Christiana Care Maternity

Car Seat Safety

Nationally, 8 out of 10 car seats are installed improperly. In Delaware, the car seat misuse rate is slightly higher. Several weeks before your due date, be sure to schedule your appointment at the Child Safety Seat Education Station by contacting the Parent Education Department. This will help to ensure that you understand the proper technique to install your car seat and keep your baby safe while driving.

Tips for families with small children:

  • According to Delaware law, a child in a car must be in a federally approved child restraint or booster seat through age 7 or until the child is heavier than 65 pounds. Infants should be reclined (no more than 45 degrees) and rear-facing until they are at least 1 year old and 20 pounds.
  • Even though the law only requires children to be restrained up to age 7, safety experts recommend that children remain in booster seats until they are both 8 years old and 80 pounds or 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
  • The newest recommendations by the AAP and NHTSA is to keep toddlers rear-facing until they meet the rear-facing weight limit of the rear-facing convertible seat, approximately 30 to 35 pounds, depending on the seat.
  • No child under 65 inches and under 12 years old should occupy the front seat of any vehicle equipped with a passenger-side air bag.

Not sure if your child needs to be in a booster seat?

Answer the following questions:

  • Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
  • Does the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the car’s seat?
  • Is the lap belt on the tops of the thighs?
  • Is the shoulder belt centered on the chest and the shoulder?
  • Can the child stay seated like this for the entire trip?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your child needs a booster seat. If your child’s car seat has been in a crash, it may need to be replaced. Contact your car-seat manufacturer if you have questions.

Parent Education Department
Christiana Hospital
4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, DE 19718 directions
302-733-2472

Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.