Going on a road trip with the entire family?
Or maybe you’re just going for a quick drive to the convenience store 5 minutes away.
Whatever the case, BUCKLE UP!
Wearing your seatbelt, or putting your child in a car seat, is more than just breaking the law…
…It’s putting you and your children at risk.
So with that in mind, here are the Colorado car seat laws that you should know about and follow.
Seatbelt Laws in Colorado
Let’s start with the most basic law.
That is to wear your seatbelt at all times.
Not just the driver, but the front passenger, too. As well as anyone from 8 to 16 years old, whether they are in the front or back seat.
What about adults in the back seat?
Though it isn’t mandatory by law, it is still highly recommended that they buckle up. As we mentioned earlier, this is more about the risk than breaking the law.
Car Seat Laws in Colorado
Let’s move on to the Colorado car seat laws for children.
As you might expect, these laws are a lot stricter.
So let’s go over them one by one.
Colorado Car Seat Laws Per Age
The type of car seat your child should use depends on their age and weight.
Infants under 1 year old and weighing less than 20 pounds:
- Type of Car Seat: Rear-Facing Car Seat
- How to Use: Since your child is still an infant, do not place the seat in the front for safety reasons. Make sure that the seat itself is properly snapped or attached to the base that is strapped to the vehicle. The harness of your child should also be clipped at the chest or armpit level.
Children ages 1 to 3 and weigh less than 40 pounds:
- Type of Car Seat: Forward-facing car seat
- How to Use: The car seat’s harness should come from above the child’s shoulders and should be clipped at the chest. To prevent the seat from moving, you can install it with the car’s seat belts or top tethers and lower anchors.
Children from 4 to 7 years old and heavier than 40 pounds:
- Type of Car Seat: Child restraint system or a booster seat
- How to Use: The main instrument that keeps your child snug is the shoulder belt. Make sure that these shoulder belts fit well across the shoulder of your child and not across his face or neck.
Children from 8 to 16 years old and above 4ft’9in:
- Type of Car Seat: No car seat is needed anymore, just use the lap and shoulder belts of the car
- How to Use: The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the shoulder, while the lap belt is strapped flat across your thighs. Best if your children are sitting in the back seat so they are easily reached by the standard seat belts of the car.
Penalties for Car Seat Laws in Colorado
Fail to put your child in the proper car seat?
Then you’ll surely face the penalties.
For one, you’ll be given a ticket that will be recorded in your driving record.
Then, you’ll have to pay the fines.
The minimum fine is around $65. If it’s your first car seat violation, there is a surcharge of $6.
If you have a second violation, the fine goes all the way up to $130. And if you break it yet again, you will have to pay $195.
But the worse penalty is if something happens to your child that could have been prevented with a car seat.
Another thing you should know.
Car seat laws in Colorado are primary enforcements. This means a law enforcer can stop and give you a ticket if they notice that your child is not in a car seat.
As for seatbelt laws, these are secondary ones. You can only be charged with breaking that law if you are breaking another law.
Seatbelt Law Exceptions in Colorado
Are there situations that exempt you from seatbelt laws?
Here are a few:
- Emergency personnel such as the medics and paramedics
- Passenger buses and school buses
- Farm vehicle and equipment
- Any individual who has a medical statement from his physician stating that he is not physically required to wear the seatbelts or sit on special seats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we go, let’s answer some of the FAQs about car seat laws in Colorado.
Will I get demerit points if I get caught breaking the car seat laws in Colorado?
If you are over 18 years old, then no, you won’t get demerit points. However, the offense will still be recorded in your driving record.
But if you are under 18 years old, then you’ll receive 2 demerit points if you break the Colorado car seat laws.
Can my child sit in the front seat?
If your child is 16 years old and above, then they can sit in the front seat IF the seatbelt is secure.
Are car seat laws primary in Colorado?
Yes. As we mentioned, if a law enforcer spots your child not using a car seat, they can stop you and give you a ticket.
I’m not sure if I installed my car seat properly. Is there anyone who can assist me?
Yes! Colorado has around 140 inspection stations all over the state. You can just look up online the nearest station and ask for assistance there.
As responsible parents and drivers, we should ensure our safety and the safety of our children by observing the seatbelt/ car seat laws.
But how can you do that if you don’t know the laws?
Well, this article is here to help you with that.
And now that you know them, you should always follow them.
So again, whether you’re on a long road trip or a quick 5-minute drive, always use the proper equipment to keep everyone safe.
You don’t want to regret it!