Child Passenger Safety Law About to Change

By: Chiara Lotierzo Email
By: Chiara Lotierzo Email

A state law aimed at making car-travel safer for our kids is about to change. It's Colorado's Child Passenger Safety law, and the new regulations go into effect on August 1st, 2010.

The most notable change about the law is that it will require children, up to the age of eight years old and regardless of height and weight, to be properly restrained in a car or booster seat.

Doctor David Steinbruner works in the emergency room at Memorial Hospital, and says proper restraint of your child is crucial, "at highway speeds, if a child is properly restrained, they have a very good chance of surviving with almost no injury, without proper restraint, a child has a very good chance of potentially dying or severe injury in a minor traffic accident."

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, safety experts actually recommend your child be restrained until they reach 4' 9" tall, which more than half of children won't reach until they are 11 years old.

With this new law, not having your child properly restrained becomes a primary offense, which means you can get pulled over and ticketed for not following the new changes.

Colorado State Patrol says in the first year, they plan to work more on educating the public than ticketing them.

Below is the breakdown of the law's verbage as provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation, CPS Team Colorado, and Safe Kids Colorado:

Overview of changes to the law:

-Colorado's child passenger safety law has expanded to require that all child passengers under age 8 be protected using a child safety seat. (Previously, the law covered only up to age 6)

-There are also other changes to the law that give parents more flexibility in choosing the appropriate child safety seat that is best for their child, but it does set some minimum requirements (law in bold print below).

Law requirements:

-All child safety seats must be used according to the manufacturer's instructions and follow its weight and height limits.

-Babies must ride in the back seat of the vehicle in a rear-]facing car seat until they are at least 1 year old and 20 pounds.

-1-year-olds over 20 pounds, as well as 2 & 3-year-olds must ride in either a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat.

-Children ages 4 until 8 must remain in a child safety restraint.

-Children age 8 and older may use a booster seat or vehicle seat belt.

***For best protection, continue use of a booster seat until the child is at least 4' 9" inches tall, which more than half of children won't reach until they are 11 years old.

***For best protection in a seat belt, the child should be able to sit back against the seat back with the knees bent naturally at the edge of the seat, the shoulder belt comfortably crossing the shoulder between the neck and arm, and the lap belt low on the hips, touching the thighs. Children under age 13 should sit in the back seat only.

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