Colorado Car Seat Laws
Car seat laws in Colorado dictate that children younger than 15 years old must be secured in some type of child restraint device while in moving vehicles.
All booster seat laws are determined based on children’s ages and weights to ensure that only children who are able to safely support themselves without child restraints sit in vehicles without any type of restraint, including a seat belt.
Because the booster seat age that determines when children may graduate from a child restraint device differs in every state, parents and drivers must be aware of the state laws that may affect their children’s ability to sit without a booster.
Therefore, they should review the following sections pertaining to car seat safety regulations in CO and the penalties that violators of these rules may receive.
Although most drivers are aware that children are safest when they are secured in car seats during road trips and shorter commutes, many may not know which seat is best for their children–or how to install it. Drivers and parents can discover all about the types of child restraints available in CO and how to properly install them to protect every child passenger.
What are the car seat laws in Colorado?
CO car seat regulations state that children from birth to age 15 must use some type of safety restraint when in a vehicle traveling down a highway.
However, booster seat weight and age requirements may affect which children need a restraint. While parents and drivers are advised to always refer to the manufacturer’s weight and height limits for a car seat and consider the comfort of the child, they are also required by law to place children of specific weights and ages in certain seats and positions within a vehicle.
A detailed list of the car seat ages and weights enforced in CO is provided below:
- Infants and babies younger than one year old. Young children in this age-group must be placed in a rear-facing child restraint in the back seat of the vehicle if they weigh less than 20 pounds. If they weigh between 20 and 40 pounds, the rear-facing restraint may be placed anywhere in the vehicle.
- Toddlers between the ages of one and three. Depending on their weight, these children may be secured in any type of restraint except a seat belt without a child restraint device. Children weighing less than 20 pounds must sit in rear-facing seats while children weighing more than 40 pounds can either sit in a forward-facing seat or booster. Any children weighing between 20 and 40 pounds can use a rear- or forward-facing child restraint. Still, the car seat weight limit should be evaluated before choosing the right seat.
- Children between the ages of four and seven. Children of these ages weighing from 20 to 40 pounds have the option of sitting in a forward-facing restraint or a seat booster. As long as they do not surpass booster seat weight requirements for the restraint, children weighing more than 40 pounds may sit in a booster or a forward-facing restraint.
- Children and teens between the ages of eight and 15. These children and teens may sit in either a booster or just a seat belt, if the belt fits them properly.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Regulations in Colorado
All violations of child car seat laws in CO are considered primary offenses. Law enforcement officers are required to evaluate the booster car seat age and weight that may warrant a child to ride in a vehicle unrestrained and issue tickets to drivers who have disobeyed age and weight requirements.
Because child car seat safety is an important practice that can save children’s lives, a minimum fine of $65 may be charged to parents or drivers who violate current child safety laws in CO.
If parents or drivers incur multiple charges related to car seat usage, then they may receive higher fines. Additional penalties are determined for each case.
Types of Car Seats
While car seat legislation in CO is relatively unchanging, the type of seat drivers and parents may need to purchase is constantly changing. Even with a convertible car seat that can adapt to growing children and accommodate various positions, purchasing new child restraints is inevitable during a kid’s childhood.
An infant car seat is designed for newborns, but they quickly outgrow this baby car seat and require extra room, features and straps.
Though each child restraint has great benefits and can support children well, only one type of restraint may be right for a child. Like the laws, age and weight restrictions help decide which children should be placed in which restraint. However, what CO laws allow does not always correlate to what is recommended for children’s safety.
The following list explains the best car seats based on children’s ages:
- Rear facing car seat. This seat is for infants younger than nine months old. However, a convertible option of this seat may help parents and drivers adjust infants to a front-facing restraint when they outgrow the back-facing restraint.
- Forward facing car seat. This seat is best for toddlers (ages 2 to 5). This toddler car seat has a soft harness and tether that limit movement. Combination seat options can be found that can be converted into booster seats when necessary.
- Booster seat. Booster seats are minimal and only provide additional height to allow the child to use a vehicle’s seat belts without issues. Children should use a booster seat until the vehicle seat belt sits properly over their shoulders and lap.
Some of the safest car seats include top-rated brands like the Cosco Easy Elite and the Diono Radian R100. Drivers and parents are reminded that children should remain in some type of child restrain until they are 13 years old.
Car Seat Installation Information
Good car seat installation tips can help anyone completely and independently install a child restraint device. In CO, car seat guidelines instruct parents and caregivers to both oversee the installation of a child restraint and properly secure a child. Therefore, it is essential to learn how to install the devices. The following tips can help make installing a child restraint a little easier:
- Check the condition of the seat before you begin. If a seat is damaged or has been recalled for any reason, then you should request a replacement or purchase a new one.
- Locate all seat belts, tethers and other cords used to attach the seat to the vehicle. Make sure these are untangled and facing the direction shown in the instruction manual for the product.
- Tighten all cords, tethers and harnesses and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Regardless of the type of child restraint, every cord should be taut and sit flat against the child or the seat of the vehicle.