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New car seat law is focus of this year's Child Passenger Safety Week

Delaware Office of Highway Safety Facebook page

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week, and the Office of Highway Safety wants to bring awareness to Delaware’s new child restraint law.

The new law, enacted June 30th, adds specificity to the First State’s previous child restraint law.

The former law called for children to 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.

The new law requires children remain in a rear-facing seat until they are 2 years old and at least 30 lbs. They must remain in a harnessed car seat, whether that be rear-facing or forward-facing until they are 4 and weigh 40 lbs. And then they must remain in a booster seat until they reach the max height or weight listed by their booster seat manufacturer.

“And then one of the other changes we made with the law is that for a first offense, we got rid of the fine. We changed it so that the first offense is just a referral to one of our car seat fitting stations because this is not about trying to collect more money from people, this is just about keeping kids safe in the car. So, for the first offense, you just come visit us and we help to make sure your kiddos are riding safe,” said OHS Fitting Station Coordinator Aubrey Klick.

The new law also removes the fine for a first offense, replacing it with a referral to the Office of Highway Safety car seat fitting station.

In Delaware, 4 out of 5 child safety seats are not installed correctly.

There is a car seat fitting station in every county, and Klick says the appointments are free. Technicians help to assure parents and caregivers their car seats are installed and being used correctly.

“We make sure that before the caregiver leaves that they feel comfortable being able to do this on their own because we're not always around, but we want to make sure that they feel empowered to keep their kids safe in the car at all times,” explained Klick. “And we can also help with the different ages of stages of car seats, questions about when it’s time to move on to the next stage, and what type of seats they should be using for their child.”

As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, OHS is hosting two free car seat safety check events in Kent County.

The first is Thursday from 9am to 4pm at Smyrna Municipal Park, and the second is Saturday from 10am to 2pm at Brecknock Park in Camden.

More information and resources on car seat safety in the First State can be found at

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.