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Child Safety Seat Information Resource

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Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under. Child safety seats and safety belts, when correctly installed and used, can prevent injury and save lives. Unrestrained children are more likely to be injured, to suffer more severe injuries and to die in motor vehicle crashes than children who are restrained.

The purpose of child safety seats is to reduce the number of child passengers killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes. The seats function by absorbing and safely distributing crash impact loads over the child's body while holding the child in place and preventing contact with the vehicles interior components or ejection from the vehicle. To schedule a child safety seat inspection with one of our certified technicians, please call 410-777-2440.

Nancy Kutz installing a safety seat.

  • Every day, children up to 12 years old sustain serious injuries or die in motor vehicle crashes.
  • Many of these injuries and deaths can be avoided with the correct use of child safety seats and seat belts.
  • When a child outgrows a rear-facing seat, the next step is a forward-facing seat, and lastly, into a belt-positioning booster seat that should be used until the child can fit properly in an adult seat belt.
  • Many parents are unaware they are using the safety restraint incorrectly (or not at all), thereby placing their child at risk.
  • Never place the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back. The safest position for a child is in the back seat.
  • For proper restraint make sure the lap belt fits low over the top of the thighs and the shoulder belt is across the chest.

WHEN DO YOU TURN A REAR FACING SEAT TOWARD THE FRONT?

Keep the child rear-facing as long as possible. Studies show that in the event of a collision, it is safer for the child.

MARYLAND'S CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY LAWS

  • Transportation Article 22-412.2 (Child Safety Seats)

EFFECTIVE October 1, 2003, all children younger than six years old, regardless of his/her weight, or weighing 40 pounds or less, regardless of his/her age, must be secured in a federally approved child safety seat according to the safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions. For vehicles registered outside the state of Maryland, all children younger than four years, regardless of weight, or weighing less than 40 pounds, regardless of age, must ride in a safety seat.

Additionally, a person may not transport a child under the age of 16 years unless the child is secured in a safety seat, in accordance with the child seat and vehicle manufacturers' instruction, or a seat belt.

EFFECTIVE October 1, 2012, children must be secured in a federally approved booster seat until they are atleast 8 years old and have a height of 4 feet 9 inches.

IS YOUR CHILD BIG ENOUGH TO USE A SAFETY BELT?

Safety Belt Five-Step Test
1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Is the lap belt on the tops of the thighs?
4. Is the shoulder belt centered on the and chest?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

If you answered "no" to any of these, your child needs a booster seat to ride safely in the car.

  • Transportation Article 22-1121 (Children in Rear of Pick-up Trucks)
  •  An individual may not drive a pick-up truck while a passenger under the age of 16 years is riding in an unenclosed bed of the vehicle.