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4 SC Child Passenger Laws You Must Learn

Toddler girl getting buckled in her car seat

Protecting What You Cherish Most

Your children come first. Their health and safety are of the utmost priority not only for you but for South Carolina lawmakers as well. When you’re driving with child passengers, it’s vital to ensure they are secure and protected from danger at all costs.

But as you may already know, roads and highways are full of risks. You may be driving safely, but you can’t predict what another driver may do. As a result, you must ensure your children are taken care of in case you get into a collision.

There are several types of car seats out there, but how do you know which one to fasten your child in? South Carolina’s child passenger laws include four key statutes governing restraint systems relative to children’s ages and weights. If you are convicted of violating these laws, you may suffer a $150 fine.

  1. Rear-Facing Car Seat: An infant under 2 must be secured in a rear-facing car seat in the rear seat of a vehicle until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat.
  2. Forward-Facing Car Seat: A child at least age 2 or under 2 who has outgrown the manufacturer’s height or weight limits for a rear-facing car seat must be secured in a forward-facing car seat in the rear seat of a vehicle until the child exceeds the highest height or weight requirements of the forward-facing car seat.
  3. Booster Seat: Children at least age 4 who have outgrown their forward-facing car seats must be secured by a booster seat in the rear seat of a vehicle until the child can meet the height and fit requirements for an adult safety seat belt. Lap and shoulder belts must be used.
  4. Seat Belt: A child at least age 8 or at least 57 inches tall may be restrained by an adult safety belt if the child can be secured properly by an adult safety seat belt. A child is properly secured by an adult safety seat belt if:
    • The lap belt fits across the child’s thighs and hips and not across the abdomen.
    • The shoulder belt crosses the center of the child’s chest and not their neck.
    • The child is able to sit with their back straight against the vehicle seat’s back cushion with their knees bent over the seat edge without slouching.

These laws do not apply to:

  • Taxi drivers
  • Drivers of emergency vehicles when operating in an emergency
  • Church, daycare and school bus drivers
  • Public transportation operators
  • Commercial vehicles

If you have further questions about South Carolina’s child passenger safety laws or got charged with violating these statutes, contact our Columbia criminal defense attorneys at (803) 938-4952 today!