One of the most important jobs parents have is to keep their children safe in the car. Thousands of children are killed in car accidents annually. Proper use of car safety seats can save lives.
Car seat safety laws vary by jurisdiction and Maryland has some specific laws that must be followed in an effort to keep your child safe. But the laws don’t always go far enough, so we’ve included some recommendations as well.
Maryland Car Seat Law
Maryland’s child safety seat law requires that all children under age eight be secured in a federally approved child safety seat unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller. The seat must be appropriate for the child’s age and size. A child safety seat includes a car seat or a booster seat. Children between the ages of 8 and 16 who do not use a child safety seat must use the seat belt in the vehicle, regardless of where in the vehicle they are seated.
Car Seat Recommendations
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Center for Disease Control(CDC) advise parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for the seat as specified by the manufacturer. Children age 2 to at least age five should be kept in a forward-facing car seat or until they reach the upper height and weight limit of the seat. The AAP also advises parents to keep their children in booster seats until they are at least eight years old or over 4 feet 9 inches tall. Booster seats help ensure that the seat belt fits properly over the child’s shoulder and lap to provide better protection. Car seats and booster seats should be installed in vehicles according to the seat’s owner’s manual
Children in the Front Seat
Maryland law does not prohibit children from riding in the front seat of a vehicle with the exception of placing a rear-facing child in the front seat with an active airbag. However, the CDC recommends that all children ages 12 and under be buckled in the back seat of the vehicle noting that airbags can be dangerous for young children. Buckling children in the middle of the back seat ensures that they are in the safest spot in the vehicle.
Contact us for help.
We hope you are never involved in an accident, but if you or your child has been injured, work with the experienced attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC. Contact us online or call us at (301) 812-4777.