Delaware’s Child Car Seat and Seat Belt Laws

Vehicle child safety seat requirements, including age and weight limits for different types of car seats.

Delaware has child safety seat and seat belt requirements that generally apply to all children. The type of restraint required varies depending on the age, weight, and height of the child and the guidelines of the child seat manufacturer.

Car Seats and Booster Seats

Child safety seat requirements. Under Delaware law, children who are younger than eight years old and weigh 65 pounds or less generally must be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal standards. (Federal law sets the safety requirements for all types of child safety seats.) The law also requires that the seat or restraint system be used in a manner that's consistent with the instructions of the manufacturer.

Type of car seat. Generally, there are three types of child safety seats: rear-facing, forward-facing, and boosters. Delaware law doesn't specify which type of car seats must be used for child vehicle passengers. Instead, the law requires parents to use safety seats in a manner consistent with the instructions of the safety seat manufacturer. So, in deciding which type of restraint system to use, parents should use manufacturer instructions as the guide.

When Children Can Use Normal Seat Belts

Delaware law generally allows children who are at least eight years old or weigh more than 65 pounds to use a normal seat belt.

When Can Children Sit in the Front Seat of a Car

Delaware law specifies that children who are 65 inches or shorter and younger than 12 years old generally can't ride in the front seat of a vehicle that has activated airbags (except where the airbags are specifically designed for children).

Exceptions to Child Seat and Seat Belt Laws

Delaware's child safety seat law doesn't contain any exceptions. However, Delaware's seat belt law specifies an exception where a person acquires a written verification from a physician or licensed physical therapist that the person can't wear a seat belt for medical reasons.

Child Seat and Seat Belt Violations

Child safety seat and seat belt violations carry a fine of $25 plus court costs.

Child Seat Information and Resources

For more information about child safety seats, you can go to the Delaware Office of Highway Safety website. Also, recalls are occasionally issued for child safety seats. To find out about recalls, you can register with the NHTSA to receive recall information about the seat you have or search for recalls that have already been issued.

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