Safety First! Maine Updates on How Children Must be Secured in Cars


Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice has serviced Mainers for decades.  On June 14th, 2019, Governor Mills signed "An Act to Update the Laws Governing Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts".  Feel free to click the link to read the version loaded with legalesee, but the major updates are addressed below:

Children Under the Age of 2 Must Be: (<2 yrs, unless exceeding manufacturer’s weight limit)

  • Properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint or convertible child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions;
  • However, if your under 2 year old child exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit they may be secured in a forward-facing system.

Children 2 Years or Older AND Weighing Less than 55 Pounds: (>2 yrs,<55 lbs)

  • This section applies to any child above the age of 2 AND weighing less than 55 pounds;
  • They must be secured in a child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions.
  • No requirement to be rear facing.

Children Less than 8 AND, Less than 80 Pounds, AND Less than 57 inches in height: (<8 yrs,<80 lbs, <57 inches)

  • Remember this is once again "AND" language, which means all of the criteria need to be met to apply!
  • This group must be secured in a "properly secured belt positioning seat" (booster or car seat), in accordance with manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions.

Children Less than 12 Years Old AND Less than 100 Pounds: (<12 yrs, <100 lbs)

  • If possible, properly secured in the rear seat of the vehicle (seat belt).
  • The key language here is "if possible" but it is safe to assume most circumstances will make this possible.  Remember, this update to the law requires that for children less than 12 years of age AND under 100 pounds. 
  • Example: If you have a car full of 11 year olds, 3 of them weigh 90 pounds and 1 weighs 101 pounds, the 11 year old who weighs 101 pounds should sit in front.

All Other Children Under 18: (<18 yrs, doesn’t fit other categories)

  • Must be properly secured with a seat belt.

While there are the new laws of Maine, we ALWAYS recommend utilizing a seat belt.  It does not matter how old you are or how much experience you have on the road, an accident can happy at any time and without warning.

From all of us at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, please be safe.  For any Maine legal needs, please don’t hesitate to call us at 207-767-4824.  

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