Car Seat Laws in Maryland (2022) – Drive Your Child Safely

According to the Maryland State Law, children under 8 years old and less than 57 inches tall must ride in a child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. 

The child restraint system includes a booster seat and other federally approved seats. They are necessary to ride a child safely in a motor vehicle.

It’s reported that car crashes are still the leading cause of death for both adults and children. Securing yourself and your children properly in a seat belt or safety car seat will reduce the risk of serious injury and fatal injury.

The Maryland seat belt use rate was kept over 90 percent. It still means some drivers are not secured rightly. That’s why the government updated the law on seat belts and child restraint devices.

New regulations took effect on October 1st, 2013.

What is the Car Seat Law in Maryland?

2013 Laws in Maryland Chapter 179 Article of Transportation Section 22–412.2. (d) says: "A person transporting a child under the age of 8 years in a motor vehicle shall secure the child in a child safety seat in accordance with the child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches tall or taller." "A person may not transport a child under the age of 16 years unless the child is secured in a child safety seat or a seat belt."

Maryland State Regulations

Maryland Car Seat Laws Rear-Facing

Maryland law does not mention the requirements for a rear-facing car seat. It just requires that children under 8 years old and shorter than 4’9” travel in a secure child restraint system.

For toddlers under 2 years old, this system would be the rear-facing seat.

You should always keep your children in the rear-facing as long as they fall within the height and weight limit of the seat announced by the seat manufacturer.

Infant car seats feature a top weight of around 35 pounds, for example, the Doona Infant and Stroller. Convertibles and all-in-one car seats are able to fit a child up to 50 pounds for facing the rear. Graco Extend2Fit and Diono Radia 3R are good choices.

Maryland Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

When can a baby be forward-facing in Maryland?

The Maryland law doesn’t mention the requirements for the forward-facing car seat.

According to the experts and guidelines from NHTSA, it is best to transition to a forward-facing car seat when the child reaches the height or weight limit of their rear-facing car seats.

That typically happens when the child is 2-4 years old.

What is The Law for Booster Seats in Maryland?

What is the law for booster seats in Maryland?

As mentioned earlier, the law requires children under 8 years old and 4’9” to travel in a child safety seat. Based on the law, after the child has outgrown the forward-facing seat, they will travel in a booster seat.

By law, a child who is at least 4 feet 9 inches is exempt from the child safety seat requirement, however, you should keep using the booster seat until the seat belt is a secure fit.

How much do you have to weigh to be out of a booster seat in Maryland?

No weight requirement is mentioned in Maryland law for a child to get out of a booster seat. The law only mentions an age of 8 years old and a height of 57 inches tall.

How tall do you have to be to ride without a booster seat in Maryland?

A child should be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall to ride without a booster seat in Maryland.

Seat Belt Laws for Child in Maryland

The Maryland law requires children who are between 8 to 15 years old or younger than 8 years of age but over 4 feet 9 inches in height to travel in the seat belt.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Maryland

According to the Maryland Law Chapter 79 22–412.2:

Violators who break the car seat laws in Maryland will be fined $50.

The rule is that multiple failures of not securing more than one child in the same vehicle will be treated as a single violation and fined for one time. 

Maryland Car Seat Laws Apply and Exceptions

This law is applicable to in-state and out-of-state vehicles and covers all seated occupants in a motor vehicle including front and rear seats.

It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure all children are correctly buckled up.

Exceptions

  • Those who have a written certificate from their doctor stating a medical reason for not using their seat belt.
  • Drivers and passengers of Class L (historical) motor vehicles and of vehicles not required by federal motor vehicle standards to be equipped with seat belts.
  • Taxicab

When can a child sit in the front seat in Maryland?

Maryland law doesn’t stop children from traveling in the front seat.

But a child can sit in the front seat under certain circumstances.

You should not place the rear-facing seats in the front seat with the airbags activated.

Taxi (Uber) Car Seat Law in Maryland

The Maryland Legislature rule does not mention that taxis are exceptional from following the child restraint laws. The Maryland Department of Health has a program called Kids in Safety Seat (KISS for short). It indicates that taxis are exempt from the law right now. But it’s recommended for parents to keep their children safe in these vehicles. You may wonder if Uber should follow the laws or not. Are Ride-Sharing services exempt from the Maryland law? Unfortunately, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are NOT exempt from the child restraint law. The drivers MUST follow Maryland law to ride with children under age 16.

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Maryland Law

The Maryland laws are not strict on age, weight, and height requirements, but just give two age and one height numbers.

Under 8 years old and less than 57 inches tall
Use a child safety seat

Under the age of 16 years
Use a child safety seat or a seat belt (Transportation Article 22-412.2)

Can not ride in an unenclosed cargo bed of a pick-up truck (Transportation Article 22-1121).

Best Car Seats to Work with Maryland Laws

Rear-Facing Car Seat for Infants and Small Toddlers

Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller

Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller Combo

More than this Doona car seat and stroller combo, there are a few excellent options available for riding infants in rear-facing. But not all will perform as well as it to allow 1-year-old infants to face the back for this long time, Chicco KeyFit 30 for example, features a low 30-lb weight limit that might not go through the first year. 

Forward-Facing for Big Toddlers and Preschoolers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the parent’s need to ride their kids in the rear- and front-facing for a longer time. It features 50-lb rear-facing weight limit to be one of the best rear-facing car seats for 2 years old.

When using it facing front, the 65-lb weight limit makes it go through the preschool ages – 3 years old, 4 years old, and 5 years old.

Booster Seats for Big Kids

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

$24.99*

The Graco TurboBooster is the most popular and best budget car seat to meet the State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger. While six years of age is relatively younger than other states’ eight years of age requirement, it’s sooner for Alabama children to get rid of a car seat.

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