Maine car seat laws made it imperative for parents to use the most suitable car seats and restraints for their kids. This is done according to various car seat needs for children, as influenced by factors like the child’s weight, age, and developmental needs.
In this article, we will discuss updates on various Maine car seat laws, such as the forward-facing car seat laws, rear-facing car seat laws, booster seat laws, and lap-shoulder laws. We will also address changes in car seat requirements for better security as children grow older.
What Does the Maine Car Seat Law Entail
According to Maine’s car seat laws, children who weigh under 40 pounds should be properly secured in a child restraint system while on transit.
When children below the age of two are being transported in a motor vehicle, the United States Department of Transportation requires that the transport operator strap them properly into their safety seats, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Violation of the Maine car seat law attracts a $50 fine for first-time offenders.
Maine Rear-facing Car Seat Law
To achieve the best possible protection, infants and toddlers should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat. The seat is to be placed in the rear passenger side of the car until they reach its upper height and weight limit.
The Maine car seat law demands that children, less than 24 months, be strapped into rear-facing seats. Children older than 24 months, but who do not measure to the seat manufacturer’s height and the weight limit should also be transported in rear-facing seats.
The owner’s manual or label of a car seat should be consulted for weight and height limits. Also, a rear-facing car seat should never be placed in front of an airbag. This is because airbags are hazardous and can cause harm to children.
Maine Forward-Facing Car Seat Laws
When children outgrow rear-facing seats, Maine car seat laws suggest that they are buckled in forward-facing car seats. The seat is to be placed in the rear passenger side until they reach its height and weight limit.
However, the use of a restraining system is required for children below 4 “9′, who are not beyond eight years and weigh between 40-79 pounds. This is to be done according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Maine’s updated car seat laws state that children, less than 55 pounds, should be secured in a 5-point harness.
Child Booster Seat Law
Children with height and weight beyond the limit of forward-facing seats should be secured, using belt-positioning booster seats. This should be done until they fit into the position to use the seat belt properly.
Often, it is when they reach 4’9″ in height and are between 8 to 12 years. Maine car seat laws require that all children younger than 12 years should ride in the back seat.
When Can Children Sit in the Front Seat?
The moment seat belts fit correctly without using a booster seat. Proper seat belts fit when children are about 4’9″. Ensure that seat belts are used on every trip. Seat belt fit varies with vehicles, so it is essential first to check if the seatbelt fits the child.
According to the Maine car seat laws, if the child is 12 years or older and weighs more than 100 pounds, it is safe for him/her to sit in the front seat. However, the child must be secured with a seat belt protection.
When children are old enough for the vehicle seat belt, they should ensure to use shoulder and lap seat belts for the best protection. Seat belts fit perfectly when the strap for the lap lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach), and the shoulder strap lays across the chest (not the neck)
Leaving Children in Car Law
The Maine car law does not include a requirement that prohibits parents from leaving their children in a car unattended. However, parents are advised to take caution when leaving their children in a vehicle.
If possible, children should not be left alone in a car without adult supervision. This is to avoid injuries or harm to the children.
Taxi Car Seat Law
In Maine, taxis are exempted from the car seat laws. But then, that should not stop you from using child restraint systems in taxis. This is because accidents can occur at any time and anywhere. No place is too close to home. According to stats, most accidents happen within 10 miles of the victim’s home.
Replacement of Car Seat After Accident
Although the Maine car seat law does not enforce this, it is necessary to replace your child’s car seat after a major accident. Cracks can appear in the plastic parts of the seat. These cracks may not be visible to the eyes.
Also, it is hazardous for your child’s safety to use a car seat that has already been involved in an accident. Ensure always to discard car seats that have been in accidents. Furthermore, ensure to indicate correctly that the car seat has been in an accident.
Overall, parents should ensure that their children are always buckled-in properly in the back seat of their car. You can use a rear-facing seat, booster seat or seat belt, depending on what is appropriate for your child’s height, weight, and age.
The installation and use of all car seats and booster seats should be according to the seat manufacturer’s manual. If needed, you can get help installing the car seats from local certified child passenger safety technicians.
Again, it is essential to note that Maine car seat laws require all children, ages 12 and under, in the back seat. It states that parents should ensure to buckle children in the middle of the back seat. This is because that is the safest spot in a vehicle.