Maine Car Seat Laws 2022 (Rear, Forward & Booster)

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Maine car seat laws require children younger than 8 years, who weigh less than 80 pounds and are shorter than 57 inches, to be secured in a federally-approved and appropriate car seat. These include rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats. The penalties for violating the law range from $50 to $250.

Disclaimer: This content does not constitute legal advice. It is solely for informational purposes. Always check the original source of the law for the latest version.

Maine Car Seat Laws

Maine Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

According to the rear-facing car seat law in Maine, a child under 2 years of age must be restrained in a rear-facing car seat. (1) The infant seat must be installed as per the seat manufacturer’s instructions and steps in the vehicle manual. 

The rear-facing car seat age in Maine is 2 years. A rear-facing seat must be placed in the backseat of the vehicle since it is the safest position. It must never be placed in front of an active airbag.   

A violation of the Maine rear-facing child seat law is a traffic infraction. The first offense carries a fine of $50. A second offense will be penalized $125, while a third and subsequent offense will be fined $250.  The court cannot suspend the fine imposed. 

Age: Newborn to 2 years
Penalty: $50 for the first time, $125 for a second offense, $250 for a third and subsequent offense.

Maine Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

According to the forward-facing car seat law in Maine,  children 2 years and older and weighing less than 55 pounds have to be secured in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. (1) They should continue using the seat till they exceed its height and weight limits set by the manufacturer. 

The forward-facing car seat age in Maine is 2 years and older. When your child exceeds the maximum limits prescribed by the car seat manufacturer, they can start using a booster seat. 

Disobeying the Maine forward-facing child seat law is considered a traffic infraction.  The first offense carries a fine of $50. A second offense will be penalized $125, while a third and subsequent offense will be fined $250. The court cannot suspend the fine imposed. 

Age: 2 years and older
Weight: Less than 55 pounds 
Penalty: $50 for the first time, $125 for a second offense, $250 for a third and subsequent offense.

Maine Booster Seat Law

According to the child booster seat law in Maine, children younger than 8 years who are shorter than 57 inches and weigh less than 80 pounds should be secured in a booster seat. (1) It can be a high-back or a backless booster seat, depending on your requirements.

Though the booster seat age in Maine is 8 years, children should move to them only after they surpass the height and weight limits of their forward-facing seats. They should continue to ride in a booster seat until the seat belt fits them properly. 

A violation of  Maine booster seat requirements is a traffic infraction. The penalties include $50 for a first offense, $125 for a second offense and $250 for a third and subsequent offense. The court cannot suspend the fine imposed. 

Age: Younger than 8 years
Height: Shorter than 57 inches
Weight: Less than 80 pounds
Penalty: $50 for the first time, $125 for a second offense, $250 for a third and subsequent offense.

Maine Child Front Seat Law

According to the child front seat law in Maine, a child less than 12 years of age must be secured in the rear seat of the vehicle. (1) The operator of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring this. 

The front seat age in Maine is 12 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that all children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat. Hence, under Maine state law, children under 12 years should ride in the backseat whenever possible.

If absolutely necessary, a child can ride in the front seat in an appropriate car seat that is suitable for their height and weight. 

A violation of these requirements carries a fine of $50 for the first offense, $125 for the second offense and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. 

Age: Less than 12 years
Penalty: $50 for the first time, $125 for a second offense, $250 for a third and subsequent offense.

Maine Child Seat Belt Law

According to the child seat belt law in Maine, all children under 18 years of age who are not required to be secured in a car seat have to wear the adult safety belt. (1) Thus, if your child is between 8 to 17 years old, stands taller than 57 inches and weighs more than 80 pounds, they have to wear a seatbelt whether they are traveling in the backseat or the front seat.

Not wearing a seat belt as per Maine children’s seat belt law carries a fine of $50 for the first offense, $125 for the second offense and $250 for the third and subsequent offense. However, the requirements under seat belt rules in Maine do not apply to those child passengers who cannot wear a seatbelt due to a medical condition. 

Age: 8 to 17 years
Height: More than 57 inches
Weight: More than 80 pounds
Penalty: $50 for the first time, $125 for a second offense, $250 for a third and subsequent offense.

Maine Taxi Child Seat Law

According to the taxi child seat law in Maine, taxis are not exempt from the car seat law and are required to have a child seat. 

The taxi operator is exempt from securing a child passenger in a seatbelt. (1) But since a seat belt is not the same as a child restraint system, the operator is required to have a taxi child seat in Maine. 

The driver can either have separate rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster seats or they can have a versatile all-in-one seat. As a parent, you must check with the driver if they have a car seat that is appropriate for your child. If not, you should carry your own car seat. The fine for violating the law ranges from $50 to $250.

