What are the car seat laws in South Dakota?

Children in South Dakota require car seats until they are five years old and weigh at least 40 pounds. Neglecting child safety laws will result in a fine of $25 per offense.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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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: May 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Drivers must pay a $25 fine for driving without properly securing their kids in child safety seats in South Dakota
  • South Dakota laws mandate all kids younger than five ride in a federally approved child safety seat
  • South Dakota law requires all kids weighing less than 40 pounds ride in a five-point harness car seat
  • South Dakota’s car insurance companies take note of these laws


Anyone who drives with a child in the car in South Dakota must abide by the state’s child safety seat laws. The laws are designed to protect all kids in vehicles on the road, and the law applies to kids who live in the state and those who are just driving through.

If you’re pulled over because your children are not properly buckled into their seats, there is no room for argument regarding your lack of knowledge of the law if you’re not a resident.

Kids require child safety seats for their own safety, and the law leaves no room for anyone to argue this fact.

Car seat safety is the most important consideration when you have a baby or a toddler. The car is one of the most dangerous places in the world for any child, and you don’t want to make any mistakes that might cost your child his or her life.

Children are injured all the time in car accidents, and proper car seat use is one of the best ways to prevent injuries from occurring.

Choose the right seat, and be sure to speak to your insurance provider about car seat replacement plans when you choose a new insurance policy. Make sure you have the best coverage with our free quote tool above!

Child Safety Seat Laws in South Dakota

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Every state has different laws regarding the specifics of children in car seats. South Dakota law has not changed to meet new recommendations in terms of children in safety seats, but the state does require child safety seats for any child younger than five.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all parents forget the laws and keep their children in rear-facing car seats until they are at least two-years-old.

The law in South Dakota only requires children remain rear-facing until they are one-year-old and 20 pounds, but recommends you keep your child rear-facing as long as possible.

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Height, Weight, and Age Requirements in South Dakota

Once a child reaches the one-year mark and weighs 20 pounds, they can legally face forward. They must be in an approved car seat that’s created specifically for the weight of the child. For example, some car seats are designed to face the rear for one year and until a child is 20 pounds.

Once the child reaches that size, the seat is too small. Be sure your child’s car seat is designed for kids the right size.

If your child is older than two but younger than five and weighs between 20 and 40 pounds, the law states you place them in a car seat. It’s a forward-facing car seat, but it must be a car seat with a five-point harness.

Once children reach the age of five and weigh 40 pounds, it’s fine to place them in an approved booster seat.

It’s recommended but not the law in South Dakota, that kids remain in their booster seat until they weigh at least 80 pounds and until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.

The ultimate way to gauge whether or not your child is ready to lose their booster seat after they meet the weight and height requirements is to test whether or not they can comfortably wear a regular seatbelt without any major adjustments having to be made.

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Car Seat Information for Parents

All car seats are designed differently, and that means parents must be cautious what they purchase and how they purchase it. Your infant must be in a federally-approved infant seat.

Your toddler must be in a seat that works with his or her size no matter how old he or she is on their birthday. The other important factor is the age of the car seat.

No car seat is considered safe once it’s six years old.

If you want to use a car seat for your new baby that belonged to your older baby, you may do that if the seat is not yet six-years-old. However, if the seat has been involved in a car accident in the past, you don’t want to use it again.

It’s no longer effective, and you can’t take that chance. This is why you should never purchase a used car seat from someone you don’t know. If they don’t tell you about any accidents the car seat was in, your baby’s life is now in danger.

If your child’s car seat is involved in a car accident, talk to your insurance agency. They offer replacement policies under the comprehensive portion of your car insurance policy.

If your company does not offer this kind of replacement coverage, it’s time to shop for a new car insurance policy. When comparing rates with different companies, be sure to include this on your list of questions to ask and policy additions to check.

If you find you are unsure how to properly use your car seat or install it into your vehicle, you can visit any South Dakota fire department or police station to receive help.

Law enforcement officials are specially trained to install car seats properly, and they are always happy to help parents learn how to do the same so they can keep their children safe in the car.

Penalties for Improper Car Seat Use

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If you or anyone else in your car is not properly buckled, you face a fine of $25 per person. All children younger than 17 must be in a seat belt anytime they are in a car, and anyone older than that must also be in a seat belt.

If your child is not in the proper seat, you are going to pay $25 per child for the lack of proper car seat use.

Using a car seat in South Dakota is not an option. Children are kept safe only when their parents take the time to keep them safe, and car seat safety is one of the simplest and most effective things any parent can do to keep your child safe. Don’t take any chances when you’re in the car with your kids.

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Keeping Your Kids Safe in South Dakota

Keeping your kids safe in South Dakota is easy when you take the time to educate yourself regarding car seat laws and installation practices.

Spending a little time researching the type of seat you want for your kids is beneficial, and staying up-to-date on the best safety recommendations and laws in South Dakota makes it easier for you to stay on top of your child’s safety.

Carrying the best insurance is another way to protect not only your child but also your family and your financial future. Don’t miss out on our free insurance comparison tool below! Just enter your zip code and start comparing rates now!

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