North Carolina Car Seat Laws

child on a car seat

Our children are our most precious cargo. We want to ensure they remain safe and secure while traveling in a vehicle. Accidents can happen at any time – especially in North Carolina, where approximately 677 accidents occur every day. That’s why North Carolina lawmakers passed the Child Passenger Protection Law in 1982 and have amended it multiple times since then. 

To learn more about car seat laws in North Carolina and what to do with a car seat after an accident, contact us today for a free consultation.

What Are the Laws for Car Seats in North Carolina?

According to North Carolina law, a child under the age of eight and less than 80 pounds must be properly secured in a weight-appropriate car seat. A child under the age of five and less than 40 pounds must be properly secured in a rear seat in vehicles with an active passenger-side front airbag.

The law does not specify which type of car seat a child must use at certain ages or weights. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following:

  • For birth to 12 months – Infant-only rear-facing car seat
  • Ages 1 to 3 years – Rear-facing car seat until the child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer, then transition to a forward-facing car seat
  • Ages 4 to 7 years – Forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until the child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer, then transition to a booster seat
  • Ages 8 to 12 years – A child should remain in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly

Child Car Seat Infographic banner

Do You Need to Change Your Car Seat After an Accident?

The NHTSA recommends replacing a car seat following a moderate or severe crash to ensure it can continue to provide your child with high-level crash protection. They also advise following your car seat manufacturer’s recommendations.

You do not need to replace a car seat after a minor crash. But you must carefully evaluate whether the collision was minor. A crash must meet all of the following criteria to be considered minor:

  • No passengers sustained any injuries in the crash.
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat.
  • You were able to drive the vehicle away from the crash site.
  • The door closest to the car seat wasn’t damaged.
  • The vehicle’s airbags did not deploy in the crash.

What to Do with Your Car Seat After an Accident

First and foremost, you must replace a car seat after a moderate or severe car accident. Once you have replaced it, you may be able to recycle your old car seat. Many car seat manufacturers or retailers offer car seat recycling. Or you can utilize Car Seat Recycling, a nationwide program aimed at reducing the amount of material that ends up in landfills. 

Talk to Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Durham, NC Today

If you or your family were injured in a car accident in Durham, the experienced accident attorneys at Kreger Brodish LLP could help you deal with the aftermath. We can help you pursue the at-fault driver for the compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries. Contact Kreger Brodish LLP today to speak with one of our Durham car accident attorneys.

Child Car Seat Infographic
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