Last updated: August 29, 2022
Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of injuries among young children in Anne Arundel County.
Using your child’s car safety seat correctly helps reduce motor vehicle injuries and death. Below are some quick check tips, virtual inspection resources and links to more information.
What should I know before purchasing a car safety seat?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides information that allows consumers to identify child safety seat restraints that affect ease of use.
What should I know about installing my child’s car safety seat?
- Always refer to the car seat manufacturer’s instructions for specific directions on properly using the car safety seat. Partners for Child Passenger Safety features video clips, highlighting rear-facing seats, forward-facing seats, booster seats and LATCH.
- Check to make sure your child is using the right car safety seat. Make sure your child’s safety seat is the correct seat for the child’s height and weight and is positioned in the right direction. For example, infants can ride rear-facing up to 24 months old. It is safest for infants to ride rear-facing as long as possible up to the highest weight allowed by the manufacturer of the safety seat. Some seats can be used up to 30-35 pounds rear-facing. In general, most forward-facing seats with harnesses that are manufactured in the U.S. can be used until the child reaches 40-50 pounds. It is very important to read the car seat manual to determine if the seat fits your child.
- Check to be sure the harness strap and harness clip are snug. The harness strap should be adjusted so that only one finger can be slipped underneath the strap at your child’s chest. The harness clip should be fastened at armpit level.
- Move children to a booster seat when they outgrow the toddler seat. Most forward-facing or toddler seats with harnesses can be used until your child reaches 40-50 pounds or when the child’s shoulder is above the top harness strap slot. Check your car seat labels for maximum weight and height. At that time it is recommended that your child move to a booster seat and utilize the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt. The booster seat will help your child wear the lap and shoulder belt correctly and sit more comfortably. Most booster seats can be used until your child reaches 60-100 pounds or until the lap/shoulder belt alone fits your child correctly.
- The safest place for your child’s safety seat is the back seat. Frontal collisions are the most common type of car crash and severe injuries can occur in children riding in the front seat. In addition, if your vehicle has a passenger air bag, all children 12 years and under should ride in the back to prevent injuries from the force of a deploying air bag.
Where can I get my child’s car safety seat inspected?
The following places have personnel trained to check your child’s car safety seat.
- Fitzgerald Annapolis Auto Mall Child Safety Seat Checks
- Maryland Kids in Safety Seats (KISS)
Sign up for virtual and in-person car seat safety checks.
What is Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Law?*
Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Law requires that children under 8 years old be in a car safety seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. However, these are minimal standards and children should remain in their child safety seat until they can fit the lap and shoulder belt correctly. Check your safety seat manufacturers’ instructions for weight and height limits as they can vary.
*New Child Passenger Safety Law Effective 10/1/22
The following links provide more information:
- Healthy Babies Car Seat Card (PDF)
- Car Seat Finder
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Maryland Kids In Safety Seats
- Maryland Law
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Zero Deaths Maryland
For more information on child safety seats or other injury prevention programs in Anne Arundel County, call 410-767-6016 or contact us.