Car Seat Laws

Colorado Car Seat Laws 2022 [Age & Weight Requirements]

Life is unpredictable. Being as prepared as possible is the only way to combat the unfortunate events life may bring. There are countless incidents all over the United States of children being injured or killed from car accidents because they were not properly buckled into their seats.

These awful incidents can be avoided. 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 these 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’s car seat laws are divided by a child’s age and weight. There are four different categories separated by age. Labeled as younger than 1, 1-3, 4-7, and 8-15. It is stated that for a child 1 years old and under to use rear-facing safety seats. Children aged 1-3 use rear-facing safety seats if under 40 pounds and forward-facing car seats if over 40 pounds.

Ages 4-7 use forwards-facing safety car seats or a booster seat regardless of weight. Finally, children aged 8-15 use a booster or a seatbelt. The safety seats should be installed how the car seat manufacture instructs.

Colorado Rear-facing Car Seat Law

In Colorado, children must remain in rear-facing car seats form when a child is younger than 1 and up to 3 years old based off the weight requirements. If a child is younger than 1 and less than 20 pounds, then the rear-facing car seat should be used. This car seat should only be secured in the back seat of the car for those under 20 pounds.

If the child is under the age of 1 and in the 20 to 40 pounds 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 is able to 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-faced car seat depends on the weight of the child. If the child is less than 20 pounds, then they must be secured with a rear-facing car seat. If the child is 20 to 40 pounds, 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

In Colorado, 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.

However, if a child aged 1 to 3 exceeds the seat weight limit and weight limit of 40 pounds, 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 pounds need to be bucked 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 a 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 read 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

The booster seat law in Colorado is for children aged 1 to 15 and that meet the proper weight requirements. This law is broader than the rear and forward-facing car seat laws. Booster seats a smaller than both rear and front facing car seats.

These are meant to aid 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 because the booster seats start in the 1-3 age range.

A booster seat would not be recommended for any child 1-3 unless the child exceeded the seat weight limit and 40-pound limit, along with being able to properly sit with the seat belt over their shoulder.

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 of 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 seatbelt goes over the child’s shoulder.

When a child is being secured in a booster seat the seatbelt 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 then 40 pounds 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 shoulder 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 manufacture 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 eat without a car seat whenever the child does not need a booster seat. Only requirement is that that the seatbelt 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 pounds, they are eligible to ride in the front seat. The child should be secured in properly based off the other car seat requirements the state of Colorado has set in place.

Smoking in the Car with Children

In Colorado, they imposed the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act 2006 which does not prohibit parents from smoking with their child in the car. This law was put in place to improve the wellbeing and health of everyone in Colorado. The law limits the exposure to tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke by limiting where both of those can be smoked.

Main areas that are covered by this law are any public space, government facilities, public transportation, and any public indoor space.

Smoking is allowed in private owned vehicles, vehicles under private hire, private homes, and a small percentage of motel or hotel rooms. The laws for e-cigarettes have not been updated but can be assumed to fall under the same restrictions.

Is it Illegal to Smoke in a Car with a Child in Colorado?

In the state of Colorado, the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act 2006 makes it illegal to smoke in the car with a child if the car is being used to take care of a child, being used for day care, and for the transportation of children.

To clarify, the law only is for those who are caring for other children or using a vehicle to transport a child. A few examples of this would be if a nanny is taking a child to the park they are not allowed to smoke in the car and a school bus driver is not allowed to smoke on the bus with children inside.

There is no law against a parent smoking in the car with their child or children inside the vehicle. In fact, there are only a few states that do not allow for a parent to smoke in the car with their child.

It is strongly advised against smoking tobacco, marijuana, or an e-cigarette while a child is in the car. Secondhand smoke that lingers in a vehicle may harm a child, as they are still developing and growing.

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 private 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 manufactures warranty. If there is something wrong with a purchased booster seat, front or reared 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

Leaving Child Unattended

In Colorado, there is no law the does not allow someone to leave a child in the car unattended. Only parents may leave their child in the car. However, depending on the situation, weather, and many more factors if the police are called then the situation will be assessed for if it was child abuse or not.

Child abuse is illegal everywhere. If a parent does leave their child or children in a car leading to them being harmed, then that is illegal.

There are reported incidents of children being left in the car leading to their deaths on hot days. It is advised by experts to not leave your child in the car, especially on extremely hot days.

Taxi Car Seat Law Colorado

The taxi car seat law in Colorado states that taxies are except 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 taxies any sort of public transportation does not require the use for car seats for children.

The only law for taxies is that if a child is under the age of one and less than 20 pounds 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 are a lower cost. The website that explains more about the program can be found here.

Helpful Resources

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:

Children’s Hospital Colorado

Colorado Department of Transportation

Colorado Department of Transportation FAQ

United States Department of Transportation

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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