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Maryland's Child Passenger Safety Laws

Maryland's new child safety seat law went into effect on October 1, 2003. The new law requires that all children younger than six years of age, regardless of weight, or who weigh 40 pounds or less, regardless of age, must be secured in a federally approved child safety seat* according to the safety seat and vehicle manufacturers' instructions. For example, a 7-year-old who weighs only 37 pounds, or a 3 Ĺ-year-old who weighs 42 pounds, would be required to use child safety seats (this includes booster seats). The child restraint must be right for the child's size, age, and weight. If the vehicle is registered outside of Maryland, drivers must follow Maryland's prior law of younger than four years, regardless of weight, or 40 pounds or less, regardless of age.

*Child safety seats include: infant seats, convertible seats, forward-facing seats, booster seats, or other safety devices federally approved for use by children in motor vehicles.

A person may not transport a child younger than 16 years of age unless the child is secured in a child safety seat or a vehicle's seat belt.

A child younger than 16 years may not ride in an unenclosed cargo bed of a pick-up truck.

A vehicle can be stopped and the driver issued a citation for a violation of these laws. Currently the fines for failing to buckle up children and for allowing a child to ride in an unenclosed cargo truck bed are $48 and $50, respectively.

Please remember that it is very important that all children be properly secured in child safety seats and/or seat belts. The safest location in a car to buckle-up a child is in the middle of the rear seat.

Buckle up our children - follow our law!

Questions? Call Maryland Kids in Safety Seats at 1-800-370-SEAT or Maryland State Highway Administration at (410) 787-5822.

Please click on the link below for answers to many frequently asked questions regarding Maryland's seat belt laws, child safety seat laws, and recommended practices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Passenger Safety, Seat Belts, and Maryland’s Laws

If you require additional information or need assistance please contact us at [email protected]

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