How often do you hear in the news about unintentional car crashes that have taken numerous precious young lives? Too many to count?
In the United States, unintentional injuries are among the leading causes of death among the younger population. More than 12,500 people have tragically ended their lives in vehicle crashes each year, and the numbers are getting higher and higher. We can stop this scenario by merely following traffic laws regarding proper restraint systems and saving our youngest ones from the fatal outcome.
With several child restraint devices on the market, manufacturers must follow the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. But do you know what they are? Are you aware of the adequate ways of protecting the child throughout transportation via motor vehicles? More importantly, are you familiar with 2020 Maine car seat laws?
In this guide, we shall explain the requirements, safety regulations, and rules you need to follow for a safe and sound ride.
Maine Car Seat Laws
If you didn't know, car seat laws were revised in 2007 regarding the state of Maine. Unlike previous law guides, now there are fines that drivers or passengers need to cover if they are not following the law.
Fines range from $50 to even $250 vary for the type of law disobedience you have committed. Maine considers seat belts as necessary restraint for any passenger. The officers can pull you over and write you a ticket just for not wearing the belt.
As for the younger ones, all children must be in a car seat or wear a seat belt.
Those who are younger than two must be secured in a car seat that meets all regulations. The fine for not restraining the child is $50 on the first offense.
Rear-Facing Car Seat
According to the last update of Maine law, children who are one year old or less should be restrained in a rear-facing car seat.
The same rule goes for older children. If the car seat manufacturer allows the child's height and weight, you should keep on using the rear-faced system.
For front-faced seats, it is recommended you check the car seat manufacturer's requirements. If the child has exceeded criteria from the rear-faced seat, its time to move on to the next type of restraint system.
Usually, children smaller than 4’’9', weighing between 40-80 pounds, should be provided with an adequate safety system recommended by the manufacturer's specifications.
Booster Seat Law
Like with the front-facing seat law, you need to check the manufacturer's specifications regarding the child's weight and height. Mainly, booster seats are reserved for children between the ages of 8 and 12.
Regarding booster seats, you should pay attention to two types:
Remember that upon purchasing a booster seat, it needs to consist of a seat belt and shoulder belt. When you installed the seat, the next step is proper restraining. The shoulder belt needs to go over the chest, never under the arm or over the neck. Also, the lap belt has to be fit across the lap, never the waist.
If the child is too big or too small to fit this way, a booster is not an option yet. The best option is to keep them in the front-faced for a little while. Some children lack the criteria for a booster seat, and that is perfectly normal.
Furthermore, the state of Maine has updated a section of the booster and front-faced seats. Children who weigh less than 55 lbs should be in a 5-point harness system.
Front Seat Law
To the recently updated, if your child is a 12-year-old or older weighing more than 100 pounds, it is allowed for front-seats rides. A seat belt is still necessary for all passengers and the driver.
Can You Leave A Child Alone In The Car?
Currently, no law states you cannot leave a child alone in the car. Still, it is not recommended to do so, even if it is for 5 minutes.
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Is Smoking In The Car Illegal?
Following the new law instructions, it is illegal to smoke with a child present in the vehicle. A fine for the violation of this law is $50.
Secondhand smoke exposure has proven to cause numerous child health issues such as SIDS, respiratory infections, asthma, and meningitis. Contrary to the popular opinion that smoke exposure is not that dangerous, children are more likely to suffer a higher risk. Due to the less developed immune system, you should consider the next time you smoke.
Even though opening a window can reduce exposure, it never entirely eliminates the danger.
Officers may even write you an issue warning also if you have an open window or are riding with a child over 15 years old.
Car Seat Laws in Maine Taxis
Though taxis are not obligated to provide a car seat, you are still in charge of bringing a one on your ride. You can find many car seats on the market that are foldable and suitable for a lightweight carry-on.
We always recommend you bring one if you plan to book a ride on a Taxi or an Uber. You never know when things can get complicated, so it's best to be prepared just in case.
Take your time on installing it, too; you should make sure it is attached well. Don't worry about the meter running. It is your responsibility as a parent or a guardian to keep your child safe throughout the ride.
Replacing The Car Seat After An Accident
There is no law regarding this issue in Maine. However, it is only logical you would check for damages and replace the seat after a collision.
Even if the seat is not damaged, you need to replace it. A seat is not adequate to protect after a crash.
Car Seat Help In Maine
Here is a helpful list of where you can get car seat help in Maine:
Keeping our children safe through transportation and traffic starts from one thing; Ourselves. We must provide them in an appropriate restraint system and make their rides risk-free and enjoyable.
By following the Maine car seat laws, your ride through Maine should be based on sound mind knowing you have protected the ones you love.