North Carolina Car Seat Laws 2021 What You Need to Know

Children's safety in traffic is an ongoing issue, causing a lot of debate among experts. For instance, North Carolina had some severe death rates among children younger than fourteen in the past years. Statistics say the leading cause of death was car crashes.

What every parent probably knows is that buckling up children is a necessity in traffic. However, seat belts are not designed to give a tight grip to the fragile petite bodies that children have, hence child restraint systems. 

Now, parents use child restraint systems for their newborns and toddlers, but research has shown that preschoolers and schoolers are the safest in car seats, as well.

Each state has its regulations and laws when it comes to the use of child restraint systems. These are not always the safest possible solutions, so you might get confused about what regulations to follow.

In this article, the North Carolina car seat laws will be our topic, and we'll additionally talk about how strict or loose they are when compared to the official recommendations.

Buckle up, parents; the ride is about to start!

North Carolina Car Seat Law

north carolina car seat laws rear facing

According to North Carolina Car Seat Law, if you're transporting a passenger younger than sixteen, you have to make sure they are restrained using a seat belt or child restraint systems.

Children younger than eight and less than eighty pounds in weight should be secured in a weight-appropriate car seat.

North Carolina Rear-facing Car Seat Law

Since the official North Carolina Car Seat Law obliges drivers to secure kids less than eight years of age in weight-appropriate car seats, we should refer to the federal recommendations for details on rear-facing car seats.

Drivers should secure kids in rear-facing restraint systems until they are at least one year old

However, you should keep them in these seats for as long as possible, since this is the safest restraint system for your kid to be in.

North Carolina Forward-facing Car Seat Law

The situation with forward-facing car seats is the same as with rear-facing; we should check the federal recommendations. These imply that kids can move to forward-facing car seats once they turn one, but they should not.

You should upgrade to this system only when your child can no longer fit the previous restraint system.

Keep the in forward-facing car seats until they are too tall or too heavy for them, then you can move to the booster seats

NHTSA says the ideal time for this switch is seven years of age.

North Carolina Booster Seat Law

north carolina safety seat laws

Children are allowed to sit in a booster seat once they are four, but this is not recommended. 

You should try to keep your little one in a forward-facing car seat until he/she outgrows the limits set by the manufacturer, and only then upgrade to a booster seat.

North Carolina Seat Belt Law

According to the North Carolina Child Passenger Law Law, once your kid is 80 pounds in weight or eighth years old, you can secure him/her using a seat belt only. 

According to the North Carolina Seat Belt Law, all passengers must wear a seat belt.

When Can My Child Move to the Front Seat? 

According to the North Carolina Car Seat Law, children younger than five and less than forty pounds heavy must be secured in the back seat. However, official recommendations say you should not let your child sit in the front seat until 12 or 13.

Also, if there is no sitting position with a shoulder and lap belt available in your car, a child between 40 and 80 pounds of weight, less than eight years of age, can be secured in the back seat, using a lap belt only.

The Penalties

According to the North Carolina Car Seat Laws, you will be charged a $25 fee for violating the provisions stated above.

However, if you acquire a proper child restraint system and prove the possession to the court, you can be freed of charge.

Exceptions

north carolina children's car seat laws

Ambulances and other emergency cars are exempt from the North Carolina cars eat laws and cars that are not required to include safety belts. On the other hand, taxis are required to follow the law, so pay attention to this when staying in North Carolina.

For additional information on how to use a car seat in a taxi, and other tips and tricks regarding the matter, read this comprehensive article of ours:

https://www.800bucklup.org/taxis-car-seats/

How Safe is the Official North Carolina Car Seat Law?

The question of safety that official car seat state laws grant for the kids is open to debate. Compared to other states' car seat laws, North Carolina does not have a rigorous legislative system. 

First of all, children are officially obligated to sit in the back seat until only five. This is extremely dangerous; children should be secured in the back seat until they are at least twelve years old.

Secondly, the penalty of $25 is very low, plus it does not get higher if more than one kid is not adequately restrained in a vehicle. I believe the penalties should be higher to increase the level of responsibility among drivers.

At the same time, the fact that taxis are required to follow the regulations is very promising and allows a higher level of safety for children passengers than other states.

Car Seat Checkpoints in North Carolina

north carolina booster seat requirements

As you probably know, there are fitting stations all around the US, where parents can go to get their car seats inspected for free. What do they accomplish doing so? 

Well, according to statistics, most of the car seats are not installed correctly

This affects the aspect of safety, which is the reason why we install car seats in the first place. Hence, in these fitting stations, CPS technicians can do a detailed inspection of your car and car seat to make sure that it is installed correctly

You can also get advice on improving children's safety in vehicles and how to behave in traffic when driving kids.

Here are the spots and stations where you can find a CPS Technician in North Carolina:

Make sure to register your car seat so that you can stay updated.

Additional Information

For some useful tips and tricks on children's safety in vehicles and traffic, we found these simple yet valuable videos:

Additionally, if you're interested in becoming a CPS technician, here is one super-useful article of ours with all the details on programs available and ways to prepare for them:

https://www.800bucklup.org/technicians/

Final Thoughts

I hope we managed to stress enough how important the use of federally approved child restraint systems is for your kid.

Following North Carolina car seat laws and regulations is essential but don't forget to follow pediatricians and NHTSA's official recommendations before you comply with state laws. 

After all, they are the official recommendations that will provenly protect your kid if anything unexpected happens on the road.

That was all, make safety your priority, and hit the road, Jack!

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

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