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Car Seat Law

Delaware's child restraint law reads:  "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."

Additionally, children 8 through 15 years old are required to be properly secured in a seatbelt. Children under 12 years old or 65 inches in height are still required to sit in the back seat if there are active airbags in the front passenger seating position.

The fine for violating the law is $25.00 plus court costs.

Free Car Seat Checks Open to the Public

Contact the Office of Highway Safety to make an appointment at one of our fitting stations. Download the child passenger safety brochure to see which seat is appropriate for your child.

What is the Right Seat for My Child?

As research and technology in child passenger safety evolves, the answer is frequently changing. In short, the 'best' car seat is the one that fits your child, fits your vehicle and one you will use every time your child is in the car. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration updated its guidelines as of March 2011 to make that answer easier for parents.

In short:

  • Under the age of 1 – Children must always ride rear facing
  • Ages 1 through 3 – Keep your children rear facing for as long as possible in either an infant or rear facing convertible seat. They should remain rear facing until the height and weight limit for rear facing use on that seat has been reached. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older
  • Ages 4 through 7 – Keep children in a forward facing seat with a harness to the maximum height and weight limit allowed by the seat. Then transition them to a booster seat.
  • Ages 8 through 12 – Keep children in a booster seat until they either exceed the height/weight requirement for remaining in a booster seat or until they are big enough to fit the criteria for fitting appropriately in a seat belt. The shoulder belt should lie across the shoulder and chest, not cross the neck or face, and the lap belt must lie across the upper thighs not the stomach.

For more information, view the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.


  • Children are 5 times safer riding rear facing than forward facing
  • Do not rush to transition your children to the next step
  • 4 out of 5 child safety seats in Delaware are not installed correctly

Need Help Interpreting the Guidelines?

Call one of the CPS Fitting Station Coordinators.