Maine Ridesharing Child Seat Law

The ridesharing child seat law in Maine is not clear. When riding with your child in a rideshare service, all the child seat requirements in Maine will apply. Children under 8 years of age, weighing less than 80 pounds and shorter than 57 inches have to be restrained in an appropriate child safety system. (1)

However, the law is unclear about who should provide the child seat. Nor does it say if it covers ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft. In such a scenario, either the parents or the rideshare drivers should provide a federally-approved car seat. 

A violation of Maine car seat regulations will result in a penalty of $50 for the first offense, $125 for the second offense and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. 

Maine Child Seat Replacement Law

There is no particular child seat replacement law in Maine. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that the child safety seat be replaced after an accident. 

If your vehicle is involved in a moderate or severe accident in Maine, you must replace the car seat. It must never be used again. There is no need to replace it after a low-impact accident. What qualifies as a low-impact crash can be determined with the help of certain questions

Apart from child seat replacement after an accident, you must also replace the seat if it is too old. The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety recommends discontinuing the car seat if it is older than 6 years and there is no expiration date. 

Leaving Child in the Car in Maine

There is no particular law on leaving a child in a vehicle in Maine. Though not technically illegal, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle carries multiple risks. The most common danger is the child suffering a heat stroke.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) , children can suffer serious injuries if they are left in a hot car. Their bodies heat up faster. When this happens, their vital organs may begin to shut down. Therefore, they must never be left alone in a car. 

Other dangers include children getting kidnapped, having an in-car accident or setting the car in motion. 

Even though leaving a child in the car in Maine is not an offense, the offending parent/caregiver can be charged under stricter sections such as child endangerment. 

Choosing a Child Car Seat in Maine

Maine law can serve as a comprehensive guide to choosing a car seat in Maine. For infants less than 2 years old, a rear-facing seat is the best car seat to use in Maine. Children older than 2 years and weighing less than 55 should be placed in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. 

If your child is younger than 8 years, shorter than 57 inches and weighs less than 80 pounds, and has outgrown the height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat, a high-back or backless booster seat is the best booster seat to use in Maine. 

Car Seat Installation Help in Maine

Under the law, child passenger safety seats in Maine must be installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions and also the guidelines in the vehicle manual.

They are generally installed using either the lower anchors or the seat belt. It is always better to get your car seat checked by a certified child passenger safety (CPS) technician. There are many fitting stations across the state where you can get your car seat inspected. Some of them are:

Maine Car Seat Safety Resources

  • Maine Bureau of Highway Safety : This comprehensive guide by the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety has all information about car seats. It has detailed points about each type of seat and how you should install/use them. 
  • Gorham Fire and Rescue Department: It contains the best practices by NHTSA as well Maine law of child passenger safety. 
  • Safe Kids Maine: The Maine chapter of Safe Kids offers car seat inspections and workshops to help families keep their children safe. 
  • Kennebec Valley Community Action Program (KVCAP): It is a non-profit community program that has been helping people since 1965. It provides car seats to income-eligible families in Maine.

FAQ

How long should a child ride in a rear-facing car seat in Maine?

Under Maine child seat laws, a child must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they turn 2 years old or reach the maximum limits of the car seat. 

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in Maine?

No, you cannot put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat. The only exception is when there is no other practical way to transport your child in the vehicle.  

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat in Maine?

You can put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat but it should fit properly. You should check your vehicle’s as well as the car seat’s manual. 

When can a baby face forward in a car seat in Maine?

A baby can face forward in a car seat when they are older than 2 years and have outgrown the limits of their rear-facing car seat. 

How old for a booster seat in Maine?

Under car seat laws in Maine, children under 8 years old can ride in booster seats when they have outgrown the height and weight limits of their forward-facing seats. 

When to use a backless booster seat in Maine?

You can use a backless booster seat only if your vehicle seat has a head rest and the child’s ears are not higher than the seat back. 

When can a child sit in the front seat in Maine?

A child can sit in the front seat after they turn 12 years old. The adult seat belt should fit snugly across their lap and shoulders.

When can a child sit in the front seat with a booster in Maine?

Children younger than 12 years should ride in the backseat. They can ride in the front seat with a booster if it is not practical to secure them in the backseat. 

When can a child stop using a booster seat in Maine?

A child can stop using a booster seat in Maine when they are at least 8 years old, 4’9” tall and weigh at least 80 pounds. 

When to switch from 5 point harness to a seat belt in Maine?

The ideal time to switch from a 5-point harness to a seat belt is when the child has outgrown their forward-facing seat. They can then wear a seatbelt in a belt-positioning booster.  

When can a child use a regular seat belt in Maine?

As per the law in Maine, children can wear a seat belt if they are older than 8 years, taller than 57 inches and weigh more than 80 pounds.

Do you need a car seat in a taxi in Maine?

Yes, you need a car seat in a taxi in Maine. Check with the taxi driver or carry your own car seat for the maximum safety of your child. 

Do you need a car seat in a Uber in Maine?

The law is not clear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide a federally approved and appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety. 

Do you need a car seat in a Lyft in Maine?

The law is not clear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide a federally approved and appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety. 

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