Delaware Car Seat Laws 2022 (Rear, Forward & Booster)

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Delaware car seat laws state that a child younger than 8 years and weighing less than or equal to 65 pounds must be restrained in a federally-approved appropriate child safety restraint. Those aged 8 years or weighing more than 65 pounds but are less than 16 years old must wear a seatbelt. 

Disclaimer: The content in this article does not, in any manner, constitute legal advice. It is solely for the purpose of providing information. The law is amended from time to time and information in this article may not always be up to date. We recommend you check the original source of the law.

Delaware Car Seat Laws

Delaware Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

There is no definite rear-facing car seat law in Delaware. The general law requires all children under 8 years of age and weighing up to and including 65 pounds to be restrained in a federally approved car seat. (1) However, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) states that children less than 1 year old must ride in a rear-facing seat. (2) 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends that a child should ride in an infant rear-facing until they reach the upper height and weight limits of the seat prescribed by the manufacturer. 

The rear-facing car seat age in Delaware is not prescribed under the Delaware child seat laws. As per the OHS recommendations, the child should ride rear-facing at least till the age of 2. (2)

There is a penalty of $25 for violating the Delaware rear-facing child seat law.

Age: Recommended: Newborn to 2 years
Weight: Less than or equal to 65 pounds
Penalty: $25

Delaware Forward-Facing Car Seat Law

There is no express forward-facing car seat law in Delaware. Under Delaware state law, all children under the age of 8 years and weighing up to 65 pounds must be secured in a child passenger safety restraint. (1)

There is no mention of when to put a child in a forward-facing seat. Certain vehicles such as a bus, taxi and limousine are exempt from these requirements.  

The legal forward-facing car seat age in Delaware is unclear. According to the Delaware OHS, children should remain in a forward-facing seat with a harness till they reach the maximum height and weight limits of the seat. (2) This may occur between the ages of 2 to 7 years. 

Any violation of the Delaware forward-facing child seat law will result in a penalty of $25. 

Age: Less than 8 years (Recommended: 2 to 7 years)
Weight: Less than or equal to 65 pounds
Penalty: $25

Delaware Booster Seat Law

According to the child booster seat law in Delaware, a child younger than 8 years and weighing up to 65 pounds must be secured in a federally-approved booster seat that is appropriate for their height and weight. (1) This does not apply when traveling in a bus, taxi, or limousine. 

Though the booster seat age in Delaware is 1 through 7 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that a child ride in booster sets till they are big enough to wear the seatbelt. You can get a backless booster seat if your vehicle has headrests. It raises the child to allow the seat belt to fit securely. Or, you can get a high-back booster seat if your car lacks headrests. 

Disobeying the Delaware booster seat requirements carry a fine of $25. 

Age: Less than 8 years (Recommended: 4 to 12 years)
Weight: Less than or equal to 65 pounds
Penalty: $25

Delaware Child Front Seat Law

According to the child front seat law in Delaware, a child 65 inches or shorter in height and aged under 12 years shall not sit in the front seat of a vehicle that has a passenger-side airbag. (1)  The airbag must be deactivated according to federal law. 

They can occupy the front seat if the vehicle does not have a rear seat. They can also sit in front if all other seats in the back are occupied by children younger than 12 years and standing 65 inches tall or shorter. Thus, the front seat age in Delaware is 12 years. There are no weight specifications. 

A vehicle that has a passenger-side airbag specially designed or modified by the vehicle manufacturer for children is exempt from these requirements. There is a fine of $25 for violating these rules. 

Age: Less than 12 years
Height: 65 inches or taller
Penalty: $25

Delaware Child Seat Belt Law

According to the child seat belt law in Delaware, all children who have attained the age of 8 years or weigh more than 65 pounds and are less than 16 years old must wear a seatbelt. (1)

This applies whether they are seated in the front seat or backseat. However, the AAP recommends that a child stays in a booster seat till the seat belt can fit them properly. 

Those above 16 years of age also have to wear an adult safety belt unless they have a statement from a doctor saying that they cannot wear a seatbelt due to medical reasons. These seat belt rules in Delaware do not apply to a bus, limousine, or taxicab. 

Not wearing a seat belt as per the requirements of Delaware children’s seat belt law will attract a fine of $25. 

Age: 8 to 16 years
Weight: 65+ pounds
Penalty: $25

Delaware Taxi Child Seat Law

According to the taxi child seat law in Delaware, taxis are exempt from having a car seat. (1) The taxi driver is not responsible for providing a taxi child seat in Delaware. 

Despite that, it is safe to secure children as per the Delaware car seat regulations. The parent or caregiver should carry a federally approved child passenger safety seat that is suitable for the child’s age and height. The Delaware OHS recommends different seats for different age groups. (2)

Infants under the age of 1 year must ride in a rear-facing seat. Once they outgrow it, they can switch to a forward-facing seat with a harness. They should ride forward-facing through ages 3 to 7 years. They can then ride a booster seat till the seat belt fits them properly. 

Delaware Ridesharing Child Seat Law

The ridesharing child seat law in Delaware is unclear. It does not state who is responsible for providing a child seat. Neither does it expressly mention ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft. 

