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New Car Seat Law Removes Weight Exemption for Kids

The law that takes effect in Maryland on Oct. 1 still requires kids younger than 8 to be in a safety seat, unless they are 4 feet 9 inches or taller.

UPDATED (12:40 p.m.)—A new child safety seat law will go into effect Oct. 1 to remove the weight exemption for children who are more than 65 pounds, according to a Maryland State Police press release.

The state law still requires that children use car seats up until the time they turn 8 years old, unless they are 4 feet 9 inches or taller.

The law is a primary enforcement law, which means drivers can be detained and cited for violating the seat belt law. The fine is $50 for each child in the vehicle that is not properly restrained.

The fine also applies to children ages 8 to 16, who are still required to wear a seat belt. 

"A child safety seat is a device—including a child booster seat—which the manufacturer has certified as being made in agreement with federal safety standards and used to restrain, seat, or position a child while being transported in a motor vehicle," according to the press release.

The state legislature passed the new law in April, according to The Baltimore Sun. It was pushed by a doctors group who sought to decrease the number of spinal and neck injuries in toddlers that resulted from automobile accidents.

Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of children in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Further information about Maryland’s child safety seat laws and other safety seat tips can be found at www.mdkiss.org, or 800-370-SEAT, or by emailing kiss@dhmh.state.md.us. (KISS stands for Kids In Safety Seats.)

Editor's note: This post was updated from a previous version to clarify that the new law just removes the weight exemption.

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