New Car Seat Law Removes Weight Exemption for Kids

A Maryland law that takes effect Oct. 1 still requires kids younger than 8 to be in a safety seat, unless they are 4 feet 9 inches or taller.

A new child safety seat law will go into effect Oct. 1 that removes the weight exemption for children who are more than 65 pounds, according to a Maryland State Police.

The state law still requires that children use car seats until they turn 8 years old, unless they are 4 feet 9 inches or taller.

The law is a primary enforcement law, which means drivers can be detained and cited for violating the seat belt law. The fine is $50 for each child in the vehicle that is not properly restrained.

The fine also applies to children ages 8 to 16, who are still required to wear a seat belt. 

"A child safety seat is a device—including a child booster seat—which the manufacturer has certified as being made in agreement with federal safety standards and used to restrain, seat, or position a child while being transported in a motor vehicle," according to police.

The Legislature passed the law in April, according to The Baltimore Sun. It was pushed by a doctors' group that sought to decrease the number of spinal and neck injuries in toddlers that resulted from automobile accidents.

Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of children in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Further information about Maryland’s child safety seat laws and other safety seat tips can be found at www.mdkiss.org, or 800-370-SEAT, or by emailing kiss@dhmh.state.md.us. (KISS stands for Kids In Safety Seats.)

Dawn Mooney September 28, 2012 at 01:08 AM
This change makes me thrilled. I'm frequently in awe of the number of children I see locally who are not in car or booster seats. For that matter, I'm shocked to see kids not even sitting down in cars or vans. Riding in a car is statistically the riskiest thing our kids do every day, and yet there are so many parents who don't take the simple measures to keep them safe. I hope our local police are seriously applying the primary enforcement component of the law, though I still cringe to think that all a parent gets is a fine and is allowed to drive away with children improperly restrained!


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