Maine Car Seat Laws in 2021

In Maine law, a child weighing less than eighty pounds must be properly secured in a child safety seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions or in a federally approved child restraint system when riding in a vehicle required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with safety seat belts.

A child safety seat is defined as a child safety seat meeting Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are defined as the standards listed in 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 571, effective January 1, 1981 and subsequently amended. A federally approved child restraint system is defined as a child safety restraint meeting the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 and intended as crash protection in vehicles.

A child under twelve years old and weighing less than one hundred pounds must be properly secured in the rear seat of a vehicle, if possible, when riding in a vehicle that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts.

A child between eight and seventeen years old, or a child under eighteen years old and more than 4’9” inches in height, must be properly secured in a safety seat belt when riding in a vehicle that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts.

Children Under Forty Pounds

A child under forty pounds must be properly secured in a child safety seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions when being transported in a motor vehicle required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with safety seat belts.

Children Between Forty and Eighty Pounds

A child weighing at least forty pounds and less than eighty pounds must be properly secured in a federally approved child restraint system when riding in a vehicle that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts.

Children Under Twelve Years Old

A child under twelve years old and weighing less than one hundred pounds must be properly secured in the rear seat of a vehicle, if possible, when riding in a vehicle that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts.

Children Between Eight and Seventeen Years Old

A child between eight and seventeen years old, or a child under eighteen years old and more than 4’9” inches in height, must be properly secured in a safety seat belt when riding in a vehicle that is required by the United States Department of Transportation to be equipped with seat belts.

Penalties for Violations

A violation of Maine’s child safety seat or safety seat belt law is a traffic infraction. You may be fined $50.00 for a first offense, $125.00 for a second offense, and $250.00 for a third or subsequent offense. The court may not suspend a fine imposed for violation of the child safety seat or safety seat belt law.

Exemptions

An operator may be exempt from Maine’s child safety seat or safety seat belt law if the operator is twenty-one years old or older, the passenger is over one year old, the number of passengers exceeds the vehicle seating capacity, and all of the vehicle’s seat belts are in use.

A nonprofit, municipal, or contracted transportation service provider may be exempt from properly securing a child weighing at least forty pounds and less than eighty pounds in a federally approved child restraint system, although the child must be properly secured in a safety seat belt.

The operator of a taxicab or a limousine may be exempt from responsibility for securing a child in a seat belt when the child is a passenger transported for a fee.

* Ms. Blake is licensed in the state of Maryland. The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Attorney Denise A. Blake*

Denise practices family law at Blake Law, LLC in Westminster, Maryland. She holds a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Family Law from the University of Baltimore School of Law.