The South Dakota Car Seat Law has very minimal requirements. It states that children under 5 must ride in a correctly installed child safety seat appropriate for their age and weight according to the seat manufacturer. If a child under 5 years old weighs at least 40 pounds, he or she may ride using just a seat belt. All kids under 18 are required to buckle up.
The law does also state that the child’s “safety seat belt system” must be “properly adjusted and fastened”. Safety experts say an adult seat belt fits properly when a kid can sit all the way back with their knees bending at the seat front, without slouching. The lap belt should cross a child’s hips and thighs, not their stomach. A shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder (avoiding the neck) and across the chest. An adult seat belt usually fits properly when a kid reaches about 4′-9″ (57″) tall.
Safety experts recommend using a booster seat after your child outgrows his or her car seat and until he or she reaches 4′-9″.
Check out the links below for more details on the law in South Dakota and safety recommendations.
State Resources for South Dakota Car Seat Law
South Dakota Legislature – Chapter 32-37 – This is the South Dakota law as written.
SD Department of Social Services – South Dakota car seat law description
South Dakota Department of Social Services – car seat distribution program
South Dakota Department of Public Safety – link to proper car seat use by age
National Resources for South Dakota Car Seat and Booster Seat Laws
nhtsa.gov – U.S. Department of Transportation / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website
safercar.gov – Also known as Parents Central, this is the child safety section of the safercar.gov website, published through the NHTSA. This is an awesome info packed site, so if you have general questions, definitely stop here.
iihs.org – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, child safety page
safekids.org – A global organization all about keeping kids safe, especially from preventable injuries or fatalities. Their site includes tips on car seat choice and car seat inspection events, among other things.