Maryland Child Car Seat Laws

A child safety seat is the best way to protect your children in case of a car accident. When used properly, a car seat reduces the risk of injury by up to 82%, according to the CDC. For young children, a booster seat reduces the risk of serious harm by 45% compared to a seat belt alone.

As a parent or caregiver, it’s important to understand Maryland child car seat laws and industry guidelines to ensure your child is as safe as possible. Here’s what you need to know and resources for Maryland families, including low-cost car seats and free inspections. 

If you need legal assistance after an accident in Baltimore, MD, contact WGK Personal Injury Lawyers at (410) 837-2144 for a free initial consultation.

How WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Car Accident in Baltimore, MD

How WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Car Accident in Baltimore, MD

Nothing makes you feel as helpless as seeing your child hurt. If your child has been left with serious injuries caused by another person’s carelessness, WGK Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you. Our Baltimore car accident lawyers can pursue the compensation your child needs while holding the at-fault party accountable. 

Our law office consists of three generations of Baltimore personal injury lawyers with more than 80 years of combined experience. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients, and we are ready to fight for you, too. 

When you choose our law firm in Baltimore, Maryland, we will: 

  • Give you legal advice and guidance at every step
  • Investigate your accident and identify parties who may be liable
  • Gather evidence and work with experts to strengthen your claim
  • Handle all communications and act in your best interests
  • Negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company
  • Take your case before a jury if necessary

We understand how devastating it is to see your child in pain after a frightening crash. We are ready to help you through every stage of your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Baltimore personal injury attorney to discuss how we can help.

Maryland Car Seat Laws

The Maryland Child Passenger Safety Law requires children 15 and younger to be secured in an appropriate restraint system. 

Specifically, the law requires the following: 

  • Children under two must ride in a rear-facing car seat
  • Children under eight who are shorter than 4’9” must be secured in a child safety seat (car seat or booster seat)
  • Children under eight but at least 4’9” must be secured in a child safety seat or a seat belt
  • Children eight to 15 years old must be secured in a child safety seat or seat belt

Seat belts alone are only allowed for children who are at least eight years old or at least 4’9”.

When Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat in Maryland?

Maryland law does not prohibit kids from riding in the front seat or set a minimum age. However, children in rear-facing seats are prohibited from being placed in front of an active airbag in the front seat. 

Children should remain in the back seat until they are 4’9” or taller and at least 13 years old. Front airbags are designed for adults and may cause serious or fatal injuries to children. If a child must sit in the front, they should be positioned as far from the airbag as possible and secured in a booster seat or seat belt. Always disable the passenger airbag if a rear-facing car seat must be placed in the front seat to prevent severe airbag injuries.

Proper Car Seat Use and Installation 

Sadly, car seats and booster seats are often used or installed incorrectly. This increases the risk of serious injuries to children in a crash. 

When used correctly, child safety seats are designed to spread the force of a collision to the strongest areas of the body while preventing ejection. Booster seats spread crash forces across the chest and hips. Rear-facing car seats spread forces across the back to reduce the risk of brain injuries and spinal cord injuries

According to the NHTSA, about 46% of safety seats are incorrectly used or installed. The National Digital Car Seat Check Form (NDCF) database has found that 73% of inspected forward-facing car seats are installed incorrectly. 

Common errors in the use or installation of child safety seats include the following: 

  • Loose harness
  • Loose installation
  • Improper recline angle for rear-facing car seats
  • Improper harness placement over the child’s back, legs, or arms for forward-facing seats
  • Improper position of the shoulder or lap belt for booster seats

There are many ways for caregivers to ensure that their safety seats are installed properly and used correctly. You can have your car seat inspected for free to make sure it is correctly installed. A Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) can also show you how to use the car seat effectively and correct harness or belt placement. 

Learning about common car seat myths may also be helpful. Common misconceptions can prove dangerous in a crash. 

Do not transition your children to the next type of safety restraint system until they exceed the height or weight limit of their current seat. Remember that the back seat is the safest place for children. 

Is a Child Car Seat Still Safe To Use After an Accident?

If you have been in a collision, your child safety seat may need to be replaced. Car seats are designed to absorb impact, but only for a single impact. Even though the car seat may look normal on the surface, it may not be able to protect a child in another collision. 

According to the NHTSA, car seats should be replaced after moderate to severe crashes. If the accident was minor, the airbags did not deploy, and the door closest to the safety seat was not damaged, the car seat should still be safe to use. 

Resources For Parents and Guardians in Maryland

Maryland Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) is the agency in charge of child passenger safety. 

KISS offers many resources for families, including: 

  • KISS Helpline: 1-800-370-SEAT – Programs near you, safety tips, safety seat recall information, installation information, and more
  • Car Seat Assistance Program – Low-cost safety seat rentals for families in need
  • Car seat checks – free virtual and in-person car seat installation checks by Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs)

You can register for a free car seat check online through the MD KISS website. Monthly car seat check events are held in Baltimore County at the Long Green and Pikesville Volunteer Fire Companies.

Contact Our Experienced Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers For a Free Consultation

Even the most effective safety seats cannot eliminate all risks in a crash. Has your child been hurt in an accident caused by a careless driver? You may be entitled to compensation to ensure your child receives the best medical care possible. 

Since 1977, WGK Personal Injury Lawyers has fought tirelessly for injured children and families. We are ready to fight for you and your child. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Baltimore car accident attorney to discuss how we can help you.