What are the South Dakota Car Seat Laws?


Welcome to the South Dakota Car Seat Law Explained in Simple, Plain English!


You’ve come to the right place if you want to find out everything regarding car seat laws in South Dakota.


These car seat laws are not just to avoid fines but to keep your kids safe no matter what.

In a past life, I’ve used to be a paralegal, and now I have 3 beautiful and nice (when they are asleep) kids. So I’ve decided to look up the laws and translate those stale and dry text into something that’s easy to grasp even the most sleep-deprived parent.

By reading this article, you will find out exactly what you have to do in South Dakota, including booster seat rules, front and rear-facing and, of course, if you need a car seat with a taxi.

Let’s get started already!


By reading this article you agree that it’s for informational purposes and I can’t be held liable for the best advice ask the appropriate person.


South Dakota Booster Seat Law


Well, this one is a bit tricky to figure out. You have to do it for yourself. The law isn’t concrete with it.

The law states that below the age of 5, you have to use a federally approved car seat according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Above the age of 5, you can use the car seat belt if your child is 57” and weighs more than 40 pounds.

Even the law states that this isn’t the best option. So, in this case, I would use a booster seat from the age of 4 until they outgrow it simply because it’s safer than the naked seat belt.


South Dakota Rear-facing Car Seat Law

There’s no strict rule in South Dakota about rear-facing car seats. The only rule that applies is that below the age of 5, you need to use a car seat.

However, we all know that riding rear facing is the safest way for any child. So I highly recommend keeping your child in rear-facing mode at least 2 years of old. If you can keep them longer, that’s not a biggie.


South Dakota Forward-facing Car Seat Law

Again with South Dakota laws, you’re left to your own devices and car seat manufacturer’s recommendations.

My take on this is if your child is at least 2 years old and has outgrown the rear-facing car seat, then it’s ok to use a forward-facing car seat.

South Dakota Taxi Car Seat Law

In South Dakota, taxis are not exempt from the car seat law. This means that you either bring your own car seat or arrange it ahead of time. And by taxi, I would like to include ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.


When Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in South Dakota?

There’s no exact law for it. If the car seat manufacturer allows front seat installation, you can do it.

However, the South Dakota Department of Social Services highly recommends only letting a child of age 12 and above sit in the front seat.


South Dakota Car Seat Laws at a Glance

Car Seat Law (32-37-1)

Law: All kids under the age of 5 have to be secured by car seat, child restraint which is federally approved and used it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • This next part is quite weird, saying that if your child is above the age of 5 and weighs more than 40 pounds, then you can use the seat belt to secure them in the car. However, they backtrack and say that this is not the best practice, and typically, kids between the ages of 8 and 12 reach the required height for seat belt use which is 57 inches.
  • Kids who are between the ages of 5 and 18 must be secured with the vehicle’s seat belt.

Location in car: There are no specifications on where your child can sit and can’t

Taxi: Taxis in South Dakota are not exempt from the above laws.

RideSafer legal: Yes. The Ride Safer travel vest qualifies for children who are at least age 3 and 30 pounds.

Fines: $25

Seat Belt Law

  • Law: All passengers who are sitting in the front have to wear a seat belt.
  • Fine: $20; $25 for passenger younger than 18
  • RVs: This law is the same as the above one; all passengers sitting in the front of the RV have to wear a seat belt.


What is the law concerning Leaving kids in the Car in South Dakota?

There’s no such a law in South Dakota. However, I highly recommend not leaving your child unattended in the car because there are a lot of cases of death, and you never know when the police can charge you with child neglect.


Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in South Dakota?

There are no restrictions for smoking in a car while a child is riding along. However, I highly recommend waiting and avoiding smoking because second-hand smoking can cause death and serious illness.


Conclusions on South Dakota Car Seat Laws

We have reached the end of this article. I hope you have found what you’ve been looking for, plus I hope it was easy to understand. I did my best to use normal language and not some high and dry law talk.

If I happen to miss anything, let me know, and I will make corrections as soon as possible.

Maybe you can help me out by sharing this post so other parents can know exactly how to keep their kids safe and avoid fines in the process. Thank You!

Related article: Nevada car seat laws


Frequently Asked Questions:

When can a child stop using a booster seat in South Dakota?

There’s no exact law for booster seats in South Dakota. So if we go with general guidelines, then I would recommend keeping your child in a booster seat until the age of 8 or even 12 because they are safer than the seat belt.

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

There’s no exact law on when a child can sit in the front. However, according to the South Dakota Department of Social Services, your child should be at least 12 years old.

What’s the age and weight limit for car seats?

Typically age is less a factor with car seats instead of weight and height is the main measurement. All car seats have them listed on their product page.

How long should my kid stay in a booster seat?

In South Dakota, there’s no set law on how long a child should sit in a car seat, however, most government branches recommend anywhere from 8 years old up to 12 years old.

Who is a child passenger safety technician and what can they do?

A child passenger safety technician is a certified professional helps you choose the best child passenger restraint system, child safety seats  let it be a child safety seat, convertible car seat  or even booster seats. They can explain the laws in south dakota concerning child safety seats AKA car seat laws. Plus they can help you properly install any child safety seat (child car seat) or child restraint systems such as booster seats. Finally they can advise when can you leave the car seat behind and upgrade to a child restraint  such as safety belt or seat belts.

Btw this applies to all passenger vehicle transporting  kids. In case of a car seat violation it is fined according to laws in south dakota.

How can I get free car seats?

There’s a program that is providing child safety seats to families who can’t afford them you can look it up on the internet.

How long does a child have to ride in the back seat?

According to the law there’s no exact rule how long a child has to be in the back seat (rear seat). This means that with the proper child restraint anybody can sit in the front. However experts say that kids in a child restraint  should keep in the rear and only older than 13 years old should be in the front.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Brian Beasley

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!