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Maine Car Seat Laws

A Summary of Child Car Seat Laws in Maine

A Summary of Child Car Seat Laws in Maine

  • Children 2 years and under are required to ride on rear-facing seats.
  • The law requires children who are older than 2 years and weigh less than 55 pounds to ride on forward-facing seats.
  • Children under the age of 8 years who weigh less than 80 pounds and are shorter than 57 inches are required to ride on booster seats.
  • Maine requires children under 12 years who weigh less than 100 pounds to ride in the back seat.

Rear-facing Car Seat Laws in Maine

Maine car seat laws require children 2 years and under to ride on rear-facing seats that meet federal safety standards. Parents can use either infant-only seats or convertible seats that usually have higher weight and height limits. Convertible seats can support children of up to 40 pounds. This means some children may outgrow the manufacturer’s limits when closer to age 4, depending on the growth rate. If this happens, do not worry as experts recommend your child should remain rear-facing for as long as possible, as the seat protects the child’s head, spine, and neck. Infant seats should always face the rear of the car, and convertible seats should be installed in a semi-reclining position (angle of 45-degrees is preferable). All seats of this type should be installed in the back seat and away from active airbags.

Forward Facing Car Seat Laws in Maine

The law requires children who are older than 2 years and weigh less than 55 pounds to ride on forward-facing seats with an internal harness. Also, children should exceed the maximum weight and height requirements of rear-facing seats before transitioning. Ensure the harness straps are snug across the child’s chest. This helps in reducing the crash forces exerted on the child during a car crash. Parents can use lap-only seat belts and tether straps to secure the seat. Regular car seat belts also work well with forward-facing seats. Children can graduate to the next seat once they exceed the maximum seat limits. Typically, this may happen when your child is closer to age 7 due to some seats supporting weights of up to 65 pounds.

Booster Seat Regulations in Maine

Children under the age of 8 years who weigh less than 80 pounds and are shorter than 57 inches are required by law to ride on federally approved booster seats. Belt-positioning booster seats are designed to lift children so that they can fit in regular seat belts. When securing your child, the law requires you to use lap and shoulder belts (avoid using lap-only belts with booster seats.) The lap portion should lie snug across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt must lie flat across the chest area. After these conditions are met, a child can be considered safe in a booster seat. When it comes to graduating your child to seat belts, experts agree you should focus on the height. This is because children shorter than 57 inches may not fit in seat belts, resulting in the straps dangerously crossing the stomach and neck. If you are unsure whether your child is ready for a seat belt, it is best to check whether they pass the 5-step fit test. The test says the child should sit with a straight back while leaning against the back of the seat, the knees should bend at the edge of the seat, the shoulder belt should fit snugly across the chest, the lap portion should lie low across the upper thighs, and the child should not try to unbuckle the seat belt during a trip.

Requirements for children to use the front seat in Maine

The law requires children under 12 years who weigh less than 100 pounds to ride in the back seat if available. Experts agree with this since the airbags in the front seat can be harmful to children in case of an accident.  Also, the back seat is generally safer than the front seat.

Car Seat Law for Children ages 13-18 years in Maine

Children in this age group are required to ride while wearing safety belts.

Law on leaving a child in a car in Maine

Although it is not illegal to leave a child inside a car while he or she is unsupervised, we recommend that you never leave your child unattended for any length of time in a vehicle.

Smoking in a car with a child

A new Maine law makes it illegal to smoke in a car with child passengers.

Car Seat Law regarding Taxis in Maine

Taxis are exempted from complying with the state’s car seat laws. However, parents should take responsibility for their children and ensure they are well secured during travel.

Law on Car seat Replacement in Maine

The state of Maine has no law regarding the replacement of car seats. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the seats should be replaced after major car crashes. This is because car seats can develop tiny cracks, which can be hard to spot, so using them after accidents can be potentially dangerous. Some seats also come with expiration dates, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s manual.

More Maine Laws

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