What are the car seat laws in South Carolina?

Children in South Carolina must weigh 40 pounds to use an adult seat belt and be six years old to sit in front. Neglecting child safety laws will result in fines up to $50.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • South Carolina car seat laws are more lenient than laws in other states
  • Kids six and over may ride in the front seat
  • South Dakota’s car insurance companies take very serious note of these laws
  • Kids are only required to remain rear-facing until they reach one and 20 pounds

South Carolina law requires children are safely secured in the proper seats while riding in any vehicle. This law is designed to protect children in the event a collision or other accident occurs while a child is in the vehicle.

Child safety seat laws in South Carolina are the same no matter what type of car a child is in or what county or city you are driving through.

Your children deserve safety, and the law wants to help make that possible by fining anyone who doesn’t properly secure their children.

It’s imperative you learn as much as you can about child safety seat laws in South Carolina, including why you should bring up car seats when comparing quotes for new car insurance policies.

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The Laws Governing Car Seats in South Carolina


The law is rarely simple to follow, but child safety seat laws in South Carolina aren’t complicated. All children under the age of one who weigh less than 20 pounds must remain in a rear-facing infant car seat.

This is not a one or the other law where your child is permitted to graduate to a forward-facing car seat when he or she turns one. This is an “and” law that requires your baby is both one year old and 20 pounds prior to moving to a forward-facing seat.

While the law does not require parents keep their children in rear-facing car seats until they are two in South Carolina, it’s still a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

If you can keep your child facing the rear of your vehicle until he or she is at least two-years-old, it’s considered much safer than turning him or her around.

Children who do meet the requirements for facing forward must be in a car seat if they are between 20 and 40 pounds. If a child this age exceeds the 40-pound limit, this child is permitted to move up to a booster seat.

If a child weighs more than 40 pounds, he or she may sit in the regular seat no matter his or her age.

Children younger than six years old are not legally permitted to ride in the front seat of any vehicle. However, there are considerations to this law. If your child is riding in a vehicle without a back seat, they may ride in the front.

If the back seat is filled with children in car seats, it’s also all right to place an older child in the front seat.

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What You Need to Know about Child Safety Seats

Many new parents find it overwhelming to learn so much about car seats, and it’s understandable. There is a lot of information, the laws are different in every state, and all car seats are made differently.

It’s imperative you read the instructions on all car seats before you make a decision. They are not one size. They come in various sizes for kids of various differences in the following:

  • Height
  • Weights
  • Ages

You must find the correct seat for the specific stage in your child’s life.

You must also speak to your car insurance agent about car seat replacement. It’s not safe to use a car seat once it’s been involved in an accident, and you want to be sure your insurance policy covers the cost of replacement.

Car seats are expensive, and you want to be sure your kids are safe following a collision. If your agency doesn’t offer car seat replacement as part of your comprehensive coverage, you can shop around to find an insurance policy that does offer this replacement.

Never purchase a used car seat. Car seats more than five years old or used by others are not considered safe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

You want to buy a new seat that’s never been used, and never trust a seat being sold by someone online or at a yard sale. If it was involved in an accident before, it might not work to protect your child if an accident ever occurs.

Register your child’s safety seat with the NHTSA. This process is simple, it takes only a few moments, and it allows you to receive immediate notifications if there is ever a recall on the seat you choose for your child. You want your child safe, and sometimes recalls occur.

Stay safe and in the know by registering your child’s seat.

Penalties for Not Using Your Child’s Car Seat


South Carolina car seat laws might be some of the most lenient in the country, but there are still fines associated with not using your child’s safety seat correctly. If you are stopped and your child is not correctly buckled into his or her seat, you face a fine of $25 – $50.

If you are unsure how to use your child’s safety seat properly, visit a local police station, fire department, or hospital.

There are people at all three who are happy to check out your child’s seat to make sure it’s properly installed. If it is not, they will properly install it for you and teach you how to do the same.

Education is the most important thing you can offer your children when it comes to their safety seats. Kids are precious, and their little bodies aren’t capable of handling the force of an accident in a regular seat belt.

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