What are the child car seat laws in North Carolina? North Carolina

Car Seat Laws for North Carolina

Child safety seat laws apply to children younger than 16. Once you hit age 16, you must abide by the regular adult NC safety laws. The DMV does not enforce these, except for putting points on your drivers license if you break the law.

Younger than Five

  • Kids younger than five and weighing fewer than 40 pounds must sit in the back, unless there is no rear seat or no front passenger airbag.
  • You may use the child restraint device (CRD) in the front seat if it is specifically made to withstand airbags, or if you can turn your airbag off.

Older than Five

Child car seats or CRDs must be used for children who are younger than eight years old and who weigh fewer than 80 pounds. Therefore, if your seven-year-old weighs more than 80 pounds, he may be seated in a regular seat.

All Children

The child car seat must be appropriate for the child’s size and age. For example, children between 40 and 80 pounds can use booster seats that help the seatbelts stay in place, rather than baby car seats.

All children must wear the seat belt properly, with a shoulder belt in position and not moved. If a shoulder belt is too high for a child so it cuts at the neck, then a booster seat should be used for safety.

If there is only a lap belt available, children who weight more than 40 pounds may sit in this position without a booster seat. Do not use a lap belt with a booster seat; it won’t work properly.

Safety Laws and Recommendations

Below are recommendations that NC makes to keep children safe. These are not laws, though.

  • Babies and toddlers should face backwards until age two. You can use baby car seats or a convertible car seat for this. Some infant car seats have an upper weight limit that an older baby will surpass; purchase a convertible car seat after this.
  • After age two, the child car seat should have a harness. Generally the harness is good up to 40 pounds.
  • After the harness won’t fit, use a booster that properly positions the safety belt. Do not use a shoulder-belt adjuster to make the seatbelt fit.
  • Use a safety belt alone when the seatbelt can be appropriately positioned. For some cars, the child might be nearly five feet tall before this is possible.

Child Restraint Laws and Fines

The driver or parent is responsible for children being properly buckled up.

  • There is a penalty, which may not exceed $25.
  • Court costs will be $130.
  • The driver will be pinged with two drivers license points, but no insurance points.

Dismissing the Ticket

If you get a ticket, you can get the case dismissed if:

  • Your child is younger than eight years old.
  • You show the judge a receipt or other proof for the purchase of a child safety seat.

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