South Dakota Car Seat Laws: How to Be a Responsible Parent

According to the annual traffic crash report, there have been 20.391 car crashes in South Dakota in 2019 solely.

Moreover, children under sixteen suffer the most severe consequences of these crashes and frequently a fatal result.

Therefore, South Dakota has started a serious program to improve the children’s safety in traffic, providing free car seats to families in need.

If you’re staying in South Dakota for a while or perhaps live there, you should get familiar with the South Dakota car seat laws, learn what child restraint system you should acquire, and get a free car seat if you cannot afford one.

All about it, and more, you can find in the comprehensive article down below, where provisions and legal matters are explained in a simple way.

Don’t miss this!

South Dakota Car Seat Law

south dakota car seat laws 2022

According to the South Dakota Car Seat Law, all children under seventeen must be properly buckled up.

On the other hand, all children under five years of age and forty pounds of weight need to be secured in a federally approved child restraint system.

The violation of the law counts as a primary offense; drivers can be stopped and charged for violating this law solely, without any other crimes.

1. South Dakota Rear-facing Car Seat Law

There are no specific requirements for the use of rear-facing child restraint systems in the South Dakota Car Seat Law.

They suggest referring to the manufacturer’s instruction for the most accurate information.

The federal recommendations suggest using the rear-facing restraint system for at least a year; however, you should keep your kid until he/she no longer fits the manufacturer’s weight and height limits.

2. South Dakota Forward-facing Car Seat Laws

car seat laws in south dakota

When it comes to the forward-facing car seats, the South Dakota Law does not specify anything.

Again it suggests referring to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Therefore, we will consult the official recommendations that advise parents not to upgrade their kids to forward-facing seats until they turn at least one year.

However, even though this is approved, it is not recommendable.

They should wait for the kids to outgrow the previous restraint system, which happens around three or four years.

3. South Dakota Booster Car Seat Law

Booster car seats are also not explicitly regulated in the South Dakota Car Seat Law.

The federal recommendations allow the transition to this restraint system at the age of four.

But you should keep your child in the forward-facing restraint system for as long as possible.

NHTSA advises parents to keep kids in the forward-facing seats until the age of seven, if possible.

4. South Dakota Seat Belts Law

south dakota child safety seat laws

According to the Dakota Safety Belt Law, all passengers in a vehicle must wear a safety belt from the age of five

The driver is responsible for restraining all passengers younger than eighteen.

The Penalties

The penalty for the violation of the provisions stated above includes a $25 fee.

The Exceptions

The South Dakota Car Seat Law does not refer to school buses and vehicles produced before 1996.

South Dakota Distribution Program

south dakota child car seat laws

There is a distribution program in South Dakota providing the families with low incomes with an appropriate child restraint system for the kids up to 4’9” in height.

You need to fulfill certain conditions and prove that you fall into the group of low-income families.

More about the program, you can learn on their page.


If you’re struggling with the installment, you should check the official NHTSA webpage where they have explained in detail how to install the child restraint systems correctly, plus they provided instructional videos to help you visualize how it should be done.

Fitting Stations

To make sure you installed the car seat correctly and safely for your little one, find the nearest CPS technician, using some of the search engines below:

NHTSA search engine

National CPS search engine

Unfortunately, SafeKids does not currently have a local coalition in South Dakota, so we could not find a fitting station there.

After you have your car seat inspected, don’t miss registering it on the official NHTSA web page to get all the manufacturer’s updates and potential recalls.

Additional Information

We selected a few educational videos that can help you better understand why child restraint systems are of vital importance for preventing injuries and fatal results in car crashes.

Make sure you learn how to protect your little one wherever you find yourself, including South Dakota and other US states.

Keeping children safe in crashes: Overview

General Car Seat Guide | Which Car Seat Do I Use Next?

Mayo Clinic Minute: Are you keeping your child as safe as possible?

Final Thoughts

That is all, folks!

We hope you found these safety tips and tricks useful, and the next time you stay in South Dakota, you will follow the official South Dakota car seat laws and secure your child in a car the best you can.

However, it is essential to mention that children should be safely secured in taxis and planes, as well, so you should go through some other articles we wrote related to the matter.

After all, children are the most valuable fortune we all have, and therefore we should provide a safe environment for them at all costs!

Travel safely!

Avatar of Kathy Warner

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

1 thought on “South Dakota Car Seat Laws: How to Be a Responsible Parent”

  1. Having a single cab pickup and a cargo van. How does the law regulate a child car seat being used when no back seat option exists?


Leave a Comment