Under Colorado law, children that are fifteen-years or younger that ride in a vehicle have to be properly buckled into the car. If your child is less than eight-years-old, then he or she needs to be restrained using a correct child restraint seat for his or her age. If your child is too old to use a child restraint like a car seat, then he or she must use a seat belt.
Colorado law considers child restraint systems to be items like car seats that are approved by the federal motor vehicle standards list. The restraint system must also be correctly attached to the car and the safety belt system within the car so that the child is correctly protected.
To help you understand more about Colorado’s car seat laws, we will cover below the Colorado car seat laws based on age and weight. That way, if you live in Colorado, you’ll not only be doing the right thing by adhering to the law, but you’ll also protect your child from safety.
Colorado Car Seat Laws in 2020
Below we’ll provide you with a summary of what Colorado’s safety seat laws include before we get into too much detail.
- Colorado mandates that children ride in the back seat for as long as they possibly can. Remember, keeping your child in the back seat provides the safest vehicle experience for your child.
- If your child is an infant under the age of one year, you must have your child in a rear-facing car seat until your child is either a full year of age or weighs more than twenty pounds.
- If your child is one to four years old, most experts still suggest you use a rear-facing car seat until your baby is two years old and weighs more than forty pounds.
- If your child is between the ages of four and eight, a law has been in effect since August 1, 2011, saying your child must still use either a booster seat or a car seat as well as a child safety restraint. It is recommended that your child rides in a booster seat until he or she is 4/9” or 57” tall, or until he or she is above the age of eight years.
- Children that are between the ages of eight and sixteen-years-old must wear a seatbelt or some child restraint until they reach the age of sixteen. It’s also recommended that drivers and riders of all ages always wear a seatbelt for the rest of their lives.
Now that we’ve given you the basic rundown of Colorado’s safety seat laws let’s cover how age and weight will affect your child’s experience in your car in a bit more detail.
Colorado Car Seat Laws and Back Seat Riding
No matter what weight, height, or age your child is, the state’s experts suggest that you keep your child riding in the back seat for as long as you possibly can. That’s because the back seat is the safest place for your child to ride. Also, you should utilize the upper-tether strap, which features the long parts of a seat belt and a clip that you’ll find on your child’s car seat, following the instructions provided in the owner’s manual.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you’ve installed your child’s car seat the right way, you can drop by your local fire department or visit your local police station. There, you’ll find somebody that can help you check to ensure that your child’s car seat is installed correctly.
Colorado Car Seat Laws by Weight
Colorado’s car seat laws by weight insist that babies must ride in rear-facing car seats, and the back seat until they are at least a year old and weigh over twenty pounds. Colorado’s safety seat laws are in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics, which states that parents should consider leaving their children in rear-facing car seats until the child is two-years-old, or when the child outgrows the safety seat.
Several options in rear-facing car seats will fit your baby just fine until he or she weighs about thirty-five to forty pounds. Keep in mind that rear-facing car seats give your baby the best protection if you experience a crash because their entire body is cradled and protected by the safety seat if you experience a crash from the front. Your baby will also be protected better during side-impact crashes.
Colorado Car Seat Laws and Children 4-8 Years Old
Children four to eight years old must utilize a booster seat or a car seat under the laws in the state of Colorado. Since August 1, 2011, Colorado has required this and can impose a fine of $82 or higher if you aren’t following this law. Colorado requires that children ride in safety seats until they are eight-years-old. Until your child’s eighth birthday, he or she will have to ride in a safety seat.
Children that fall into this age range can use a five-point harness safety seat or a booster seat that adjusts as your child ages and becomes larger. Until your child is about 57” tall or eight years old, he or she must use a child safety seat. Studies demonstrate that using a booster seat until this age brings down the risk of injury to your child by 59% compared to just using a seat belt. So, it would be best if you keep your child in his or her safety seat:
- Until your child is 4’9” or 57” tall, which is usually after age eight.
- Using your car seat belt’s shoulder belt across your child’s shoulder and chest, not the neck.
- Using the lap belt, so it crosses your child’s upper thighs, and not his or her abdomen.
- Ensure that your child’s knees bend around the edge of the back seat, which means the feet hang down
- Make sure your child can stay seated correctly in the booster seat for the duration of your trip to ensure maximum safety.
Colorado Car Seat Laws and Children Ages 8-16 Years Old
Colorado car seat laws require that kids between the ages of eight and sixteen years of age, or through the child’s sixteenth birthday, use a child restraint or a seatbelt. However, at this age, it would be the correct time to teach your child to wear his or her safety seat for his or her entire life.
The Reason for Colorado Car Seat Laws
Unfortunately, car crashes in Colorado kill more children than any other form of death. That’s because almost four out of five car seats in the state are not being used correctly. Since you will always want to ensure the safety of your child if you don’t know how to install your car seat correctly, visit your local fire department or a police station. You can get a lesson for free at either place on how to correctly install your car seat. Plus, your local fire department or police station will make sure that your car seat is correctly installed before you leave.
If you stick to the rules we provided for you above about Colorado car seat laws, then your child will remain safe for the rest of his or her life. Don’t forget to keep your child riding in the back seat for as long as possible. Colorado says you should do this until your child is about thirteen years old or one hundred pounds. Still, many parents make their children ride in the back seat of the car until their child is over sixteen.
If you do allow your teenager to sit in the front seat, move that seat as far back as you possibly can in case you experience an accident and the airbags deploy. Keeping your child farther back will help ensure his or her safety. Keep in mind that most children learn about car safety by watching their parents. So, you’ll always want to lead by example to ensure that your child rides safely in vehicles for the rest of his or her life.