Car Seats

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Maine Child Passenger Safety

Maine Car Seat Program (document)

Safety seat distribution sites:
Located throughout the State of Maine, these sites provide child safety seats to families meeting WIC income guidelines. Parents are taught to properly fit the safety seat to the child and how to correctly install the safety seat in their vehicle by a certified CPS Technician. You must have a current State of Maine Driver’s License or State Identification.

Safety seat fitting stations:
Located throughout the State of Maine, these sites provide parents with education about keeping their child safe when riding in the car by correctly using a child safety seat or safety belt.  One-on-one lessons are offered by a certified CPS Technician explaining the correct use and installation of car safety seats and safety belts.

For a location near you, visit: Bureau of Highway Safety OR Safe Kids Maine

The Maine Law
Maine’s Child Passenger Safety (CPS) 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 less than 40 lbs. must ride in a child safety seat;
  • Children who weigh at least 40 lbs., but less than 80 lbs. and less than 8 yrs. old, 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.

Newest Recommendations
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released recommendations 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.
  • 4 – 7 YEARS. 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.