The North Carolina car seat law states that any child under the age of 8 AND under 80 pounds must ride in a child restraint (safety seat) recommended for their height and weight. If a child under age 8 has reached 80 pounds, he or she may ride using an adult seat belt. However, It is safest to keep kids in a child restraint or booster seat until they max out the height and weight limits set by the manufacturer.
North Carolina drivers and all passengers need to wear a seat belt. Shoulder belts should always be used, especially with booster seats. If there are no shoulder and lap belts in your vehicle, or if they are being used by smaller children, a child at least 40 pounds can legally use just a lap belt. Safety experts do not recommend this, though.
Check out the links below for additional information on North Carolina child restraint law and recommendations from safety experts.
State and Local Resources for North Carolina Car Seat Law
Buckle Up North Carolina – Info packed Frequently Asked Questions PDF, including car seat and booster seat laws, penalties, and best practices
North Carolina Department of Transportation – 2 page PDF on safety belt and child restraint laws, including car seat installation information
Buckle Up North Carolina has a very informative website which includes information regarding car seat, booster seat, and seat belt usage. Laws, FAQs, inspection station locations, and a phone number for additional information are also provided. English version Spanish version
National Resources for North Carolina Car Seat and Booster Seat Law
nhtsa.gov – U.S. Department of Transportation / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website
safercar.gov – The NHTSA publishes this site. Parents Central is the child safety section. This is a great info packed site, so if you have questions about almost anything related to car seats or booster seats, definitely check this one out.
iihs.org – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, child safety page
safekids.org – A global organization about keeping children safe, especially from preventable injuries or fatalities. Their site includes tips on car seat choice and car seat inspection events, among other things.