Maryland’s Child Safety Seat and Seatbelt Laws

Maryland’s child safety seat laws and the penalties of a violation.

Maryland requires all passengers under the age of 16 to wear seatbelts or be restrained in a proper child safety seat (restraint harness). The proper safety seat for a child varies depending on the child’s age, weight, and height. Below you’ll find more details on these requirements, as well as the penalties of a child seat or seatbelt violation.

Child Seat and Seatbelt Requirements

Maryland’s safety restraint requirements apply to all drivers of passenger, truck, and multipurpose vehicles.

Children under eight years old. All children under eight years old must be in a child safety seat used consistent with the seat manufacturer’s recommendations. A child who is four-foot, nine-inches or taller is exempt from the child safety seat requirement.

Under 16 years old. After graduating from child safety seats, children must still use seatbelts until they are at least 16 years old.

Child Seat and Seatbelt Violations

A child restraint or seatbelt violation will result in a maximum $50 fine. The total cost is usually $82 once court costs are added in. A judge is permitted to waive the fine if the driver acquires a proper child seat after being ticketed.

Recommendations

While not binding, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration provides recommendations as to when certain types of child seats and restraints should be used. If you are unsure of the best seat to use, Maryland employs child passenger safety technicians to inspect and suggest car seats.

Birth

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13+

Rear-facing

Forward-facing

Booster

Belt

Exceptions

There are a few drivers who are exempt from the seatbelt and child restraint laws, including postal workers and taxi cab drivers. There also a medical exemption that applies if a physician certifies that the use of a child restraint harness would be impractical for a particular child.

More Information and Resources

For more information about child restraint systems, check the recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s also a good idea to register your car seat to be notified regarding recalls.

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