When you’re planning a family trip to Colorado, it’s important that you make sure to follow local (or exceed) the child passenger safety laws.
Official Colorado Car Seat Laws
You can find the official Colorado car seat law in C.R.S 42‑4‑236 and 42-4‑237.
Colorado Rear-Facing Car Seat Law
CO car set law requires that children under 1 years old or under 20 pounds ride in a rear-facing car seat. In addition, parents are required to follow the guidelines set forth by the manufacturer of their specific car seat (referred to as “proper use”).
Some manufacturers permit children to forward face as young as 1 year as long as they weigh at least 22 pounds, while other manufacturers require toddlers to be at least 2 years old to forward face.
Rear-facing is significantly safer for children as it dramatically decreases the risk of head and neck injuries. This resource is full of great information.
The current guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that children should remain rear-facing to the limits of their convertible car seat. Nearly all convertible car seats today will accommodate kids up to 40 pounds (they have variable height limits so read your manual) – the size of an average 4 year old – rear facing.
Colorado law further requires that children use a forward-facing harness until at least age 4 or 40lbs, though booster seat manufacturers currently require 4 years old AND 40lbs. It’s not specified by the law, but research indicates that kids should continue riding in a harnessed car seat (whether rear-facing or forward-facing) until at least age 5, 40 pounds and mature enough to sit properly for the whole drive.
Colorado Booster Seat Law
Booster seat laws in Colorado apply to kids from age 4 until they reach at least 8 years old. Be sure to follow manufacturer minimum and maximum size requirements for your booster seat – most manufacturers now require a minimum of 4 years old, 40″ tall and 40 pounds.
Most children do not fit properly in an adults seatbelt until 10-12 years old, when they pass the 5-step test. It’s important not to rush out of the booster seat, as adult seatbelts are designed to fit a 165lb man.
When Can Kids Ride In the Front Seat In Colorado?
Colorado law doesn’t require that children ride in the back seat, but many car manufacturers specify that kids should not ride in the front until age 13. Here’s an excellent explanation of why.
Upcoming Changes To Colorado Car Seat Law
Colorado hasn’t updated its car seat laws recently, and they do not reflect our current knowledge of child passenger safety.
Get the latest from the Colorado DOT
If you’ll be flying to Colorado, be sure to bring one of these travel car seats. If you’re planning a family road trip, consider one of these comfortable convertible car seats or comfortable booster seats. Check more car seat laws by state as you plan your route.