Keeping our young children safe when riding in passenger vehicles should be at the top of parents’ list of priorities, so it’s worth mentioning as a refresher to all drivers just what’s included in the Maryland car seat laws.

Our source for this information is the Maryland State Highway Administration website, so be sure to check it out for any late updates or changes.

Maryland Laws on Child Passenger Safety

Maryland’s transportation article #22-4122 (Child Restraints) is as follows:

Maryland’s current law, which was effective June 20, 2008, requires that all children under eight years old ride in an appropriate child restraint. The exception is if the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller or weighs more than 65 pounds.

Child restraint is defined as including car seats and booster seats and other federally approved safety devices.

In addition, every child who is aged eight to 16 years old who is not restrained in a car seat must be secured using the vehicle’s seat belts. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all children in the vehicle are correctly buckled up.

Maryland’s car seat and child passenger safety laws apply to in-state and out-of-state vehicles.

Information on Child Car Seats

The Maryland State Highway Administration website also contains information and photos of different types of car seats to help parents and caregivers determine which car seat is best for their particular child or children. The guidelines are basic: the best car seat for your child is the one that is appropriate for your child’s height, weight and age.

All infants should ride in rear-facing car seats until they are at least one year old and weigh 20 pounds.  Different types of child car seats include infant seats, convertible seats, three-in-one seats, combination seats, toddler seats, highback booster seats, backless booster seats, and built-in booster seats.

Also check out the Maryland Department of Health Family Health Administration site for a list of FAQs about children and car seats. Topics covered include how long a child should sit in a rear-facing car seat, how a rear-facing car seat protects the child, positioning infants in car seats, what to do for twins, and installing and using a rear-facing child seat. There are also questions and answers pertinent to forward-facing car seats and booster seats.

General information on best types of car seats to use, where to find out if your car seat has been recalled, where car seats can be installed, how long to use car seats, and other areas of concern to parents.

Other useful information, resources and links are available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) site, Safercar.gov. Definitely check out the NHTSA Child Safety Ease-of-Use Ratings, information on LATCH restraint system, registering your car seat to receive recall notifications, where to find car seat inspection stations, and more.

Remember, Maryland car seat laws apply to every person who transports children in the state, regardless of whether they are a state resident or not.

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