Child Restraint Seat

Child Restraint Seat
Effective January 1, 2005, all children younger than 16 years of age must be properly restrained in a child restraint seat, booster seat, or safety belt, no matter where in a vehicle they may be seated.

Weight & Age Requirements
A properly used Child Restraint Device (CRD) is required if the child is younger than 8 years old AND weighs less than 80 pounds. Most parents and other care givers will be able to comply with this rule by using belt positioning booster seats for children between 40 and 80 pounds.

The child must be within the weight range for the child restraint / booster seat and the seat must meet Federal standards in effect at the time of its manufacture.

Children may be secured in a properly fitted seat belt when they reach age 8 (regardless of the child’s weight) or 80 pounds (regardless of the child’s age.)

Note: It is both dangerous and illegal to place the shoulder belt under a child’s (or adult’s) arm. Always use an approved belt-positioning device to ensure both proper placement and safety.

Lap Belt
If a vehicle has no seating position with both a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure a belt positioning booster seat, a child weighing at least 40 pounds may be restrained by a properly fitted lap belt only.

Waring: Belt-positioning booster seats can only be used with a combination lap and shoulder safety belt. They should never be used with just a lap belt!

For more information, see buckle up North Carolina in the “Choosing and Using” section for additional information on booster seats and safer alternatives for seating positions equipped with a lap belt only.

Position of Child Restraint Device in a Vehicle
If the child is younger than age 5, and weighs less than 40 pounds, and the vehicle has a passenger side air bag and a rear seat, the Child Restraint Device must be installed in the rear seat.

Exception: If the Child Restraint Device is designed for use with air bags, it may be installed in the front seat.

The law applies to all passenger vehicles, whether registered in North Carolina or another state. The driver is responsible for the proper restraint of all children in the vehicle, regardless of his or her relationship with any of the children.
Rear-Facing, Forward-Facing, Booster, and Seat Belt Car Seats