Car Seat Laws in North Carolina

Car Seat Laws in North Carolina - What You Need to Know

In North Carolina, a child is required to use a booster seat or car seat until he/she is at least eight years old or eighty pounds.

A vehicle seat belt often fits appropriately when a child is between eight and twelve years of age and approximately four foot and nine inches tall. Parents should keep their children in the booster or car seat until the seat belt fits properly on its own. If children are less than sixteen years of age, they should ride in the rear seat. 

Parents, caregivers, teachers, and relatives of young children in North Carolina should know and understand the car seat laws for child safety. Most of them have ideas that several forms of restraint or car seat are necessary when children ride in vehicles.

However, what exactly are the car seat laws North Carolina? When can children from one restraint system type to another? Why are there even car seat laws? What happens if the laws are not followed?

As a parent, I ensure the safety of my kids every time they are in my car. I keep myself updated with North Carolina’s laws on child safety seats. In this post, I am going to explain car seat laws North Carolina

Keep reading and learn the following:

  • Why Are Child Car Seat & Restraint Systems Important

  • What are the Car Seat Laws in North Carolina

  • When is the Ideal Time to Move Children to the Front Seat

  • What are the Penalties for Violating the North Carolina Car Seat Law 

  • What are the Exceptions to the North Carolina Car Seat Law

  • Is North Carolina Car Seat Law Safe?

Why Are Child Car Seat & Restraint Systems Important

Why are there even such car seat laws? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children have to use child restraint systems in motor vehicles. Using these seats and systems helps decrease the chances of injuries or death for infants and children involved in any vehicular accidents. 

The reduction of injury or death risks for children between fours and eight years old is from 45 percent, while 71 percent for infants. 

What are the Car Seat Laws in North Carolina

According to the North Carolina Car Seat Law, drivers who transport a passenger younger than sixteen have to ensure they are restrained with child restraint systems or seat belt. If your child is younger than eight and less than eighty pounds, you must secure them in the weight-appropriate car seat.

Here are the car seat laws North Carolina that parents, grandparents, caregivers, or teachers should know:

Rear-Facing Car Seat Law 

Since the North Carolina Car Seat Law requires drivers to secure children in weight-appropriate car seats if they are less than eight years old, we can refer to the federal recommendations on rear-facing car seats.

When driving a vehicle, you have to secure children in rear-facing restraints until they are at least one year old. Since it is the safest restraint system for kids, ensure to keep them there for as long as possible.

Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

Like the rear-facing car seats, we can also refer to the federal recommendations on forward-facing car seats. 

You can upgrade to forward-facing car seats only when your kids can no longer fit the restraint systems. You are required to keep the forward-facing car seats until your kids are too heavy or too tall for them. After that, you can move to the booster seats. The ideal time to move to that seats is seven years old.

Car Seat Laws in North Carolina

Booster Seat Law 

A driver can let young children sit in the booster seats once they are four years old. However, it is not recommended.

You still have to try keeping your kids in forward-facing car seats until they outgrow the limits set by the manufacturer. Then you can upgrade to booster seats.

Seat Belt Law 

The North Carolina Child Passenger Law states that drivers can secure only a seat belt once the child reaches eight years old or eighty pounds.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Seat Belt Law requires all passengers to wear a seat belt.

When is the Ideal Time to Move Children to the Front Seat

The North Carolina Car Seat Law requires children less than forty pounds and younger than five years old to be in the back seat. On the other hand, official recommendations need the drivers not to let children sit in the front seat until they are twelve or thirteen years old.

Additionally, if the vehicle has no sitting position with a shoulder and lap belt, a child younger than eight and between forty and eighty pounds must be secured in the back seat with a lap belt only.

What are the Penalties for Violating the North Carolina Car Seat Law

Drivers are responsible for adhering to North Carolina Car Seat Law. Anyone who violates car seat laws is required to pay up to $25 in fines. They are also subjected to receiving two points on their driver’s license record.

However, if your vehicle has the necessary child restraint systems and can prove it to the court, you do not need to pay fines. 

North Carolina recognizes the importance of using child car seats and restraint systems in saving children’s lives when accidents occur. If you are involved in a vehicle accident with a child, you can contact an attorney and learn when and how to seek compensation. 

What are the Exceptions to the North Carolina Car Seat Law

Emergency vehicles like ambulances are excepted from the car seat laws North Carolina. Cars that do not need to have safety belts are also excepted. However, taxis must abide to the law. 

Is North Carolina Car Seat Law Safe?

The state of North Carolina has no rigorous legislative system. For example, a child is officially obligated to sit in the back seat until five years old. Many people find it dangerous and believe that children must be secured in the back seat until they reach twelve.

The $25 penalty tends to be very low. The penalty also does not get higher if more than one kid is involved in the violation. 

On the bright side, I find the fact that taxis must follow the car seat laws very promising. That is because it presents a higher safety level for a child passenger than in other states. 

You can read this article here

Conclusion

North Carolina has reported some death rates among children less than fourteen years old in the past years. Car crashes were the leading cause of death, according to the statistics.

Parents know that buckling up their kids is essential in traffic. However, they have to realize that seat belts do not give the kids’ fragile petite bodies a tight grip. So, this is where child restraint systems and car seats play a critical role. 

Following the car seat regulations and laws in North Carolina is essential to protect your kids if unexpected things happen on the road. I hope this post helped you better understand your responsibilities as a driver when transporting kids. So, every time you want to travel with your kids, you can focus on the road knowing that they are away from dangers. Happy and safe driving!