Child Passenger Safety

Child Passenger Safety Recommendations
All occupants of all ages should be properly restrained in a moving vehicle. But because of children’s’ smaller sizes, a regular seat belt won’t properly protect them until they are older. There are 4 steps to child passenger safety:
  • Rear-facing car seat: All infants and children up to age 2 should be placed in a rear-facing car seat with a 5-point harness. Rear-facing car seats should never be put in the front seat in front of an air bag. Colorado law requires infants up to 1 year and 20 pounds to be rear-facing; however the American Academy of Pediatrics, Safe Kids Worldwide, and many other safety experts recommend staying rear-facing until age 2 or until your child reaches the maximum weight for the seat. Rear-facing is the safest restraint for a child.
  • Forward-facing car seat: Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready for a forward-facing car seat with a 5-point harness. Keep a child in the 5-point harness until he or she reaches the maximum height and weight for the seat, regardless of age. The 5-point harness is superior in safety compared to a booster seat.
  • Booster seat: Once a child outgrows the forward-facing car seat, he or she is likely ready to use the lap and shoulder belt with a booster seat, still in the back seat. Booster seats should never be used with lap-only seat belts. Colorado law requires children to ride in a car seat or booster seat until their 8th birthday, but many children will not properly fit in a seat belt alone at this age. Keep children in a booster seat until they are at least 4’9”. The back seat is always the safest location for children to ride.
  • Seat belt: Once a child reaches 4’9”, he or she is likely ready to use a seat belt alone. Be sure to wear the seat belt properly: lap belt across the hips and shoulder strap comfortably crossing the shoulder between the neck and arm; never place the shoulder belt behind the arm or back. By Colorado law, all occupants in a vehicle must wear a seat belt, and it is a primary offense for anyone under the age of 16 not to use a seat belt or child restraint.
Car Seat Installation
Approximately 3/4 of children ride in car seats that are not properly installed. There are many places around the metro area where you can get your car seat checked for free. Find a car seat fit station near you.

Learn more about the Colorado Child Restraint Law.