The state of North Carolina has a history of the highest car accidents, in which the majority were children below 14 years of age.
North Carolina car seat laws and child restraining in car seats are made obligatory to reduce the number of deaths and fatal injuries in car crashes.
Keep reading to know more about the North Carolina child seat laws by age of your child to make sure that you and your child would not come under those figures.
North Carolina Car Seat Laws 2022
Baby car seats are designed to make sure the safety and comfort of children while traveling by road or by air.
There are a few laws and regulations that are associated with those car seats for their proper and accurate use.
In the state of North Carolina,
“It is mandatory for the parents to properly restrain their child in a suitable car seat until at least 12 years”
After 12 years of age, the child would be grown enough to use the vehicle seat belt.
According to NHTSA figures, children restrained in a car seat have 54% less chance of receiving fatal injuries from car accidents.
Let’s discuss in detail the North Carolina child car seat laws by different car seat ages and stages.
1. North Carolina Car Seat Laws for Rear-Facing Child
A rear-facing car seat is the first car seat that you will experience, and your child would use.
Being a resident of North Carolina, you must know the law for rear-facing car seats there.
Under North Carolina car seat laws for rear-facing children:
“The drivers and parents need to restraint the child in a weight-appropriate and rear-facing car seat until at least 1 year”
The infant car seat height limit may vary among brands but generally lies between 12-35 inches.
It means that a rear-facing car seat can be used for 4 years, and it is the same age that is recommended by NHTSA and CPSTs for the transition from rear to forward-facing car seats.
2. North Carolina Car Seat Laws for Forward-Facing Child
For North Carolina parents, the most appropriate age for transition is 2+ years, as described under North Carolina car seat laws 2022:
“When a child outgrows the age (2+ years), weight (30+ lbs.), and height (25+ inches) limit for the rear-facing car seat as recommended by the car seat manufacturers, they are allowed to sit and ride in forward-facing car seats”
Rear Facing vs Forward Facing Statistics show that a child in the rear-facing car seat is less likely (96%) to get fatal injuries compared to a forward-facing child.
Moreover, extended rear-facing would save your child from the following life-threatening injuries:
When to upgrade from infant car seat is the hottest topic of argument among parents.
3. North Carolina Booster Seat Laws 2022
Under North Carolina booster seat laws:
“A child of four years old is allowed to sit in a booster car seat”
The official booster seat age in North Carolina car seat laws is 4 years. However, it is not recommended as safe by car seat safety experts.
NHTSA and AAP advised that a child above 6 years, 60 lbs., and 49 inches in height would be allowed to sit in a booster car seat.
Booster car seats are of two types: high-back and backless booster seats, and both have different age, weight, and height requirements as given below:
|Car Seat Requirements||High-Back Booster Car Seat||Backless Booster Car Seat|
|Age limit||4-8+ years||10-12 years
|Weight limit||40-110 lbs.
|57ʺ and above
Booster Car Seat Requirements in North Carolina:
- Children under 8 years must be secured with lap and shoulder belts in a booster car seat
- The correct position for the shoulder belt is through the middle of the child’s chest and shoulder and off the neck
- The correct position for the lap belt is low on the child’s upper thighs
Note: If your vehicle has a lap belt only on the back seat, you should buy a booster car seat that has a harness and high-weight limits
- High-back booster car seats will be used in vehicles with low-back seats or without headrests.
- Do not reline a booster car seat when installed without a latch system
Related -> How to install a car seat without latch system?
4. North Carolina Seat Belt Laws 2022
Seat belt law in North Carolina states that:
“When a child outgrows the age (12+ years), weight (120+ lbs.), and height (4ft. 9ʺ) of booster car seats and the vehicle seat belt fits them snugly, will be allowed to wear vehicle seat belt”
Related -> Car Seat Weight Chart
Baby Car Seats for North Carolina Parents
We have collected a comprehensive video for parents new to parenting and experiencing car seats for the first time.
Besides following and having knowledge of North Carolina car seat laws, you may ignore a few basic things and could put your child’s life in danger.
We have listed a few very important rules to abide by the parents and drivers to make sure that children traveling with them would remain safe.
1. Can I smoke in the car with a child in North Carolina?
There is no law in the North Carolina child seat law defining the right or wrong of smoking in front of children.
However, it is an extremely wrong practice to force your child to passive smoke. According to AAP and NHTSA institutions, it is prohibited to smoke around children between and below 6-18 years.
In some states of the US, there are penalties for violating the law that prohibits smoking in front of children.
Cigarette smoke contains numerous cancerous chemicals that can cause respiratory problems in children, and long-term exposure may cause cancer.
2. Car Seat Replacements after Accidents in North Carolina
North Carolina car seat laws don’t cover car seat replacement needs after an accident.
However, the child passenger safety technicians mark it illegal and unsafe to use a car seat after an accident without being checked by a safety technician.
3. When can my child sit in the front seat in North Carolina?
There is no certain statement in the North Carolina car seat laws defining the age, weight, or height of a child to sit in the front passenger seat.
However, we can follow the instructions given by NHTSA, that is, “a child below 13 years of age cannot be allowed to sit in the front passenger seat because of safety issues”.
Note: If you do not have any option except the front seat, make sure that the airbag is not active for children below 12 years and it is active for children above 13.
4. North Carolina car seat laws for taxi and rented vehicles
According to North Carolina car seat laws:
“Public transport, including taxis, are required to follow the North Carolina child seat laws”
The reason for not exempting taxis and other rented vehicles from car seat laws is that they are equally susceptible to road accidents as your car will be.
5. Is it illegal to use an expired car seat in North Carolina?
There are no specific car seat laws in North Carolina defining the legality of using an expired or damaged car seat.
However, NHTSA and CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technicians) define it as unsafe to use an expired car seat even if it doesn’t have any visible damage.
Relevant -> Why Do Car Seats Have Expiration Dates?
If you find out your car seat has expired, then you must be interested to know what to do with old car seats.
Child Safety Centers in North Carolina
If you are planning to visit North Carolina with children or want to get training on how to use car seats, you can contact the following help centers situated in North Carolina:
- NHTSA car seat inspection Center
- Wilson Car Seat Installation
- Local North Carolina CPS Contacts
- Triangle, North Carolina, Seat Installation
- Durham County Car Seat Installation Stations
- CPS Technician Search: Find a CPS Technician
- Lincolnton Child Safety Seat Inspections
- Burlington Child Passenger Safety
- Safe Kids North Carolina Stations
- Town of Carrboro Car Seat Checking
- Western North Carolina Safe Kids Coalitions
- Greensboro Child Safety Seat Inspection
- Fuquay-Varina Child Safety Seat Inspection Program
- Town of Knightdale Car Seat Installation Training
Winding up our discussion here, we hope that you have picked out the North Carolina car seat laws according to the age of your child.
If you cannot afford a car seat for your child, you can borrow it by applying to the following free car seat programs:
You can also trade in your child’s old, expired, or damaged car seat in the coming car seat trading events:
Keep visiting our website www.topbabyseats.com to stay updated on similar topics.