According to the car seat laws in Delaware, children less than 8 years old and weighing up to and including 65 pounds must be restrained in a federally-approved appropriate child safety restraint. (1)

Those aged 8 years or weighing more than 65 pounds but are less than 16 years old must wear a seatbelt. The only types of vehicles exempt from these regulations are a motor bus, limousine and taxicab.

Since the law is unclear, either the caregiver or driver should carry an appropriate car seat. It will protect the child and may also prevent any unintentional violation of the law.

Delaware Child Seat Replacement Law

There is no express child seat replacement law in Delaware. However, the NHTSA recommends replacing the child safety seat if your vehicle is involved in a moderate or severe accident in Delaware. It may have defects that are not visible to the eye. Therefore, you must replace the car seat. 

There is no need for a child seat replacement after an accident if the crash was low impact. A low-impact accident is when no vehicle passenger sustains injuries, the vehicle was driven away from the crash site, the airbags didn’t deploy, the door nearest to the car seat was not damaged and there was no visible damage to the car seat.  

You must also replace the car seat after it has passed its expiry date stated by the manufacturer or your child has outgrown it. 

Leaving Child in The Car in Delaware

There is no law on leaving a child in a vehicle in Delaware. But you should not leave your child alone in a vehicle even for a minute. There are many risks associated with it. The AAP has highlighted the dangers of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. These include heatstroke, dehydration, abduction, injury, and in worst cases, death. 

Heatstroke is the most common risk. The temperatures inside a car can rise quickly. Since children’s body temperature can rise 3-5 times as quickly as adults, they can suffer a permanent disability or die within minutes. 

Even though leaving a child in the car in Delaware is not technically illegal, you should not do it. If the child is injured, the adult responsible for the act can face serious legal consequences.

Choosing a Child Car Seat in Delaware

A car seat has to comply with the child seat requirements in Delaware. The best approach is to follow the NHTSA recommendations. A seat that is appropriate for your child’s age, height, and weight is the best car seat to use in Delaware. 

When choosing a car seat in Delaware for infants and toddlers, make sure you pick up a rear-facing seat. Once they outgrow it, they can ride in a forward-facing seat with a harness. You can even get a convertible seat that works as both. 

Young children must ride in a booster seat. The best booster seat to use in Delaware is one that allows the seat belt to fit firmly across your child’s shoulders and lap. 

Car Seat Installation Help in Delaware

Car seat installation can be a complicated task if you have not done it before. You have to refer to the car seat and vehicle manual to understand how to use the lower anchors and seat belts to install the seat.

To help you with the installation of child passenger safety seats in Delaware, there are multiple fitting stations with certified child passenger safety (CPS) technicians. 

Delaware Car Seat Safety Resources

Some resources specific to Delaware include:

FAQ

How long should a child ride in a rear-facing car seat in Delaware?

The law does not say it directly. But it is recommended that a child should ride in a rear-facing car seat till the age of 2 years. 

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in Delaware?

No, you cannot put a rear-facing seat in the front seat if your vehicle has a backseat. If there is no backseat, then you can put it in front with the airbag deactivated. 

Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat in Delaware?

Yes, you can put a rear-facing car seat in the middle seat if your vehicle has lower anchors for the middle seat that can hold the car seat tightly. 

When can a baby face forward in a car seat in Delaware?

The law does not specifically mention anything. But the NHTSA recommends that a baby can face forward once they turn 2 years old or outgrow their rear-facing seat.

How old for a booster seat in Delaware? 

Children younger than 8 years and weighing up to 65 pounds can ride in a booster seat. But it is recommended that children ride in boosters till they’re big enough for the set belt. 

When to use a backless booster seat in Delaware? 

You can use a backless booster seat only if your vehicle seat has a head rest and the child’s ears are not higher than the seat back. 

When can a child sit in the front seat in Delaware?

A child can sit in the front seat if they are taller than 65 inches and at least 12 years old. They can also sit in front if there is no backseat. 

When can a child sit in the front seat with a booster in Delaware?

A child can sit in the front seat with a booster if the vehicle does ot have a rear seat or all rear seats are occupied by children.

When can a child stop using a booster seat in Delaware?

A child can legally stop using a booster seat after they turn 8 years old or weigh more than 65 pounds. But they should stay in a booster till the seat belt fits them properly. 

When to switch from 5 point harness to a seat belt in Delaware?

A child 8 years old can wear a seat belt under Delaware law. But they should ideally switch to a seatbelt when they outgrow the 5-point harness. 

When can a child use a regular seat belt in Delaware?

A child who is 8 years old or weighs more than 65 pounds and is less than 16 years old can use a regular seat belt. 

Do you need a car seat in a taxi in Delaware?

Taxicabs are not required to have a car seat. But the parent/caregiver should carry a car seat that is suitable for the child’s age and weight. 

Do you need a car seat in a Uber in Delaware?

The law is unclear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide a federally approved and appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety. 

Do you need a car seat in a Lyft in Delaware? 

The law is not clear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide a federally approved and appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety. 

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