Being a parent means countless responsibilities, and one of them is keeping your children safe at all times. Traveling in a vehicle is a common daily occurrence, yet it doesn’t come without a risk. Car seat laws are a step forward in protecting children from serious crash injuries. With all the models and sizes in the market, it can be overwhelming to understand what you need precisely.
Understanding the Colorado car seat law will help you select the best car seat, prevent fines and penalties, and keep your child safe. If you have an urgent question regarding the state’s car seat law, a top-notch Colorado lawyer should address your concerns and shed light on your confusion.
Car seats are required for children under 8
Anyone under 16 years of age must use protective equipment in cars. This equipment varies according to age. Children under the age of eight are required to sit in car seats. Colorado’s car seat law indicates the seats and safety law for children of all ages.
For infants under one-year-old
Only rear-facing car seats must be used for children under one year of age and children whose weight is less than 20 pounds. Rear-facing car seats help prevent fatal injuries in case of a crash because the back of the safety seat will cradle the infant’s head, neck, and spine more effectively. Car seats should be installed in the back seat only.
For children between one to four years old
It may be time to transition to a forward-facing car seat when your child is between one to four years old and weighs between twenty and forty pounds. Forward-facing car seats provide easier access to your child and allow you to interact with them more, which is especially helpful during toddlerhood. At the same time, most children feel less dizzy with a front-facing seat, allowing them to enjoy longer rides.
For children between four to eight years old
Once your children meet and fulfill all the booster seats’ height requirements, they need to transition to booster car seats. This applies to kids who weigh at least forty pounds. Colorado’s car seat law also states that children should continue to use their booster seats until at least eight years old with a minimum height of four feet and nine inches.
For children above eight years old
As stated, only children under eight years of age are required to use car seats. The proper safety equipment for children of this age is seat belts. However, to ensure that the need for car seats or booster seats is gone, they must also pass the 5-step test. To find out whether your child can transition to your vehicle’s regular seats, simply make sure that “yes” is your only answer to all these questions:
- Is your child’s back flat on the seat?
- Are your child’s knees comfortably bent on the front edge of their seat?
- Is your child’s lap belt secured on top of their thighs?
- Is your child’s sash belt secured on the middle of their shoulders?
- Is your child capable of maintaining their position for the entirety of their trip?
Earlier transition to front-facing car seats
Unlike other states, Colorado’s car seat law only necessitates infants under one year of age to use rear-facing car seats. However, it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to use rear-facing seats for as long as possible for increased security. However, if you want to transition to a forward-facing car seat when your child turns one, you will not violate any Colorado safety laws.
Exceptions to the car seat law
In some instances, there could be exceptions to Colorado’s car seat law, especially in extreme circumstances. These are:
- When the driver is transporting a child in a vehicle with no child-restraint system during a medical emergency
- When a child care center is responsible for transporting children
- When a child is being transported through a taxi, limousine service, or other contract carriers
With this in mind, it will be better to rent a car with a car seat rather than use a taxi if you’re planning to take a long ride in Colorado. If a private vehicle is available, use it as a chance to keep your children even safer during travel.
It is also important to note that even though the Colorado car seat law states the type of equipment your child needs, there are other factors to consider. These include development and growth, which differ in every child. Also, remember that protective seats should be changed to a better alternative when the child outgrows them.