As parents, we want to provide our children with the best possible start in life. When we have them buckled into a car seat, are we doing everything we can to keep them safe? Unfortunately, car seats are not designed to protect infants from injury or illness in every situation. If you need help determining what type of car seat is right for your child, here’s a guide that will explain the law and help you choose the safest option for your family.

South Dakota Car Seat Law

South Dakota Car Seat Laws

According to the safety seat law of South Dakota,

“Any operator of any passenger vehicle transporting a child under five years of age on the streets and highways of this state shall properly secure the child in a child passenger restraint system according to its manufacturer’s instructions.” 

South Dakota Car Seat Laws

Car Seat Safety Requirements in South Dakota

South Dakota’s child restraint rules are not extremely thorough. All children under the age of five are obliged by law to travel in a safety system that is age-appropriate and federally authorized. The law leaves it up to you to determine the appropriate car seat for your child. Safe Ride 4 Kids has an excellent guide on this subject.

South Dakota Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

South Dakota law makes no explicit standards for rear-facing seats, with the exception that children under the age of five must be restrained properly. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that children ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the manufacturer’s weight and height limits.

South Dakota Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

Once children outgrow the manufacturer-recommended rear-facing weight and height limits, they can move to forward-facing chairs with a harness. This often occurs between the ages of 2-4 years. Once the kid meets the applicable requirements, those who use convertible seats can convert them to forward-facing seats by turning them to face forward.

South Dakota Booster Seat Law

Children who exceed the forward-facing weight and height limits can ride in booster seats. Although South Dakota law requires children to graduate to safety belts at the age of five or when they weigh forty pounds, it is a good practice for children to continue using booster seats until they outgrow the manufacturer’s weight and height requirements or until they are large enough to fit in seat belts.

Requirements For Children To Use The Front Seat In South Dakota 

According to the South Dakota Department of Social Services, your child should ride in the rear seat until they reach the age of 12.

If you are confused about whether your child should use a booster seat or an adult seat belt only, this simple test will help you decide.

The Five-Step Seat Belt Fit Test:

  • Is the child able to sit all of the way back against the auto seat?
  • Are the child’s knees able to bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat?
  • Is the belt crossing over the shoulder between the neck and arm?
  • Is the lap belt as low as possible, with the thighs?
  • Is it possible for the child to remain in this position the whole journey?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your kid is not ready for an adult seat belt and still requires a booster seat to travel safely in the car. Boosters are popular with kids since they are more comfortable!

Taxi Car Seat Law In South Dakota 

South Dakota law is unclear on whether taxis are required to follow the child restraints law. but that doesn’t mean you should not use child safety seats in taxis.

When traveling with a baby, it is always recommended to bring your own car seat. This is because the taxi companies do not have enough resources to accommodate all the different types of car seats and there are some instances where they will not even provide you with a car seat. So when traveling in a taxi, make sure that you bring your own car seat.

South Dakota Car Seat Replacement Law After Accident

There is no law requiring car seats to be replaced. However, safety experts advocate replacing vehicle seats following a serious or moderate automobile accident. Seats, too, have expiration dates, so be sure to change yours when it does. According to the South Dakota Department of Social Services, reusing seats is not a smart idea. If you must use an older seat, ensure that you are familiar with its history. Avoid using it if it has been in a crash, is subject to a recall, is damaged, has expired, is missing instructions, or is missing some parts.

Law On Leaving A Child In A Car In South Dakota 

South Dakota presently does not have any regulations addressing the issue of leaving children in a car. We recommend that you never leave your child unattended in a vehicle for any period of time.

There are many dangers that can happen if you leave your child unattended in a car. The most obvious danger is that your child will get into hot temperatures and be dehydrated. Another danger would be that there may be toxic substances left by other people in the car, such as gas or drugs.

Finally, it’s important to remember that your vehicle can become hot enough to cause severe burns on your child’s skin if left for long periods of time.

Penalties For Violating South Dakota Car Seat Laws

A violation of South Dakota’s child safety seat law is a minor crime. You could be told to pay $25.00 in a court order. There will be no costs.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Sit in the Front Seat in South Dakota?

According to the South Dakota Department of Social Services, your child should ride in the rear seat until they reach the age of 12.

Is It Illegal to Smoke In A Car With A Child In South Dakota?

South Dakota has no regulations restricting smoking in a vehicle with child passengers. We do not suggest smoking in a vehicle with a child.

Smoking in a car with a child present can be hazardous to the health of both the child and the smoker.

The dangers include:

  • Increased carbon monoxide levels may lead to death.
  • The chemicals in cigarettes produce tar which is harmful to children’s lungs and bloodstream.
  • Smoking can cause anemia, dehydration, or malnutrition if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Child Passenger Safety Related Videos South Dakota 

Car Seat Safety Demonstration

Installing a Rear-facing Car Safety Seat

Car Seat Safety: Front-facing Install & Child Placement

Is it time to move from a booster to a seat belt?

USA Child Passenger Safety Laws by State


Click on your state on the map below to see your state’s car seat law

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