Child Passenger Safety

Children are some of the most vulnerable passengers so it’s up to us to help keep them safe.

Keeping a child safe in a vehicle is one of the most important things that a parent or caregiver can do. From learning about the proper installation of car seats, when to move onto booster seats or seat belts, there are many things to know about Child Passenger Safety. Maryland’s network of child passenger safety partners can help you learn how to ensure a child’s safety while in a vehicle.


Car seats and boosters are one of the easiest ways to keep your child safe and when installed correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers.

  • 50%

    The percentage of car seats installed incorrectly.

    Kids in Safety Seats (KISS) offers FREE virtual installation consultations. Learn more.

  • 45%

    Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for young children (aged 4–8) when compared with seat belt use alone.

    Maryland’s law requires children under eight years old to ride in an appropriate child restraint unless they are 4’9″ or taller. Children eight to 16 years old, not riding in a child restraint, must be secured using a seat belt.

Your Child Deserves the Right Seat

Children grow – it’s a simple fact of life that can also be challenging as you look for the right car seat or booster seat. As children get older and go from one type of seat to another, finding the right seat is incredibly important and worth the time you put in.

NHTSA recommends that children ride rear-facing as long as possible, as long as the child is still within the height or weight limit allowed by a particular seat. Once a child reaches those height and weight limits, it’s generally OK for her or him to be placed in a forward-facing seat until they are ready for a booster seat. Below is a graphic for quick guidance, however, visit NHTSA’s car seat recommendation for a full guide.

But let’s face it, finding the right seat and using it properly can be very difficult. Additional tips and resources below will help you decide what’s right for your child. One thing is certain, children should always be buckled in.

Ensuring Your Child Is Safe

Below are safety tips to ensure your child is properly buckled. 

Get more details on buying the right car seat for your child.

Installing a car seat can sometimes be tricky. Get help by scheduling a car seat installation.

A properly-fitted seat and harness is the best protection for a child. Here are more details for getting the right fit.

Research shows that children whose parents buckle up are much more likely to buckle up themselves. Set a good example – Be the BUCKLED UP Driver.

Child Passenger Safety Partners

Maryland Highway Safety Office has a network of partners across the State committed to Child Passenger Safety.

Kids In Safety Seats

Kids In Safety Seats (KISS) is a state-wide program funded through the Maryland Highway Safety Office, but housed within the Maryland Department of Health.  KISS’s mission is to reduce injuries and death among Maryland’s children by helping people to obtain and use car seats and booster seats correctly every time a child rides in a motor vehicle.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a variety of resources and tools to determine the right car seat for children. NHTSA also provides updates on recalled seats.

Safe Kids - Maryland

Safe Kids - Maryland has seven in-state local Safe Kids coalitions and eight community partners that provide education and assistance to families across the State. They are led by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Service Systems (MIEMSS) through the EMS for Children’s Department which hosts two statewide meetings and supports two injury prevention conferences annually.

Occupant Protection Program Manager

Mark Wall

Distracted Driving & Occupant Protection Program Manager
Email Address
[email protected]