Maine Car Seat Laws (2022): Rear- or Forward-facing, or Booster

According to Maine State Law [PL 2021, c. 293, Pt. B, §5 (AMD).], children less than 55 pounds should ride in a size-appropriate restraint system.

The child restraint system should be in compliance with the United States Department of Transportation Standards and follow the child restraint system manufacturer’s instructions and the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

The Maine car seat laws were amended in 2021 and took effect then.

Maine Child Passenger Restraints Requirements

Maine Legislature §2081 2-B. reads: "When a child who is 2 years of age or older and who weighs less than 55 pounds is being transported in a motor vehicle [...], the operator shall ensure that the child is properly secured in a child restraint system with an internal harness [...], if the child exceeds the child restraint system manufacturer's recommended height limit for the child restraint system, the operator shall ensure that the child is properly secured in a federally approved belt-positioning seat. "

Maine State Law

Maine Rear-Facing Car Seat Laws

Based on the Maine Legislature §2081 2-A on the User of Child Restraint System, if your child meets one of the following conditions, he or she must travel in a rear-facing car seat.

  • Children under 40 pounds
  • Children under the age of 24 months
  • Children 2 years of age or older but fall under the seat manufacturer height and the weight limit

Safety tips:

  • Never put a rear-facing car seat in the forward-facing position or in front of an active airbag.
  • The seat must be tightly secured using the vehicle lap belt or anchored using the LATCH System.
  • Maine is one of the many states that require a toddler younger than 2 years old to face the back.

Maine Forward Facing Car Seat Laws

After the child has exceeded the rear-facing car seat weight limit recommended by the seat manufacturer, according to Maine Legislature §2081 2-B, they can be secured in a forward-facing car seat. Children who are:

  • Older than 2 years of age
  • Weigh less than 55 pounds

The new updated Maine car seat laws required the driver to secure the child with an internal harness.

Safety tips:

  • A 5-point harness is still the best for protecting toddlers and preschoolers at this age and weight range
  • Parents should stick with the current staged seats for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.

Child Booster Seat Laws in Maine

Children must ride in a belt-positioning seat or other children restrain systems if they

  • Lighter less than 80 pounds in weight
  • Smaller than 57″ in height
  • Younger than 8 years of age

Safety tips:

  • The booster seat age in Maine is eight years old, meaning that your kid will be able to get out of a car seat on the eighth birthday.
  • Stick to this current stage as long as possible until your child exceeds their car seat’s maximum weight or height allowed.

Seat Belt Laws for Maine

The Maine Legislature §2081 3 rule reads: Children under 18 years of old but outgrow their child restraint systems should be properly secured in the seat belts.

Safety tips:

  • When children are old enough and large enough to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use Lap and Shoulder Seat Belts for optimal protection.
  • All children younger than 12 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
  • The lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest.

Penalty for Breaking Car Seat Laws in Maine

Any violation of the Maine car seat laws results in a fine of $50 for the first offense, $125 for the 2nd offense and $250 for the 3rd and subsequent offenses must be imposed.

Maine Car Seat Laws Apply for

Every person transporting a child shall be responsible for assuring that each child is properly restrained pursuant to Maine State Law, no matter whether you are a resident or traveler.

Exceptions

The Maine car seat law does not say any exceptions about the usage of car seats but actually stated that taxi drivers are not responsible for the passenger’s seat belt. If so, the parents should be responsible f the car seat things.

There are three exceptional cases for seat belt laws anyway:

  • A. A rural mail carrier of the United States Postal Service is not required to be secured in a seat belt while engaged in the delivery of mail; 
  • B. The operator of a taxicab or a limousine is not responsible for securing in a seat belt a passenger transported for a fee; 
  • C. A newspaper delivery person is not required to be secured in a seat belt while engaged in the actual delivery of newspapers from a vehicle or performing newspaper delivery duties that require frequent entry into and exit from a vehicle.

When can a child legally sit in the front seat in Maine?

According to the Maine State Law, if your child is older than 12 years old, it is safe for them to sit in the front seat, with a seat belt for security. 

Taxi Car Seat Law in Maine

Maine is 1 of 35 US states that exempt taxis from child restraint system laws. According to the law:

“The operator of a taxicab or a limousine is not responsible for securing in a seat belt a passenger transported for a fee.”

But the law does not mention the application on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. 

Age, Weight, Height Requirements in Maine Law

A few age and weight numbers are talked about in the Maine Child Passenger Safety Law information. They are generally used to decide which position and what types of car seats you should use. 

Rear-facing (stage 1): Under 40 pounds and 2 years old.

Forward-facing (stage 2): Under 55 lbs and 2 years of age or older

Booster (stage 3): Under 80 lbs. and 57″ and 8 years of age

Seat belt (stage 4): 8 years older

The Maine car seat laws also recommend keeping children younger than 12 years of age in the rear seat.

Best Car Seats to Work with Maine Laws

Maine is another state that obviously requires toddlers younger than 2 years old to face the rear in the car seat laws. At this point, you should always consider some great models with higher weight or height limits for 2 years old to stay rear-facing.

Forward-Facing for Big Toddlers and Preschoolers

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

This convertible car seat is great enough to meet the Alabama 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.

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Zip

$299.99*

The 43-inch good height limit not just makes Chicco NextFit Zip perfect for 2 years old toddlers, but also great for infants of 1 year old, thanks to its included infant inserts and compact design.

Booster Seats for Big Kids

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

$24.99*

The Graco TurboBooster is the best budget car seat to meet the Maine State Law to ride older children, six or seven years old, or even bigger. As long as your child should be secured in a belt-positioning seat until their eighth birthday, it’s common for parents in Maine to keep their kids in a booster seat as long as possible for safety’s sake.

Resources

  1. Maine Legislature statement on Child Restraint System.
  2. Maine Department of Public Safety on child car seat laws.