North Carolina Child Safety Seat Laws

By Melanie Fleury
child in the car image by Natalia Pavlova from

In North Carolina, Buckle Up N.C. is the program responsible for educating citizens about the law and recommendations for safety seats. For children, the child safety laws cover children up to the age of 16. Laws address age, weight, and position in the car.

Booster Seats

For children who are less than 8 years old and weighs less than 80 lbs., North Carolina requires they're in a booster seat. The booster seat must meet federal standards. The shoulder belt must be properly positioned, as putting it behind the child or under the arm is not acceptable. If there is no shoulder belt, the child can sit in a seat with only a lap belt as long as he is at least 40 lbs. Kids under 20 lbs. or the 1 year old must be in a rear-facing seat. Those between the ages 1 and 4 and weighing between 20 to 40 lbs. need to be in a five-point harness, forward-facing seat.


According to North Carolina child safety seat laws, the child restraint device must be in the rear of the car if the child is not yet 5 years old. If the car doesn't have a back seat, the seat can be placed in the front as long as airbags are disabled.


There are some exemptions to the North Carolina child safety seat laws. Cars made before the year of 1968 and larger vehicles, such as sport utility vehicles made before 1972, are exempt from the laws. Ambulances, as well as other emergency vehicles, are also exempt from the laws.

Fines and Penalties

Under North Carolina child safety seat laws, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for all children age 16 or younger. If the child isn't properly restrained, the fine is $25 or less per child. Court costs are $141. The license of the driver will also be charged two points for each offense. There are no points on the license for insurance purposes. In some cases, the charges may be overturned if the driver can prove that a child safety seat has been bought and installed since the violation has occurred.