Child Passenger Safety Seats
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released recommendations for child safety seats for children including:
Birth – 12 Months:
Your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear facing seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats:
- Infant-only seats can only be used rear facing.
- Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
1 – 3 Years:
Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
8 – 12 Years:
Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.
Car seat inspections are available on the 3rd Saturday of each month. To schedule an appointment visit: Safe Kids Maine or call (207) 899-9461. Appointments are strongly recommended, but not required.
Maine's Child Passenger Safety Law
Maine's Child Passenger Safety law is one of the strongest in the country. The law requires that:
- Children who weigh less than 40 lbs. must ride in a child safety seat;
- Children who weigh at least 40 lbs., but less than 80 lbs. and who are less than 8 yrs. old, must ride in a federally approved child restraint system;
- Children who are more than 8 yrs. old and less than 18 yrs. old and more than 4 feet 9 inches in height should be properly secured in a safety belt; and
- A child under 12 yrs. old and who weighs less than 100 lbs. is properly secured in the back seat of the vehicle, if possible.