South Dakota’s Child Car Seat and Seatbelt Laws

South Dakota’s car seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

South Dakota requires all front-seat occupants and all passengers under 18 years old to use safety restraints. For children, this rule could require a child harness or seatbelt depending on the child's age or weight. This article outlines the requirements and penalties of South Dakota's car seat and seatbelt laws.

South Dakota's Car Seat and Seatbelt Requirements

The driver is responsible for ensuring all passengers are compliant with state safety laws.

Children Under 5 Years Old in South Dakota

Children less than five years old must be properly secured in a child passenger restraint system. Depending on the child's height and weight, a forward-facing harness, an infant seat, a booster seat, or a rear-facing harness might be required. A child who's younger than five years old but at least 40 pounds can be restrained by only a seatbelt.

Children Under 18 Years Old in South Dakota

Children who are at least five but younger than 18 years old must be properly restrained with a seatbelt.

South Dakota's Front Seat Seatbelt Requirement

South Dakota requires all drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seatbelts.

Exceptions to South Dakota's Seatbelt and Child Car Seat Laws

The standard seatbelt and car seat requirements generally do not apply to vehicles made prior to 1966 and to school buses. Rural letter carriers and persons holding a physician certification advising against seatbelt use are also exempt from the seatbelt requirements.

Fines for a Seatbelt or Car Seat Ticket in South Dakota

A car seat or seatbelt violation will result in a $25 penalty. A driver can be stopped for a car seat violation but a seatbelt violation is considered a secondary offense. Police can't pull someone over only for a secondary violation; there must be some other reason for the stop.

State Programs Related to Child Car Seats

South Dakota has laws and penalties to enforce child safety but also has programs to educate and encourage proper seat use. The Safety Seat Distribution program helps by providing child safety seats to families that meet certain income requirements. The Department of Social Services also recommends certain safety seats based on different age groups. These recommendations can help parents choose a car seat, but safety seats should always be used according to manufacturer instructions.

















Booster (Rear Seat)

Seat Belt (Rear Seat)

Seat Belt

More Information and Resources About Child Safety Restraints

For more information about child restraint systems, check the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control. It's also a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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