Aug. 1 marks the one-year anniversary of the expanded child passenger safety law in Colorado, which means law enforcement will start pulling over and …
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Aug. 1 marks the one-year anniversary of the expanded child
passenger safety law in Colorado, which means law enforcement will
start pulling over and giving $82 citations to drivers transporting
children under age 8 who are not in a car seat or booster seat.
Previously, the law required child safety seats for children under
The state conducted a year-long education period to inform
parents and caregivers about the change in the law and reinforce
the importance of properly securing children to prevent serious
injuries and help save lives. From 2006-2010, 20 kids, ages 4-7,
died in traffic crashes in Colorado, and 11 (55 percent) of them
were unrestrained or improperly restrained.
“Children ages 4-7 who use booster seats are 45 percent less
likely to be injured in a crash compared to children who are
restrained only by seat belts,” said Col. James Wolfinbarger, chief
of the Colorado State Patrol. “Many parents mistakenly believe that
a seat belt provides enough protection for their older child in a
crash. A booster seat is a safer option because it lifts the child
up so that the lap belt rests across hip bones to protect internal
organs, and it positions the shoulder strap so it rests across the
collar bone instead of on the neck or falling off the
Parents who need help determining the safest option for their
child or baby can visit one of CPS Team Colorado’s 140 car seat fit
stations across the state. The fit stations provide free assistance
and car seat checks that are conducted by trained child passenger
safety technicians. For parents facing financial hardship, some car
seat fit stations provide car seats and booster seats at a reduced
price or for a small donation. Parents can find a fit station
closest to them by visiting the newly revamped
www.carseatscolorado.com or calling toll free 1-877-LUV-TOTS or
303-239-4625 in Metro Denver.
In addition to expanding the use of booster seats, the revised
law gives parents more flexibility in choosing the best safety seat
for their child or baby, as long as they adhere to the upper weight
and height limits set by the seat’s manufacturer and follow
installation instructions. The law also has the following minimum
Babies under 1 year old and less than 20 pounds must ride in a
rear-facing car seat and only in the back seat of the vehicle.
Once babies turn 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds, the
law gives them the option of using a front-facing car seat.
Rear-facing car seats are still allowed by law and safety experts
recommend that parents continue using them to the upper weight
limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer because it provides the
Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must continue to be protected in a
child safety restraint. For most kids in this age group that means
a booster seat, but experts recommend that children remain in a
forward-facing car seat longer if the upper weight limit of the
seat allows it (usually 40-50 pounds).
When a child turns 8, the law allows them to use a vehicle seat
belt. But for the best protection, safety experts recommend that
kids continue to use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet
9 inches tall, which half of children will not reach until they are
11 years old.
The minimum fine is $82 per violation. All child passenger
safety violations are primary enforcement.
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