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Delaware Car Seat Laws You Need To Know (2023)

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When you’re planning a family trip to Delaware, it’s important that you make sure to follow local (or exceed) the child passenger safety laws.

Official Delaware Car Seat Laws

You can find the official Delaware car seat law in Title 21 §4803.

Delaware Rear-Facing Car Seat Law

Delaware does not specify how long children must be rear facing. At a minimum, parents are required to follow the guidelines set forth by the manufacturer of their specific car seat (referred to as “proper use”).

Some manufacturers permit children to forward face as young as 1 year as long as they weigh at least 22 pounds, while other manufacturers require toddlers to be at least 2 years old to forward face.

Rear-facing is significantly safer for children as it dramatically decreases the risk of head and neck injuries. This resource is full of great information.

The current guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that children should remain rear-facing to the limits of their convertible car seat. Nearly all convertible car seats today will accommodate kids up to 40 pounds (they have variable height limits so read your manual) – the size of an average 4 year old – rear facing.

Though it’s not specified by the law, research indicates that kids should continue riding in a harnessed car seat (whether rear-facing or forward-facing) until at least age 5, 40 pounds and mature enough to sit properly for the whole drive.

DE car seat law doesn’t specify how long kids need to be in a harnessed car seat, but all booster seats in the US currently carry a minimum requirement of 4 years old and 40lbs.

Delaware Booster Seat Law

Delaware requires children to ride in a car seat or booster seat until they reach 8 years old (the statute says “through the age of 7”) or 65lbs – but be aware that taking a child out of a booster at that age is extremely unsafe even if it’s a legal choice. Most children do not fit properly in an adults seatbelt until 10-12 years old, when they pass the 5-step test.

Be sure to follow manufacturer minimum and maximum size requirements for your booster seat – most manufacturers now require a minimum of 4 years old, 40″ tall and 40 pounds.

When Can Kids Ride In the Front Seat In Delaware?

Delaware law requires that kids ride in the back seat until they are at least 12 years old or 65″ tall unless the front airbag has been disabled (typically with a key switch, not just a weight sensor) or all spots in the back are occupied by younger children. However, many car manufacturers specify that kids should not ride in the front until age 13. Here’s an excellent explanation of why.

Upcoming Changes To Delaware Car Seat Law

There are no proposed changes to Delaware car seat laws at this time.

Get the latest from Delaware OHS

If you’ll be flying to Delaware, be sure to bring one of these travel car seats. If you’re planning a family road trip, consider one of these comfortable convertible car seats or comfortable booster seats. Check more car seat laws by state as you plan your route.

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