South Dakota Car Seat Laws 2022 (Rear, Forward & Booster)

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As per South Dakota car seat laws, a child passenger under 5 years of age must be secured in an appropriate child safety restraint system according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A child who is younger than 5 years but weighs at least 40 pounds can be secured in a seatbelt. 

Disclaimer: The content in this article does not, in any manner, constitute legal advice. It is solely for the purpose of providing information. The law is amended from time to time and the information in this article may not always be up to date. We recommend you check the original source of the law.

South Dakota Car Seat Laws

South Dakota Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

There is no specific rear-facing car seat law in South Dakota. Under the child seat requirements in South Dakota, all children younger than 5 years and weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured in a child restraint system. (1) The system must be installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. 

The rear-facing car seat age in South Dakota is not legally specified. The South Dakota Department of Public Safety (SD DPS) recommends that children should stay in an infant rear-facing car seat till at least age 2. (2)

Most convertible seats can accommodate children to ride rear-facing even after they are 2 years old. They can use such seats till they outgrow its upper height and weight limits. 

Though there is no South Dakota rear-facing child seat law, a violation of the general car seat law carries a penalty of $25. 

Age: Below 5 years (Recommended: Newborn to 2 years)
Weight: Less than 40 pounds
Penalty: $25 

South Dakota Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

There is no express forward-facing car seat law in South Dakota. But all children under 5 years of age must be retrained in an appropriate child safety restraint. (1) It must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

The law does not expressly mention when to put a child in a forward-facing seat. Though the forward-facing car seat age in South Dakota is unclear, you can refer to the Department of Social Services (SD DSS). It recommends using a forward-facing seat with a harness once your child has outgrown the height and weight limits of the rear-facing seat. (3) 

Though there is no South Dakota forward-facing child seat law, disobeying the general car seat law carries a penalty of $25. The driver will be responsible for the offense. 

Age: Below 5 years
Weight: Less than 40 pounds
Penalty: $25

South Dakota Booster Seat Law

There is no definite child booster seat law in South Dakota. Under the general South Dakota state law on motor vehicles, all children younger than 5 years old and weighing less than 40 pounds must be restrained in an appropriate, federally approved car seat. (1)

The SD DPS recommends that children aged 8 through 12 years be secured in a booster seat. (2) It should be appropriate for the child’s height and weight. 

Since there are no strict South Dakota booster seat requirements, you can choose a seat that best suits your requirements. It can be a high back or backless booster seat. 

The booster seat age in South Dakota is unclear. But children should sit in booster seats till the regular seat belt fits them properly. Not having a proper car seat will result in a fine of $25. 

Age: Recommended: 8 to 12 years
Weight: Less than 40 pounds
Penalty: $25

South Dakota Child Front Seat Law

The child front seat law in South Dakota is unclear. The car seat laws in South Dakota do not mention any seat preference. They simply state that children younger than 5 years and weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured in a child safety restraint. 

The front seat age in South Dakota is absent. In such a case, it is best to follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It recommends that kids ride in the backseat at least till they turn 13 years old. The same is reiterated by the SD DSS as it is safer in the backseat. (3) 

If at all they have to ride in the front seat, they must be secured in a child safety system that meets their height and weight requirements. 

Weight: 40+ pounds

South Dakota Child Seat Belt Law

According to the child seat belt law in South Dakota, children between the ages of 5 and 18 years must wear seat belts. (1) This does not apply to passenger vehicles that were manufactured before 1966 and do not have seat belts. 

Under the seat belt rules in South Dakota, every operator and front seat passenger must wear a fastened adult safety belt. The driver has to properly secure a child passenger between 5 to 18 years of age riding in the front or the backseat. There are some exceptions to these requirements.

A person with a medical condition and certain vehicles such as those manufactured before September 1, 1973, a rural UPS mail/newspaper carrier and those legally not required to have seat belts are exempt. (4)

Not wearing a seat belt is a violation of South Dakota children’s seat belt law. The driver will be fined $25.

Age: 5 to 18 years
Weight: 40+ pounds 
Penalty: $25

South Dakota Taxi Child Seat Law

There is no definite taxi child seat law in South Dakota. But taxis are passenger vehicles and all passenger vehicles have to carry an appropriate car seat. The only vehicles exempt are a passenger bus or school bus.

We can imply that taxis are not exempt from the South Dakota child seat laws. The driver is required to have a federally approved car seat for a child passenger under 5 years old and weighing less than 40 pounds. (1)

A taxi child seat in South Dakota must meet the federal safety standards. It must be installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. The driver should have an appropriate car seat or the caregivers can carry one.

A violation of the law will be considered a petty offense and the driver will be penalized $25.

