According to Delaware car seat law, children under 8 years old and 65 lbs must be securely strapped in a child safety seat that has been authorized by the federal government and is suitable for their size, weight, and height.

Utilizing a car safety seat is the safest approach to protect a kid while in a car. According to the official website of the state of Delaware, four out of every five kid safety seats are improperly installed. Since children weigh less, they are more prone to much greater injuries and fatalities during a crash. 

This article will introduce you to the new and updated version of the Delaware car seat law, which will surely answer all your queries about the do’s and don’ts of this law and avoid any possible penalties. 

delaware car seat laws

Specifications of the Delaware Car Seat Laws

The car seat law in the state of Delaware declares that “All children must be properly restrained in a federally approved child safety seat appropriate for the child’s age, weight and height up to 8 years of age or 65 lbs whichever comes first.”

Moreover, minors aged 8 to 15 must be properly restrained in a seatbelt. If there are active airbags in the front passenger seating position, children under the age of 12 or 65 inches in height are still obliged to sit in the back seat.

Four types of safety seats 

To ensure that your child is safe in any way possible, parents must first know the different types of seats suitable for their child.

Rear-facing seat type

Infant car seats are designed to cradle and protect tiny children, such as newborns and toddlers. Weight restrictions, in most cases, range between 30 and 65 pounds. This car seat should always face the back of the vehicle. Your baby’s head must fit with at least an inch to spare under the top rim of the seat.

Forward-facing seat 

Before the transition to a forward-facing seat, children should reach the maximum height or weight restriction of their rear-facing car seat. Convertible car seats in the forward-facing position are typically rated for 22-65 pounds. These forward-facing seats are often equipped with 5-point harnesses and adjustable headrests to allow them to grow with your child.

Booster Seat

As your child outgrows an internal harness seat, it’s time to upgrade to a belt-positioning booster seat. Using a booster seat is critical since most children do not fit correctly into an adult seat belt until they are around 4’9 inches tall.

Booster seats work by raising your youngster such that the car seat belt crosses their body adequately in the middle of their shoulder and chest. The majority of booster seats on the market are designed for children weighing between 40 and 120 pounds. It is suggested to only use a booster seat once your child has outgrown a forward-facing seat with a harness.

Lap-shoulder belt

Lastly, after your child has outgrown his or her booster seat, he or she can utilize the lap-shoulder vehicle seat belt. This is usually when your child is 8 years old or older, weighs more than 40 pounds, and stands higher than 4 feet 9 inches.

When to use the different types of safety seats

Car Seat law for children (infants to 12-year olds)

According to Delaware’s Car seat law, children ages 15 and below are required to use the appropriate safety restraints suitable for their age, weight, and height.

Rear-facing seat and Forward-facing seat guidelines

In terms of car seats for children, rear-facing seats are the most advisable for infants and toddlers. According to Delaware’s Car Seat Guidelines, when a child is placed in a rear-facing seat, the harness strap must be snug. When you grab the harness webbing at your baby’s collarbone, you should not be able to pinch it between your fingers. 

In the case of a collision, rear-facing car seats keep a child’s head, neck, and spine in a straight line, lowering the chance of severe spinal damage. Kids should keep using this seat until they have reached the manufacturer’s specified height and weight restrictions. Or, at the very least, until they are two years old.

Delaware Forward-facing seat Laws

Children who have surpassed the upper height and weight limits of their rear-facing convertible car seat should be moved to the back seat of the vehicle and placed in a forward facing five-point harness car seat. If you’re using a convertible car seat, be sure it’s in the forward-facing position, as directed by the manufacturer. 

Harness straps should be at or above the child’s shoulders and pass the pinch test. Check that the chest clip is at the armpit level. When using a five-point harness with a front facing child, the top tether should be used whenever possible.

Delaware Booster Seat Laws

The suggested starting age for switching to a booster is 5 years old, according to the official website of Delaware’s Car Seat Guidelines. Children must be mature enough to sit upright and remain in the proper position for the whole of the car ride, even if they fall asleep. Booster seats raise children so that seatbelts rest across the strong bones of the chest and pelvis rather than the belly and neck, where they could cause catastrophic injury in a collision. 

In the event of a car accident, a lap belt that crosses the child’s stomach could inflict internal injuries. The shoulder strap should straddle the child’s chest rather than his or her neck. Until they are between the ages of 10 and 12, most children require a booster.

Lap-shoulder seat guidelines

Lap-shoulder belts can be used by your child once they reach the age of 8 or weigh 65 pounds, whichever comes first, as stated in Delaware’s law.

 The lap-shoulder belt should rest low and tight on their hips and cross the center of their chest. Your child’s back should be flush against the seat back, and his or her legs should be bent over the seat edge, feet flat on the floor. If they can maintain this posture for the duration of the journey, they are ready for the seatbelt. 

Delaware’s car seat guidelines for adolescents (16 year olds)

Your child must continuously and consistently wear the lap-shoulder seat belt until the age of 16, ideally in the rear seat. After the age of 16, Delaware’s basic seat belt requirement takes effect.

when can a child sit in the front seat in Delaware

According to the guidelines of the state of Delaware, in order to ride in the front seat, the child must be at least 12 years old or at least 5 feet 5 inches tall. The majority of specialists advise waiting until your child is 13 years old. 

Since front seats are often equipped with an airbag, people sitting in the front seat must be able to withstand the impact of an airbag in the event of an accident. The force of an airbag deployment might cause catastrophic damage to a young child seated in the front seat. As a result, even if your child is of legal driving age, it is suggested that you slide their seat all the way back.

Penalties for Disobeying the Delaware Car Seat Law

Car seat law is made in order to protect your child in any severe injuries during a collision. Aside from putting your child in danger, in the state of Delaware, there is a $25 fine once caught not following the guidelines regarding the car seats appropriate for your child. 

If any parents are interested in having their car seats checked, Delaware offers a free car set check. Just contact the Office of Highway Safety to make an appointment at their fitting stations, which can be found here.

Other regulations governing minors inside a vehicle

Despite the state of Delaware not having legislation governing all elements of child transportation, parents should still follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines. The guidelines include utilizing the appropriate kid seat or safety restraint for your children at all times. This includes carrying your own car seat or hiring one when taking a cab or Uber. 

 

There is no specific legislation in Delaware that states whether or not children can be left unsupervised in a car. It is illegal to smoke in a vehicle with a kid passenger under the age of 12. There is no law governing the transportation of passengers in a truck bed, however, seatbelt and car seat requirements may apply. In terms of the Car seat regulations, taxis are not required to adhere to the law. However, it remains unclear whether Uber drivers are exempted as well.

 

Likewise, never leave a small kid unsupervised in a car for any period of time. The safety of your children in your vehicle should be your topmost priority.

Conclusion

Delaware’s Child Restraint Law directly states that all children from birth up to 8 years old must be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat based on their age, height, and weight. 

In addition, children ages 8-15 years old must be adequately restrained with a seatbelt. If there are airbags in the front seat, children under the age of 12 or under 65 inches in height are still obliged to sit in the rear seat of the vehicle. 

One of the major responsibilities of parents is keeping their children safe, especially in times of travel where accidents can occur when you least expect it. Car Seat Law is made to protect the children by requiring their parents to install the appropriate car safety seat for them in terms of their height, weight, and age. 

Following the state’s car seat law does not only mean you are performing your duties as a citizen by obeying a law but it also means that you are allowing yourself to become a responsible parent who takes care of your children in times of travel. 

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren