Delaware Car Seat Laws (Everything You Should Know)

Delaware Car Seat Laws (Everything You Should Know) featured image

Did you know that car seats that are used properly can reduce children’s death in car accidents by 58%?

It’s no wonder that the State of Delaware enacts strict car seat laws. On top of that, it also has seatbelt laws for the adults’ safety. 

But what exactly are these laws?

And what are the penalties for breaking them?

Well, in this article, you will learn everything you should know about Delaware car seat laws. We’ll talk about:

  • The seatbelt laws in Delaware
  • The car seat laws in Delaware
  • The penalties for breaking seatbelt/car seat laws
  • Misconceptions about seatbelts 

So shall we? 

What are the Delaware Seatbelt Laws? 

In Delaware, All adults in the vehicle, whether seated at the front or back, are required to wear their seatbelts properly

There are a few things to note here.

First, it says “ALL” passengers. Yes, that means even if you are seated at the back, you need to buckle up, too. This needs to be cleared because some states only require the front seaters to wear safety belts. 

Another word to note is “PROPERLY”. It’s not enough to just wear the seatbelt; you have to wear it properly. If not, then you can still get ticketed as the law clearly states that it should be worn how it’s supposed to be worn. 

We tell you how to wear your seatbelt properly below. 

Also, it is required to wear a seatbelt even if your vehicle has airbags. Sure, airbags can protect you, but only from the front. 

These Delaware seatbelt laws are considered primary laws. This means that a traffic enforcer can stop you and give you a ticket if they see you are not wearing your seatbelt (or wearing it improperly).

The Proper Way of Wearing a Seatbelt

Delaware law is very clear that you should wear your seatbelt properly. 

But what is the right way to wear it? 

The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) states that the shoulder and waist belts must be in place. This means that the shoulder strap goes over your shoulders, while the waist belt goes over your waist. 

This is important as wearing just one belt is not going to be sufficient in protecting you from serious injuries in a crash. 

Not only that, but the seatbelt should be snug. It won’t work as effectively if it is too loose. 

And finally, you need to make sure that the seatbelt is fastened to the lock. It won’t be of any use if you do not lock it in place. 

Remember, if you don’t follow just one of these proper ways, you can get a ticket for it. 

What are the Delaware Car Seat Laws?

When it comes to car crashes, children are in the most danger. They are the ones most likely to experience severe injuries or even death. 

This is why the State of Delaware has a separate law for car seats. 

This law states that “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.”

Children under 12 years old or under 65 inches are also NOT allowed to stay in the front seat of an airbag-equipped car. 

And yes, this is a primary law, too. 

Now, the law doesn’t specify whether the car seat should be front-facing or rear-facing. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given recommendations on the safest car seats to use depending on the child’s age and weight.

Here is a table showing that:

0-12 monthsRear-facing car seat
1-3 years old or until the maximum height or weight capacity of the car seatRear-facing car seat 
4-7 years oldForward-facing car seat with a harness
8-12 years oldBooster seat until they can wear the seatbelt properly

Of course, this will depend on your child. 

If, at 8 years old, the seatbelt still cannot be worn properly or comfortably, the NHTSA recommends putting your child on a booster seat for the time being. 

Delaware Car Seat Law Penalties

Anyone who is spotted disobeying the Delaware seatbelt laws will be fined $25. You will also need to pay the court fees, which will total the payment to $83.50.

The Delaware car seat laws have the same penalties. 

You might be thinking, “oh, that isn’t a harsh penalty at all. I can afford that.”

Sure. But why will you put your and your child’s life in danger?

The Misconceptions About Seatbelts

Even to this day, some people don’t believe in the protection of seatbelts. In fact, they think the opposite about them, thanks to a few false claims. 

Well, we’re here to set the most common misconceptions straight. This way, you won’t violate the Delaware seatbelt/car seat law, plus you can keep everyone safe. 

So let’s go through a few of these seatbelt misconceptions. 

“I don’t need a seatbelt when I’m just driving around town.”

Even when you’re driving in places you’re familiar with, you can never say when an accident might happen. 

For example, some people may not be as familiar with the roads as you. In turn, this could cause them to look at maps or be distracted. And because of that, they get into a crash with you. 

So even if you know the roads around town, you’re not entirely sure about other people’s driving. It’s still best to wear seatbelts as an additional safety measure. 

“Seatbelts trap me inside the car.”

If it’s a matter of being trapped in the car, you can always unfasten your seatbelt. Plus, unfastening it is very simple. So you can remove it straight away if ever you decide to jump out of the car to avoid a collision. 

On the other hand, if you’re concerned that it keeps you on your seat during a collision, well, that is exactly the seatbelts job. This is because, without it, you might be thrown to the side, or worse, to the windshield.

“I can brace myself at slow speeds.”

In theory, this might be possible. But in reality, getting hit, no matter the speed, will have a powerful impact on you and your car. 

If you’re not wearing a seatbelt, this impact can throw you. Or, it can give you a whiplash, which is dangerous to your spine, limbs, and head. 

“I don’t need a seatbelt since my car has an airbag.”

The purpose of a seatbelt and an airbag are very different from each other. A seatbelt prevents you from being thrown out of the car or getting pushed forward. As for an airbag, it provides cushions when you’ve already been hit

An airbag doesn’t keep you in place. Relying on an airbag in place of a seatbelt will not lessen the injuries you receive when you are thrown around. 


So that was everything you needed to know about the Delaware car seat laws, as well as the seatbelt laws.

And sure, the penalties might not be so harsh. However, why will you put your life and the life of your passengers and children at risk?

So always remember to WEAR YOUR SEATBELT!

It doesn’t take much effort on your part. 

And if you believe any of the misconceptions, then know that it is not true. You are only putting yourself in more danger. 

Safety should always be your number one priority!

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