What Parents Need to Know About Child Passenger Safety in Colorado
When it comes to child passenger safety, parents are left with many unanswered questions. Rules and requirements for car seats and booster seats are constantly evolving, and unfortunately what some parents know, or think they know, is not up to the highest standards of protection for their child.
So, how important is it to pay attention to the rules and regulations surrounding child passenger safety? If your child is about to outgrow his/her car seat, is it really crucial to rush out and get the next size right away?
Here are a few statistics that might help you answer those questions and others like them:
- Motor vehicle injuries represent the leading cause of death among children age 3-14 years old in the U.S. (Source: NHTSA, 2008 data)
- From 2006-2010, 64 child passengers, ages 0-12 died in traffic crashes in Colorado. Over half (55%) were not using a child safety seat or seat belt, or they were using one improperly.
- While 96% of parents and caregivers believe their child safety seats are installed correctly, research shows that seven out of ten children are improperly restrained. (Source: SeatCheck.org)
- “I can put my infant in the front seat of my car because I don’t have a back seat.”
- Actually, Colorado law requires infants under one year old and less than 20 pounds to ride in the back seat, with no exceptions.
- “My child can roam around freely in an RV that is underway.”
- Although motor homes are exempt from child restraint laws, if children are riding in the front seat of the motor home they must abide by child restraint laws. It is much safer for children to be properly restrained in the motor home, no matter the position, while it is in motion.
- “I was in an accident and I still use the same car seat.”
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection. To find out if your car seat needs to be replaced visit: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/GetHelp.htm.
What you need to know to make sure you protect your child and are in compliance with Colorado State Law:
- From newborn to age one children are required to be in a rear facing car seat.
- One, two and three year-olds can be in a rear or forward-facing car seat.
- Four, five, six and seven year-olds must be in a forward-facing car seat or booster seat.
- From age eight until 16 children must have a booster seat or lap and shoulder seat belt.
If you are unsure, or want to know more about how to best protect your child in the car, stop by one of more than 140 “inspection stations” across Colorado. Inspection stations offer assistance for parents, provide car seat checks, and proper seat installation tips and advice. Visit the Colorado Child Passenger Safety website for more details (www.carseatscolorado.com).
Guest blogger Heather Cobler is the Child Passenger Safety Team Coordinator of the Colorado State Patrol.