Maine’s Child Safety Seat and Seatbelt Laws

Maine’s car seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

Maine requires all vehicle passengers under the age of 18 to wear seatbelts. For child passengers, additional restraint requirements apply based on height, weight, and age. Here is an overview of the child safety restraint requirements in Maine and the penalties of a violation.

Child Seat and Seatbelt Requirements

Maine’s requirements apply to all drivers and all vehicles that are required by federal law to have seat belts.

Children under two years old. All children who are under two years old are required to be properly secured in a rear-facing restraint harness. If the child has already exceeded the manufactures weight and height limits, the child is permitted to be in a forward-facing seat.

Under 55 pounds. Children who are at least two years old but less than 55 pounds must still be secured in a child restraint system. The appropriate restraint system might be rear-facing, forward-facing, or a convertible restraint, depending on the child’s size. Drivers should follow manufacturer recommendations in choosing the right restraint system.

Booster seats. Once a child is over 55 pounds, he or she must use a belt-positioning booster seat. The child must continue to use a booster until reaching 80 pounds, 57 inches tall, and at least eight years of age.

Seatbelts. All passengers under the age of 18 who do not fit in one of the above categories must still wear a properly secured seatbelt. Children must ride in the rear seat, if available, until reaching at least 12 years old.

Child Seat and Seatbelt Violations

A child restraint or seatbelt violation will result in a $100 fine for a first offense. The fines for a second offense will be $125 and for a third and subsequent offense will be $250.

Recommendations

While not mandatory, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles has provided recommendations to promote child safety.

Birth

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13+

Rear-facing

Forward-facing

Booster

Belt

Exceptions

Maine’s child safety seat and seatbelt laws apply to all drivers except rural mail carriers, newspaper delivery drivers, taxi drivers, and limousine drivers. Children that have a documented medical condition prohibiting the use of restraint systems are also exempt but must obtain a special vehicle placard.

More Information and Resources

For more information about child restraint systems, check the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control. It’s also a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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