Car Seat Safety and Laws

Safety Facts about Child Passengers:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children older than the age of 2
  • A total of 1,210 children younger than age 15 died in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2010
  • The number of child passenger deaths has declined by half since 1975
  • Proper restraint use can help reduce deaths even more.  The proportion of fatally injured children who were restrained rose from 15% in 1985 to 59% in 2010.

Starting in 2014 there are going to be some changes to the car seat laws for toddlers and babies.  The new recommendation states that the Latch system should no longer be used when the child and car seat combined weight is over 65 lbs.  This is an amendment to the law which in 2001 recommended that all children up to 65lbs remain in a car seat or a booster seat.  This did not take into account the weight of the car seats.  Car manufacturers can’t guarantee the strength of the anchors when adding the weight of the child as well.  Therefore, there is a need to modify the law.  If you’re child and the car seat are over 65lbs combined then start using the seat belt restraint versus the latch system.  In order to check the combined weight first weigh the car seat, next weigh your child once you have done both add the two numbers together and if it is greater than 65 lbs you should begin using the seatbelt restraint.

Car seat safety

Maryland’s current state law requires that children under 8 ride in an appropriate child restraint unless the child is 4’9” or taller.  Child restraints include car seats and booster seats and other federally approved devices.  Every child who from 8 to 16 years old who is not in a child restraint must be secured in the vehicle’s seat

Maryland’s child passenger safety laws do not prohibit children from riding in the front seat.  The exception is placing a rear-facing child in the front seat with an active air bag.  If a driver can’t turn off the air bag then it is a violation of the law as well as extremely dangerous for the baby, to place a rear facing child in the front seat.

Currently taxis are exempt from the law.  They are not required to transport children using a car restraint.

The driver and the front seat passenger must wear seat belts at all times.  This is now a primary law which means an officer can pull you over and ticket you for not wearing your seat belt.  It is strongly recommended that all passengers no matter what they age wear a seatbelt restraint.

Click it or ticket

Maryland State Police have introduced the Click It Or Ticket program.  Every year, law enforcement conducts mobilizations at various times of the year across the State to ensure that everyone is buckled up!  With that being said don’t rick a ticket or even your life by not buckling up!  Make sure you buckle up every time you get into a vehicle.

Also always remember that cell phones are no longer aloud to be used while driving!  If you are talking on your phone and driving or texting while driving then a cop can pull you over and give you a ticket.


By: April Green

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