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. The fine for violating the law is $25.00. AND 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.
What is the Right Seat for My Child?
- 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.
- 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
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to keeping children rear facing until the age of 2 years. “In a new policy published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 21), the AAP advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.”
Where Can I Get My Child's Car Seat Checked?
Safe Kids Delaware trains anywhere between 20 and 30 individuals each year to become nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. These professionals must complete a 4 day 32-hour course and re-certify every two years. Safe Kids partner agencies the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Christiana Care Health Systems, and Nemours Alfred I DuPont Hospital for Children operate Fitting Stations where parents, grandparents and caregivers can make appointments to have their car seats checked. For a list of Fitting Station hours and contact information please click here. In addition throughout the year, Safe Kids and its partner agencies will hold free community car seat check events. To request a car seat check event for your organization, please contact Safe Kids Coordinator Mike O'Malley at safekids.state.de.us.
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