COLORADO CAR SEAT LAWS

Keeping kids safely buckled up when riding in a car is a crucial step to avoid injuries if an accident happens. Knowing and following the local laws is important to the safety of any child riding in a vehicle. In Colorado, children use a graduated system, from a rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat to booster seats until their eighth birthday.

Whether you’re a resident or visiting our state, our Colorado car accident attorneys want you to understand these Colorado car seat laws.

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What Are the Current Child Seat Belt Laws in Colorado?

Colorado children’s seat belt laws1 currently require infants to be in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of a vehicle up to age one and 20 pounds. Young children ages 1-4 must be in a rear or forward-facing car seat and for ages 4-8, booster seats and seat belts are required. From ages 8-16, wearing a seat belt is required at all times.

Colorado Car Seat Laws at a Glance

  • Infant to age 1 and 20 pounds – Rear-facing car seat in the back seat
  • Ages 1-4 – Rear or forward-facing car seat
  • Ages 4-8 – Booster seat and seat belt
  • Ages 8-16 – Seat belts required

Colorado’s children seat belt laws require all car seats must be federally approved. Children ages 1-4 must continue to use their car seat with a harness until they reach the weight and height to use a booster seat safely. For children using a booster seat with a seat belt, the shoulder belt installed in the vehicle is acceptable.

What Is the Colorado Rear-Facing Car Seat Law?

Infant children up to 12 months and 20 pounds must use a rear-facing car seat. Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-236(2)(a)(II)2 states children less than one year old and under 20 pounds must be properly restrained in a rear-facing child restraint system in a rear seat in the vehicle.

For infant children, the car seat must be rear-facing, and the infant may not be seated in the front row of the vehicle. Once the child is one year old and at least 20 pounds, they may be restrained in a rear-facing or forward-facing child restraint system. It is not recommended to have a car seat in the front row of any vehicle.

At What Age Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat in Colorado?

A lot of Colorado parents wonder:

  • At what age can a child sit in front seat boosters?
  • How tall do you have to be to sit in the front seat in Colorado?
  • Age restrictions? How old to sit in front seat in Colorado?

Legally, children can sit in the front seat in Colorado beginning at age one and 20 pounds. However, the Colorado Department of Transportation3 and child passenger safety experts strongly recommend that they sit in the back seat until they reach age 13.

If you’re ever unsure about your child riding in the front, it’s best to be cautious and have your child sit in the back seat. Also, children under eight sitting in the front must use a car seat or booster seat as required by Colorado front seat laws.

What Is the Colorado Forward-Facing Car Seat Law?

In Colorado, children under the age of one and 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing car seat. Forward-facing or rear-facing car seats are required by law up to age four. From ages 1-4, both forward-facing and rear-facing seats are acceptable.

Children must use a federally-approved car seat until the child reaches age four and reaches the weight and height limit, so the seat belt fits safely with a booster seat.

What Are Child Booster Seat Laws in Colorado?

Colorado child booster seat laws apply until age eight and until the child can safely use a regular seat in the vehicle. The child may begin using the booster seat at age four and 20 pounds.

Even after eight years of age, they must continue to use a belt-positioning booster seat until they are large enough to wear a safety belt in the vehicle according to the vehicle manufacturer instructions.

Can a Child Ride in a Booster Seat if They Have Outgrown Their Car Seat?

If a child outgrows the manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations for their car seat, they can transition to a belt-positioning booster seat. However, finding another car seat with higher height and weight limits is better.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, you should be able to find a car seat that works for up to 70 pounds.

What About Car Seats and Public Transportation?

There are exceptions in the Colorado car seat law for children riding in commercial motor vehicles. Children riding on public buses and trains are not subject to car seat requirements.

Colorado law § 42-4-236(3)(c) creates exemptions to the car seat law, including commercial motor vehicles as defined by Colorado law § 42-2-402(4)(a)4. Public transportation, like city buses and trains, meet the definition of commercial motor vehicles. Therefore, children using them for transport are not required to have car seats or lap belts as in passenger vehicles.

Are Daycare Facilities Exempt From Colorado Car Seat Laws?

Daycare facilities are required to follow car seat laws. If the vehicle is any size up to a 15-passenger van, all children must be in appropriate car seats. Vehicles operated by daycare centers designed to transport 16 or more passengers meet the definition of a commercial motor vehicle and are exempt from car seat laws.

However, daycare employees must have a commercial driver’s license to drive a commercial vehicle designed for 16 or more passengers.

What Are the Penalties for Car Seat Violations in Colorado?

A parent or vehicle operator who does not ensure that a child is in the proper car seat may be charged with a Class B traffic infraction5. The fine is $65 plus a $6 surcharge. Jail is not a possibility, and there are no license points.

The penalty may be waived with proof that you have acquired the right car seat by the time of your court appearance.

Attorneys for Accidents Involving Car Seats in Colorado

Our Colorado car accident lawyers want all children to be safe on the roads. We also advocate for children who are in car accidents. If you or your child has been in an accident, our attorneys for accidents involving car seats can help you investigate and understand your legal rights. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

Sources:

1Colorado Department of Transportation (CODOT). Car Seats Colorado. Retrieved 26 January 2022.

2C.R.S. 42-4-236.

3Colorado Department of Transportation (CODOT). Safety – Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved 26 January 2022.

4C.R.S. 42-2-402

5C.R.S. 42-4-236 – C.R.S. 42-4-237

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