South Dakota Ridesharing Child Seat Law

The ridesharing child seat law in South Dakota is unclear. As per the South Dakota car seat regulations, a child under age of 5 years and weighing less than 40 pounds must be secured in a child seat. Those children aged 5 to 18 years and weighing more than 40 pounds can wear the seat belt if it fits them properly. (1) 

The law does not mention ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. But since these are passenger vehicles, one can argue that they should have a car seat. In such ambiguous cases, it is best for either the driver or the parent/caregivers to provide an appropriate car seat that meets federal safety standards. 

If the child passenger is not restrained properly, the driver may be penalized $25. Thus, it is safe to carry a child seat in ridesharing cabs.  

South Dakota Child Seat Replacement Law

There is no child seat replacement law in South Dakota. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends child seat replacement after an accident.

This must be undertaken immediately if your vehicle is involved in  a moderate or severe accident in South Dakota. This is because the car seat may have sustained structural defects that are not easily visible. 

There is no requirement to replace the child safety seat after a low-impact accident. In such a crash, no passenger sustains injuries, the airbags don’t deploy, there is no damage to the car seat and the vehicle could be driven away from the crash site.

Apart from an accident, you must also replace the car seat after it has expired or your child has outgrown it. 

Leaving Child in The Car in South Dakota

There is no definite law on leaving a child in a vehicle in South Dakota. However, it is not advised to leave your child alone in the vehicle even for a minute. The AAP has highlighted the dangers of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.

The most common risk of them suffering a heat stroke due to the rapid temperature rise in the car. It can cause severe brain injury or even death. Other dangers include getting kidnapped or trapped in the vehicle or setting the vehicle in motion.

Even though leaving a child in a car in South Dakota is not technically illegal, it is a dangerous practice. If the child is injured, the adult responsible for the act can face serious legal consequences.

Choosing a Child Car Seat in South Dakota

When choosing a car seat in South Dakota, you can refer to the Child Safety Seat Distribution Program of the SD DSS for the best car seat to use in South Dakota. (3) 

Children younger than 1 year must ride in a rear-facing infant seat. Once they outgrow it, you can place them in a forward-facing seat with a harness. 

Young children aged 8 to 12 should be secured in a booster seat with lap and shoulder belts. You can either choose a backless or a high-back booster seat to protect the child’s head. A versatile all-in-one seat may be the best booster seat to use in South Dakota. 

Car Seat Installation Help in South Dakota

It is important to install child passenger safety seats in South Dakota according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Car seat installation can be difficult, especially if you have not done it before.

Even if you have installed the seat, you should get it inspected by a certified child passenger safety (CPS) technician. Following are some of the stations where you can get it checked:

South Dakota Car Seat Safety Resources

FAQ

How long should a child ride in a rear-facing car seat in South Dakota?

There is no legal age. But the Department of Public Safety recommends that a child should ride rear-facing till they are at least 2 years old.

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in South Dakota?

The law doesn’t say anything. You can put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat but the front passenger side airbag must be deactivated.

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat in South Dakota?

The law is silent. But the AAP states that you can put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat only if it fits properly. 

When can a baby face forward in a car seat in South Dakota?

There is no specific age. But a baby can face forward in a car seat after they have outgrown the upper height and weight limits of their rear-facing seat. 

How old for a booster seat in South Dakota?

There is no particular age stated in the law. But a child can use a booster seat once they have outgrown their forward-facing car seat. 

When to use a backless booster seat in South Dakota?

You can use a backless booster seat if your vehicle seat has a headrest and the child’s ears are not higher than the seat back. 

When can a child sit in the front seat in South Dakota?

There is nothing mentioned in the law. But the AAP and the DSS both recommend that children younger than 13 years should ride in the backseat.

When can a child sit in the front seat with a booster in South Dakota?

Children in booster seats can ride in the front seat if the seat belt is properly secured around their lap and shoulders in the booster. 

When can a child stop using a booster seat in South Dakota?

The DPS recommends that children stop using a booster seat after they have outgrown it and can properly wear the seatbelt. This usually occurs between 8 to 12 years of age. 

When to switch from 5 point harness to a seat belt in South Dakota?

The ideal time is when the child outgrows the 5-point harness in a forward-facing seat. They can then switch to wearing a seatbelt in a booster seat. 

When can a child use a regular seat belt in South Dakota?

A child can use a regular seat belt once they are 5 years old or weigh more than 40 pounds. Ideally, they should wear it when it fits them properly.

Do you need a car seat in a taxi in South Dakota?

Yes, you need a car seat in a taxi in South Dakota. The driver should carry it. The caregiver should check before traveling with a child in a taxi.

Do you need a car seat in a Uber in South Dakota?

The law is unclear. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide a federally approved and appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety. 

Do you need a car seat in a Lyft in South Dakota?

The law does not say anything. But it is better for the caregiver or driver to provide an appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety.

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