On October 1, 2022, Maryland updated its child passenger safety (CPS) law to more closely align with laws in neighboring states. The addition to the law requiring car seat or booster seat use until age 8 requires that children under age two must face the rear of the vehicle in their car seat. Children are safest if they stay rear-facing until they reach the rear-facing weight limit of their convertible or all-in-one type of car seat. These seats can be used in that manner until 40 or 50 lbs., so very rarely would a child under age 2 be heavy or tall enough to meet the new law’s exemption to turn forward-facing early. Crash testing and real crashes prove that children get extra protection to their head and spinal cord from being rear-facing until age 3 or more!
This advice has been part of best practice for years but not all parents are following it. To help educate families of this lifesaving information, EMS and healthcare clinicians can get free CPS materials from MIEMSS’ CPS Healthcare Project. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for handouts, reference materials, and posters. Families can get virtual or in-person assistance with their car seats through Maryland Kids in Safety Seats or (phone) 1-800-370-SEAT.