What are the car seat laws in Maryland?

Maryland child safety seat laws are a primary offense with fines starting at $50 per incident. State law mandates children under 8 must be properly secured.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The seatbelt law and car seat law in Maryland are primary in the front seat and secondary in the back seat
  • Drivers could be fined in Maryland if any passengers under the age of 16 years old are not properly secured by a seat belt or car seat
  • All children under the age of eight years old should be properly secured in a car seat in Maryland
  • Maryland auto insurance companies frown upon negligence towards these safety laws

The thought of injuring a child who is a passenger in your vehicle can be unpleasant to think about, but such events happen in Maryland regularly. The state has passed a car seat law for younger children, and it also has a mandatory seat belt law for older children.

More than that, many drivers in Maryland refer to the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, for additional clarification about the safe use of car seats for children.

The purpose of car seats is to keep children safe on the road until they are large enough to be secured by an adult seat belt in the car. The AAP suggests that children who are younger than the age of two be placed in a rear-facing car seat. The best place for this car seat is in the back seat.

After a child reaches the age of two, the AAP suggests that the child is placed in a front-facing car seat or in a booster seat, depending on their height and weight.

When a child is between the ages of eight and 12 years old and when a child is at least 57 inches tall, the child can transition to the use of an adult seat belt in the vehicle. Make sure you are getting the best auto rate with our free quote tool above today! 

Maryland Car Seat Laws and Requirements

Understanding the AAP guidelines is important for drivers in Maryland who are concerned about child safety, but drivers also need to understand the local laws regarding the use of car seats and seatbelts.

Maryland state law indicates that children should be restrained in a car seat when they are less than 57 inches tall, when they weigh less than 66 pounds, and when they are under the age of eight.

However, it does not clarify when children should transition from a rear-facing car seat to a front-facing car seat.

The law in Maryland also indicates that children should be properly secured by an adult seat belt in the car until they reach the age of 16 years old. After this point, the child seat belt law is not in effect, and the individual must comply with adult seat belt laws in the state.

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Car Seat Law Violations in MD

Drivers in Maryland should be aware of the differences between primary law and secondary law, and they should understand how this relates to the use of car seats and seatbelts. In Maryland, the car seat law for the front seat of a vehicle is a primary law.

With a violation of a primary law, a law enforcement official needs no other reason to pull you over and issue a citation for the offense.

The car seat law for the rear seating area of the car is a secondary law. Drivers can only be cited for violations of this law if the law enforcement official pulls you over for another reason, such as for speeding or for running a red light.

A car seat violation can result in a $50 fine for each occurrence, and a seatbelt violation can result in an $83 fine for each occurrence.

Drivers who have multiple passengers in their vehicles who are not in compliance with the seat belt or car seat laws could receive multiple fines for the same incident.


Ensure Child Safety

Child safety on Maryland roads is a top concern, and all drivers need to ensure that they have the proper car seats in the car that are designed for a child’s height, weight, and age.

More than that, drivers need to confirm that the car seats are properly installed per the manufacturer’s recommendations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or the NHTSA, offers car seat installation checks in Maryland and throughout the country in convenient locations.

When you visit an approved NHTSA check station, a trained individual will inspect all of your car seats. You may receive recommendations or guidance regarding the improved installation of car seats.

Buy Maryland Car Insurance

Accidents can happen on Maryland roads, and some of these events may cause injury to children and other passengers in the car.

Drivers in Maryland need to understand that the minimum car insurance legally required by state law does not pay for any medical bills for passengers injured in your own car.

If you want to ensure that you can pay for the medical expenses if someone is injured in your vehicle, you need to consider buying a comprehensive auto insurance policy that also has a personal injury component to it.

Maryland drivers should spend time reviewing coverage every six months and shopping for the best deal possible on their auto insurance rates at these intervals. Consider using the Internet to request at least three to four different quotes regularly.

You may be inclined to make an insurance buying decision based on cost alone, but you should also focus your attention on finding an insurance company that is financially strong and that has a great claims process. Don’t miss out on our free insurance comparison tool below! Just enter your ZIP code and start comparing rates now!

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