Hawk Law Group | January 20, 2022 | South Carolina Law
Every parent remembers their first car ride with their baby. Bringing home a newborn for the first time is a tender and emotional moment.
Some babies love their car seats, and others hate them. But all good parents appreciate the safety these products offer. However, the seat must be used properly to guarantee that safety.
In South Carolina, car seat and booster seat laws are written to protect young children, who represent the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
If you have questions about the right seat for your child, you’re not alone. This guide will cover everything you need to know about South Carolina car seat and booster seat laws.
Safe Traveling for Children
Whether you are new to parenting or an old pro looking for a refresher, below, you’ll discover each type of vehicle restraint you can use and legal requirements that apply to these devices in South Carolina.
In addition to the guidelines listed below, you should always check and adhere to the car seat’s safety manual for specific manufacturer recommendations.
Rear-Facing Car Seats
All infants under the age of one and weighing less than 20 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing car seat.
This car seat type should be used for as long as possible. If your child is comfortable remaining in their rear-facing seat past the one-year or 20-pound markers, continue to use the product.
Forward-Facing Car Seats
According to South Carolina law, all children between the ages of one and five and the weights of 20 and 39 pounds must use a forward-facing car seat. Again, this seat should be used for as long as possible.
Some newer models of forward-facing car seats accommodate children up to 65 pounds.
Next on the list is the booster seat. South Carolina law states that all children between one and five years old and in the range of 40 to 80 pounds should use this type of restraint. Your child will be secured at the hip and shoulder in these seats.
All children under the age of 17 must be secured in some way while riding in a moving vehicle. If the child is over 80 pounds and/or tall enough for their knees to bend over the seat’s edge, a standard seat belt is an acceptable restraint.
What Happens When You Break Car and Booster Seat Laws in South Carolina?
Car and booster seat violations are taken seriously in South Carolina. Here are a few of the penalties that may apply for specific violations:
Car Seat Law Violations
First-time violations of the car seat law are met with a $150 fine. However, you can have this fine waived if you can provide the court with proof that you have since acquired a child-restraint system that meets the legal requirement.
In most cases, instructions for remediation will be included in your court summons.
Seat Belt Law Violations
The fine for a seat belt violation cannot be waived. The biggest fine you will receive is $25. You may also face court costs and assessments. However, those fees will never exceed $50 each.
When you are pulled over for a car seat or seat belt violation, you cannot be arrested or taken into custody for the violation, as it is not considered to be a criminal offense. If this is your only violation, the police officer may not choose to conduct a search of your vehicle.
However, it’s important to remember that these laws are put in place to protect your safety and the safety of your child in the event of a car accident.
If you ever have questions about South Carolina law, your rights, or your legal standing, contact an experienced attorney.
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We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.