South Dakota Car Seat Laws in 2022

Editor’s note: This article was updated in 2022 to link a more appropriate section of the relevant statute.

In South Dakota law, a child under five years old and weighing under forty pounds must be properly secured in a child passenger restraint system meeting Department of Transportation safety standards and according to manufacturer’s instructions when being transported in a passenger vehicle on South Dakota’s streets and highways. A child under five years old and weighing at least forty pounds may be secured in a seat belt when being transported in a passenger vehicle on South Dakota’s streets and highways.

A child between five and seventeen years old must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system, required to be installed in the vehicle if manufactured pursuant to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, when being transported in a passenger vehicle operated on South Dakota’s public streets or highways at all times when the vehicle is in motion.

A child between fourteen and eighteen years old must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system, required to be installed in the vehicle if manufactured pursuant to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, when operating a passenger vehicle on South Dakota’s public streets or highways at all times when the vehicle is in motion.

Babies and Children Up to Four Years Old and Under Forty Pounds

A child under five years old and weighing under forty pounds must be properly secured in a child passenger restraint system meeting Department of Transportation safety standards and according to manufacturer’s instructions when being transported in a passenger vehicle on South Dakota’s streets and highways.

Babies and Children Up to Four Years Old and At Least Forty Pounds

A child under five years old and weighing at least forty pounds may be secured in a seat belt when being transported in a passenger vehicle on South Dakota’s streets and highways.

Children Five to Eighteen Years Old

A child between five and eighteen years old must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system, required to be installed in the vehicle if manufactured pursuant to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, when being transported in a passenger vehicle operated on South Dakota’s public streets or highways at all times when the vehicle is in motion.

Children Fourteen to Eighteen Years Old Operating a Passenger Vehicle

A child between fourteen and eighteen years old must wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system, required to be installed in the vehicle if manufactured pursuant to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, when operating a passenger vehicle on South Dakota’s public streets or highways at all times when the vehicle is in motion.

Penalties for Violations

A violation of South Dakota’s child passenger restraint system law is a petty offense. You may be ordered to pay a judgment amount of $25.00. No costs will be assessed.

Exemptions

Your child may be exempt from South Dakota’s child passenger restraint system law if he or she is being transported in a passenger car manufactured before 1966 that has not been equipped with seat belts.

FAQ

What are South Dakota’s booster seat guidelines?

South Dakota car seat laws do not specify any guidelines for using a booster seat. The law states that children under five years old who weigh under forty pounds must ride in a child passenger restraint system. The child restraint must be properly secured and meet the Department of Transportation safety standards. The child passenger restraint system must also be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

What do South Dakota car seat laws say about forward-facing car seats?

South Dakota law does not have any provisions for when to use a forward-facing car seat. Consult your child passenger restraint system’s height and weight ratings when securing your child for transport in South Dakota.

When can a child sit in the front seat in South Dakota?

South Dakota seat belt laws do not explicitly state when a child may ride in the front seat. The South Dakota Safety Council recommends that children who are twelve years old and younger should always ride in the back seat. It also recommends that minors who do ride in the front seat should properly wear their seat belt and move their seats as far back as they will go to protect them from injury from a deployed airbag.

* Ms. Blake is licensed in the state of Maryland. The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Attorney Denise A. Blake*

Denise practices family law at Blake Law, LLC in Westminster, Maryland. She holds a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Family Law from the University of Baltimore School of Law.