Colorado car seat laws state that for children under 1 year old and 20 lbs, a rear-facing seat must be used in the backseat only and for children under 1 year old within 20-40 lbs, a rear-facing backseat can be used in any seat.
You must use a safety first rear-facing car seat for children aged 1-3 under 20 lbs. If they’re within 20-40 lbs, either a rear-or forward facing car seat can be used.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, in 2022, 745 lives were lost to traffic fatalities, the most traffic fatalities in the state since 1981, and a 57% increase from 10 years ago. The report also states that for every fatality, there are 5 serious injuries caused by the crashes. While these statistics are worrying, it serves to explain the importance of car seat laws, and why they must be adhered to.
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about Colorado car seat laws for various ages, weight and car seats.
Overview of Colorado’s Car Seat Laws
Colorado’s car seat laws are divided by children’s age and weight. There are four different categories separated by age, labeled as:
- younger than 1: Children younger than 1 and under 20lbs must be rear-facing in the back seat only, and those between 20-40 lbs, a rear-facing seat should be used.
- 1-3: For children between the ages of 1-3 under 20 lbs must use a rear-facing car seat. When they’re between 20-40 lbs, a rear- or forward-facing car seat should be used. If they exceed the weight limit or are above 40 lbs, a forward facing or booster seat should be used.
- 4-7: Children between the ages of 4-7 must be in the forward-facing or booster seat.
- 8-15: For children between the ages of 8-15, a booster or seat belt must be used.
NB: Colorado car seat laws also states that all seats must be fitted and installed according to the vehicle’s
|Age/Weight||Younger than 1||1 – 3||4 – 7||8 – 15|
|20 lbs.||Rear-facing car seat in back seat only||Rear-facing car seat|
|20 – 40 lbs.||Rear-facing car seat||Rear- of forward-facing car seat||Booster seat or forward facing car seat|
|Above seat weight limit or above 40 lbs.||Forward- facing or booster seat||Forward- facing or booster seat||Booster car seat or seat belt|
NB: owner’s manual and instructions from the manufacturers.
The state of Colorado has put in place laws and guides to help parents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, or whoever may be driving with a child, to ensure that children are safe and tragedies are avoided.
Throughout the United States, states have created laws explaining how a child should be secured into a passenger seat, when they need to be buckled in with a booster seat or the standard seatbelt. The laws consider facts such as the child’s height, weight, and age when determining which car seat is best for them.
Colorado’s Child Passenger Safety Law explains in depth how and when a child should be secured in a passenger seat. This law is made to keep children safe and is not a suggestion. Parents or caregivers can be ticketed for not securing a child properly because it is their responsibility to do so.
Colorado Rear-facing Car Seat Law
According to Colorado car seat laws, children must remain in rear-facing car seats form when a child is younger than 1 and up to 3 years old based on the weight requirements. If a child is younger than 1 and less than 20 lbs, then the rear-facing car seat should be used. This car seat should be secured only in the back seat of the car for those weighing under 20 lbs.
If the child is under the age of 1 and in the 20 to 40 lbs range, then they must be secured in a rear-facing car seat as well. It can be put in the passage seat next to the driver.
If the backseat can be used then the backseat is recommended along with always using a rear-facing car seat for a child under 1 years old. Rear-facing car seats should not be placed in front of an active airbag and are recommended to be placed in the backseats.
For children aged 1-3, the use of a rear-facing car seat depends on the weight of the child. If the child is less than 20 lbs, then they must be secured with a rear-facing car seat. If the child is 20 to 40 lbs, then they can either be secured with a rear or front facing car seat. It is recommended to use the rear-facing car seat for as long as possible.
Colorado Forward-facing Car Seat Law
According to Colorado car seat laws, forward-facing car seat laws are specified for children aged 1 to 7 and need to meet certain weight requirements. Most children at ages 1 to 3 will not meet the weight requirements to use a forward-facing car seat, which is 20lbs and above.
However, if a child aged 1 to 3 exceeds the seat weight limit and weight limit of 40 lbs, then they are eligible to be buckled in with a forward-facing car seat.
The law specifies that children aged 4 to 7 and are 20-40 lbs need to be buckled in with a forwards-facing car seat. It also specifies that children 4 to 7 need to be in a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat.
It is recommended to keep children in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible. If a car accident were to occur it is better for a toddler’s head since their heads are not yet stable.
For example, if a toddler is in a car that gets rear- ended in a forward-facing car seat their head would be thrown forward which can cause permanent damage. While in a rear-facing car seat that would not happen.
Colorado Child Booster Seat Law
As stated by Colorado car seat laws, booster seats are for children aged 1 to 15 and that meet the proper weight requirements or are above 20 lbs. This law is broader than the rear and forward-facing car seat laws.
Booster seats are meant to help in boosting your child up so that the seatbelt crosses their shoulder securing the child in the seat. Without meeting proper weight and height requirements can cause your child harm in a car accident.
What is the booster seat law in Colorado?
The booster seat laws in Colorado range for children aged 1 to 15. The reason why the booster seat law ranges as early as 1 is to accommodate for children over the ages of 1 that exceed car seat weight limit or weigh above 40 lbs.
