This past May, the South Carolina legislature passed a new law regarding car seats. New research has shown that it is safer to have children under the age of 2 remain rear facing. This new law also effects children as old as 8. How does this new law affect you and your child’s safety?
An infant or child under 2 years of age must be properly secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system in a rear passenger seat of the vehicle until the child exceeds the height or weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the child passenger restraint system being used.
A child at least 2 years of age or a child under 2 years of age who has outgrown his rear-facing child passenger restraint system must be secured in a forward-facing child passenger restraint system with a harness in a rear-passenger seat of the vehicle until the child exceeds the highest height or weight requirements of the forward-facing child passenger restraint system.
A child at least 4 years of age who has outgrown his forward-facing child passenger restraint system must be secured by a belt-positioning booster seat in a rear seat of the vehicle until he can meet the height and fit requirements for an adult safety seat belt as described in item. The belt-positioning booster seat must be used with both lap and shoulder belts. A booster seat must not be used with a lap belt alone.
A child at least 8 years of age and at least 57 inches tall may be restrained by an adult safety seat belt if the child can be secured properly by an adult safety seat belt. A child is properly secured by an adult safety seat belt if: (a) the lap belt fits across the child's thighs and hips and not across the abdomen; (b) the shoulder belt crosses the center of the child's chest and not the neck; and (c) the child is able to sit with his back straight against the vehicle seat back cushion with his knees bent over the vehicle's seat edge without slouching.
For medical reasons that are substantiated with written documentation from the child's physician, advanced nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, a child who is unable to be transported in a standard child passenger safety restraint system may be transported in a standard child passenger safety restraint system designed for his medical needs.
As parents we all want to do the best that we can for our children. I urge you to read over the new statute and make the correct installations for your child’s safety seat. Also, if you are having trouble installing you child’s seat please find a local CPST to help you make sure that your child’s seat is installed properly. (http://cert.safekids.org/)