Child Passenger Safety - Car Safety Seats
- Last Updated: 1.13.17
Free Car Seat Safety Checks. Click here.
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, a list of inspection sites in Anne Arundel County and links to other sites providing 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. Before purchasing a child safety seat, click here to view NHTSA's information.
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 has a website featuring video clips, highlighting rear-facing seats, forward-facing seats, booster seats and LATCH. Click here to visit their website.
- 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. See Child's Car Seat Card. (PDF)
- 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. Partners for Child Passenger Safety has a website featuring video clips that highlight rear-facing seats, forward-facing seats, booster seats and LATCH. Click here to visit their website.
- 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 agencies have personnel trained to check your child's car safety seat.
- Anne Arundel Community College, Department of Public Safety
101 College Parkway, Arnold
Call 410-777-2440 for more information.
- Fitzgerald Annapolis Auto Mall
34 Hudson Street, Annapolis
More Inspections at Fitzgerald's
Call 410-224-3480 for more information or to make an appointment for another day.
- Maryland Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) - by appointment only
For statewide locations, call 1-800-370-SEAT (7328).
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.
The following links provide more information:
- Healthy Babies Car Seat Card (PDF)
- Car Seat Finder
- Maryland Kids In Safety Seats
- CDC Vital Signs
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Maryland Law
For more information on child safety seats or other injury prevention programs in Anne Arundel County, call 410-222-4223 or send an e-mail to Contact Us.