NC Child Passenger Safety Law - G.S. 20-137.1
Summary of law
» Children less than age 16 in front or back seats are covered under the
NC Child Passenger Safety law.
» Drivers and passengers 16 years
old and older are covered by the NC Seat Belt Law.
» All vehicles required by federal standards to have seat belts are
covered. In general, these are cars made after 1967, light trucks and vans
made after 1971, and large buses including school and municipal buses.
» A properly used child restraint device (CRD) is required if the child is
less than 8 years old AND weighs less than 80 pounds. Most parents and
other care givers will be able to comply 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 it must meet Federal
standards in effect at time of manufacture.
» Children may be secured in a
properly fitted seat belt at age 8 (regardless of weight) OR at 80 pounds
(regardless of age) - whichever comes first. Placing the shoulder belt
under a child’s (or adult’s) arm or behind the back is both dangerous and
» If no seating position equipped
with a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure a belt positioning booster
seat is available, a child who weighs at least 40 pounds may be restrained
by a properly fitted lap belt only. WARNING: Belt-positioning
booster seats can only be used with lap and shoulder combination safety
belts. Belt-positioning booster seats must NEVER be used with just a lap
Refer to "
What are Options for Children over 40 pounds? in the "Choosing and
Using" section for additional information on booster seats and safer
alternatives for lap-belt-only seating positions.
Position in Vehicle:
» The CRD must be installed in the rear seat if the child is less than age
5 and 40 lbs.and if the vehicle has a passenger side air bag and a rear
» Front seat installation is allowed if the CRD is designed for use with
» Vehicles not required to have belts (such as cars made before 1968 and
pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans made before 1972, and large buses)
» Ambulances and other emergency vehicles
» If all seating positions with belts are occupied
*NOTE: Recently enacted
legislation will remove the "personal needs" exemption effective as of
June 1, 2007.
» Driver responsible for all children less than sixteen
» Penalty not to exceed $25
» Full court costs apply (currently $120)
» Two (2) driver license points
» No insurance points
» No conviction if the child is less than 8 years old and proof is
presented at trial that an appropriate CRD/Booster seat has been acquired
for a vehicle in which the child is normally transported since the