What You Need to Know About Delaware Car Seat Laws

Around 852 people from Delaware have died due to car accidents from 2003 to 2012. While in 2013 alone, a total of 100 people suffered from fatal crashes on the Delaware roadways. 

What makes these numbers more alarming is that a high percentage of these deaths are accounted for lack of proper use of buckles.

As parents, you may reduce the risk of serious injury or death to your children by following the child restraint Delaware car seat laws as well as the car seat recommendations from NHTSA.

Delaware Car Seat Laws

delaware car seat requirements

The Child Restraint in Motor Vehicles section of the Occupant Protection System Safety Act states 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."

Under the Delaware law, a person transporting a child on the road is highly responsible for providing the utmost protection by ensuring that the child is correctly positioned in an appropriately sized car seat, seat belt, or booster seat that is complying with the federal regulations.

Child Passenger Safety

To ensure the child passenger's welfare, it is crucial to understand the four stages of child passenger safety

1. Rear-Facing Car Seats in Delaware

A child from birth to 12 months should always ride a rear-facing car seat positioned at the back seat of the vehicle. It should be a size-appropriate, convertible, and comes with a harness to reduce stress on the neck and spinal cord.


2. Forward-Facing Car Seats in Delaware

Delaware is not really particular between the use of rear-facing and forward-facing types of car seats. Nevertheless, a child can use a forward-facing car seat with a harness once the rear-facing car seat has been outgrown.

This can be used until the child reaches the weight limit or top height allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat.


3. Booster Seats in Delaware

delaware child car seat laws

A booster seat that is positioned in the back seat is recommended for children up to 65 pounds. However, some experts suggest that it is safe for use until 80 pounds.


4. Seat Belts in Delaware

A child between eight and fifteen or those weighing more than 65 pounds must be properly secured with a seatbelt in all seating positions.

Can a Child Occupy the Front Seats?

As stated in the Delaware Law subsection, a child below twelve years old or 65 inches in height is not allowed to occupy the front seat of the vehicle, unless an airbag has been intentionally rendered inoperable in compliance to the standards of the federal law.

However, this does not apply to any vehicles with a specifically designed passenger-side airbag dedicated for the use of children and small adults.

Important:

Law enforcement officers may not stop your vehicle if they suspect that the child in the front seat is under 12 years old or less than 65 inches in height since the violation of this law is only a secondary offense.

They can only charge you with this matter if the vehicle you are driving has been stopped for another primary offense.

Can a Child Be Left Unattended in a Car Seat?

delaware state car seat laws

Delaware has no known law that involves leaving a child in a car seat or a car. But, it is always recommended to leave younger children with older ones. 

Is Smoking Allowed in Vehicles?

As stated in Delaware's Clean Indoor Air Act Regulations, smoking is prohibited in any private vehicle that is used as a means of public transportation for children, such as daycare and health care transportation.

However, the smoking prohibition does not apply when a private automobile is concerned.

Violations

Any violation of the car seat law is punishable by a fine of $25 for every violation. In the case that there is more than one child in the same vehicle at the same time lacking a restraint system, it shall not be treated as a separate offense.

Moreover, the violation of this law shall not be considered or used as evidence for any civil suit or criminal action.

Exemptions

Taxis, motorbus, or limousines are not required to place a child in a safety seat, booster seat, or seatbelt.

Children under twelve years old or less than 65 inches in height are allowed to occupy the front passenger seat:

  • If there is a specifically designed airbag in the passenger-side.
  • If the vehicle doesn't come with a rear passenger seat.
  • If other children occupy all the rear passenger seats.

Want to have your car seat checked? The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) offers free appointments through their fitting stations. For more information about Delaware's car seat, kindly visit the site.

Familiarize yourself with Delaware's car seat laws, not only for your benefit but for your children's welfare.