the streets and highways of this state shall properly secure the child in a child passenger restraint system according to its manufacturer’s instructions.

Any operator of a passenger vehicle operated on a public street or highway in this state transporting a passenger who is at least five and under eighteen years of age shall assure that the passenger is wearing a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system.

You can find that only age is mentioned in the laws, but not weight or height requirements.

Few requirements mean that it’s hard for parents and drivers to make a decision to choose an appropriate safety car seat for the child.
Luckily, the South Dakota Department of Social Services gives best practices for reference.

  • Infants (Birth to 1 year of age): Rear-facing (stage 1)
  • Toddlers (1 to 3 years old): Rear-facing as long as possible then switch to the forward-facing car seat with a harness
  • Preschoolers+ Young (4 to 7 years old): Harnessed forward-facing car seats are preferred, but a booster seat is okay once the child outgrows the highest weight or height limit of the forward-facing car seat.
  • Youth (8 to 12 years of age): Use a booster seat until the child exceeds the limits. When they are big enough and ready to fit in a seat belt properly, use a lap and shoulder seat belt.

Best Car Seats to Work with South Dakota 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

$24.99*

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.

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