Since most children do not exceed the weight limit and are not tall enough, a booster seat shouldn’t be used until a child is at least 4 years old and meets weight requirements. The law is more suited to children aged 4 to 15.
The most important aspect to look out when a child is using a booster seat is to make sure their weight meets the law’s requirements, and that the seat belt goes over the child’s shoulder.
When a child is being secured in a booster seat the seat belt cannot go over their chest or be up against their neck. The lap belt should be secured over the child’s thighs and not over the stomach. If any of those are the case, then switching back to a forward-facing car seat would be a good idea so the child is properly secured.
What are the height and weight requirements for a booster seat in Colorado?
As of right now, in Colorado there are no specified height requirements stated. The weight requirements for children using booster seats in Colorado are for those who exceed the seat weight limit and are more than 40 lbs and are for children in age range 1-3 are. Using a booster seat for this age range is very unlikely.
For children aged 4 to 7 they are eligible to use a booster seat being in the 20 to 40 pound range or the 40 pound or more range. This is because Colorado is accounting for children who may be less weight but are tall enough to use booster seats.
Although height is not a requirement or specification the belt still needs to cross their shoulders and their upper thighs. Not over their chest, face, neck, or their stomach.
Colorado car seat laws front seat
In Colorado, there are no specific front seat car laws for children. Following Colorado’s front seat car suggestions of not having a child under 13 sit in the front and the vehicle manufactures safety guidelines would be best.
The vehicle manufacturers will have a warning about children in the front seat because if a car accident were to occur the air bag may cause the child more harm than good.
What age can a child sit in the front seat in Colorado?
The age that a child can sit in the front seat of a car without any car seats would be up to when the child does not need to use a booster seat anymore. There is no specific age that the state of Colorado requires. The only age specified by the state of Colorado is that a child under the age of 1 and under the weight requirement must ride in the back of the car.
For a child above the age of one and are heavier than the weight requirement there is no specification or rule against having a child in the seat next to the driver.
Experts suggest that no child of the age 12 or under should ride in the front seat of a car. Colorado also suggests that no child under 13 should ride in the passenger seat but there is no law stating it is not allowed.
Height and weight for front seat in Colorado?
There are no height requirements for children to sit in the front seat in Colorado. A child can sit in the front seat without a car seat whenever the child does not need a booster seat. Only requirement is that the seat belt goes over the child’s shoulder and across their thighs.
The only weight requirement is that if a child is over the age of 1 and is more than 20 lbs, they are eligible to ride in the front seat. The child should be secured properly based on the other car seat requirements the state of Colorado has set in place.
Where to Inspect Car Seats in Colorado?
There are a countless number of places that offer car seat inspections in Colorado to ensure your car seat is properly secured in your vehicle. Most of the car seat inspection places are government facilities such as police departments and fire stations but there are other places that offer seat inspections as well.
Going to the Inspection Station page on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website will take you to a page where you can search for inspection stations in your zip code. The inspection station page also includes more information on car seat laws and how to properly install one.
Car seat inspection prices are not listed on any of the places provided. The best way to see if you have to pay for an inspection or not from a government facility is by calling their provided number. Car seat inspections from a privately owned business is likely to cost some money but should not be over $100.
If something is wrong with the car seat it is best to look at recalls or what the vehicle manufacturer’s warranty says. If there is something wrong with a purchased booster seat, front or rear-facing car seat it would be best to contact that manufacturer.
Some of the major city car seat inspection stations in Colorado include:
- American Medical Response – Colorado Springs, CO
- Poudre Fire Authority – Fort Collins, CO
- Colorado State Patrol – HQ – Denver, CO
- Castle Rock Fire and Rescue Department – Castle Rock, CO
- Evans Fire District – Evans, CO
- Fort Lupton Fire Department – Fort Lupton, CO
Taxi Car Seat Law Colorado
The taxi car seat law in Colorado states that taxis are exempt from car seats. Meaning that when a child rides in a taxi booster seats, rear, and forward-facing car seats are not required for children. Along with taxis any sort of public transportation does not require the use of car seats for children.
The only law for taxis is that if a child is under the age of one and less than 20 lbs then they have to ride in the backseat of the car.
Even though there is no law that does not allow a child to ride without a car seat in a taxi it is not recommended and seen as unsafe. If they must ride in a taxi, then securing them as much as possible is a good idea.
Free Car Seat Programs in Colorado
There are free car seat programs in Colorado. One of Colorado’s free car seat programs is located in Montezuma County in the Montezuma County Public Health Department. They have a car safety seat and bike helmet program for children.
Their program will have children fitted into a car seat by a trained and certified technician. The car seats are given to families at a lower cost. The website that explains more about the program can be found here.
Colorado car seat laws are important to ensure the safety of you and your child. These laws serve as pointers to help you decide the best car seat for your child, while putting their age and weight into consideration.
These laws have proven time and again to be effective in securing your child. So, when purchasing a new car seat, ensure to refer to this guide to understand the age and weights requirement.
These are links to helpful resources that provide more information on Colorado car seat laws for children to ensure they are safe in any car:
Colorado Department of Transportation