Delaware Car Seat Laws in 2021

Under Delaware law, when being transported in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways, a child up to seven years old or up to sixty-five pounds must be properly secured according to manufacturer’s instructions in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards and is appropriate for the child’s weight and height. 

A child between the ages of eight and fifteen or who weighs more than sixty-five pounds must be properly secured in a seatbelt. Under the law, every person who transports a child on Delaware’s roads is responsible for providing protection for that child by ensuring that he or she is correctly positioned in an appropriately sized car seat, booster seat, or seatbelt that complies with federal regulations.

Children Up to Seven Years Old

A child up to seven years old or up to sixty-five pounds must be properly secured according to manufacturer’s instructions in all seating positions in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards and is appropriate for the child’s weight and height. 

Children Eight to Fifteen Years Old

A child between the ages of eight and fifteen or who weighs more than sixty-five pounds must wear a properly secured seatbelt in all seating positions.

Penalties for Violations

You may be fined $25.00 for each violation of the child restraint system and seat belt law. Failing to provide a child restraint system or seat belt for more than one child in the same motor vehicle at the same time is not a separate offense and will incur only one fine.

Children Under Twelve Years Old in the Front Passenger Seat

A child under twelve years old or 65 inches or less in height may not ride in the front passenger seat of a vehicle unless the airbag has been deliberately rendered inoperable in compliance with federal law. 

Law Enforcement May Not Stop Your Vehicle for a Child in the Front Passenger Seat

A law enforcement officer may not stop your vehicle just because your child is riding in the front passenger seat and the officer suspects that your child is under twelve years old or 65 inches or less in height. A violation of the law prohibiting a child from riding in the front passenger seat is considered a secondary offense. A law enforcement officer may only charge you with this offense if your vehicle has been stopped for another primary offense.

Exemptions 

Operators or passengers of a motor bus, limousine, or taxicab are not required to secure a child in a child safety seat, booster seat, or seatbelt.

A child under twelve years old or 65 inches or less in height may ride in the front passenger seat of a vehicle if: the passenger-side airbag has been specifically designed or modified by the manufacturer to be used by children and small adults; the vehicle does not have a rear passenger seat; or all rear passenger seats are occupied by other children under twelve years old or 65 inches or less in height.

* Ms. Blake is licensed in the state of Maryland. The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Attorney Denise A. Blake*

Denise practices family law at Blake Law, LLC in Westminster, Maryland. She holds a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Family Law from the University of Baltimore School of Law.