What Do Caregivers Need to Know about Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Law?

Transportation Article 22-412.2 (Child Restraints)

  • Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Law (effective October 1, 2022) requires that children under eight years old ride in an appropriate child safety seat* according to the vehicle and child restraint instructions, unless the child is 4’9” or taller.     
  • Children must ride rear-facing until at least age two.
  • Every child from 8 to 16 years old who is not secured in a child restraint must be secured in the vehicle’s seat belt, in every seating position in the vehicle.

Note:

  • The law applies to the transportation of a child in a motor vehicle registered, or capable of being registered in Maryland as: Class A (passenger), Class E (truck) or Class M (multipurpose) vehicles. 
  • The law is applicable to in-state and out-of-state vehicles.  
  • It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure all occupants under 16 are correctly buckled up.
If you are in need of a car seat, contact KISS at 800-370-SEAT (7328) for a referral to a local Car Seat Assistance Program, a low-cost program for families who financially qualify. Program availability and car seat inventory vary. 

*Child safety seat includes: harnessed car seats and belt positioning booster seats and other federally approved safety devices.  

Transportation Article 22-1121 (Children in Rear of Pick-up Trucks)

  • Children under the age of 16 may not ride in the bed of an unenclosed pick-up truck.

**Please note: Some jurisdictions have local Ordinances that prohibit anyone from riding in the bed of an unenclosed pickup truck.  If you have questions, contact your County Police/Sheriff’s Office or local Police Department.

Does Maryland Law prohibit children from riding in the front seat?

Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Law does not prohibit children from riding in the front seat with the exception of placing a child in a rear-facing car seat in the front seat with an active air bag.  If a driver is unable to turn off an airbag, it is a violation of law (as well as a danger to the child!) to place a child in a rear-facing car seat in the front seat. 

**Please note: Vehicle and Car Seat Manufacturers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, American Academy of Pediatrics and many other safety agencies/advocates strongly recommend that children under age 13 ride in the back seat.  The more fragile skeletal structure of a younger child cannot withstand the impact of a deploying airbag, which can result in severe injuries to the child. 

What does Maryland Law say about taxis and car seats?

Currently, taxis are exempt from the law. They are not required to transport children using car seats. However, KISS recommends that you follow Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Law when your children are riding in these vehicles.

Are Ride Sharing services exempt from the law?

While taxi services are exempt from the law, "ride share" services such as Uber and Lyft are NOT  exempt from it, and their drivers MUST follow Maryland's Child Passenger Safety Law.  If you plan on using a ride share service with children under age 16, you must follow the Child Passenger Safety Law listed above. 

Click here for a list of Child Passenger Safety Laws in other states. ​