I have a 7 year old daughter who weighs 38.5lbs and is 3'7" tall. I have been verifying car seat laws before we travel for my 3 daughters. We will be driving through South Carolina but the laws I have seen don't seem to clearly apply to my 7 year old. Everywhere else we are travelling allows higher ages for car seat uses when the children are within the proper weight and height range. She is currently in a forward-facing car seat and I would like to keep it that way but the laws in South Carolina have very specific ages and weight requirements with no in betweens.
Does anybody know if I will legally be able to keep her in her forward-facing car seat? If not what should I use???
I've copied the laws below.
CHILD PASSENGER RESTRAINT SYSTEM
SECTION 56-5-6410. Child passenger restraint systems; age and weight as basis for required restraining system; standards.
Every driver of a motor vehicle (passenger car, pickup truck, van, or recreational vehicle) operated on the highways and streets of this State when transporting a child five years of age or younger upon the public streets and highways of the State must provide an appropriate child passenger restraint system and must secure the child as follows:
(1) A child from birth up to one year of age or who weighs less than twenty pounds must be properly secured in a rear-facing child safety seat which meets the standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
(2) A child who is at least one year of age but less than six years of age and who weighs at least twenty pounds but less than forty pounds must be secured in a forward-facing child safety seat provided in the motor vehicle which meets the standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
(3) A child who is at least one year of age but less than six years of age and who weighs at least forty pounds but not more than eighty pounds must be secured by a belt-positioning booster seat. The belt-positioning booster seat must be used with both lap and shoulder belts. A booster seat must not be used with a lap belt alone.
(4) If a child is at least one year of age but less than six years of age and weighs more than eighty pounds, the child may be restrained in an adult safety belt. If a child less than six years of age can sit with his back straight against the vehicle seat back cushion, with his knees bent over the vehicle's seat edge without slouching, the child may be seated in the regular back seat and secured by an adult safety belt.
(5) A child who is less than six years of age must not occupy a front passenger seat of a motor vehicle. This restriction does not apply if the motor vehicle does not have rear passenger seats or if all rear passenger seats are occupied by other children less than six years of age.
Any child restraint system of a type sufficient to meet the physical standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the time of its manufacture is sufficient to meet the requirements of this article.