To reduce the number and severity of injuries to children in collisions, Colorado requires the use of federally-approved child restraint systems. These requirements differ based on the age and weight of the child. Below is an overview of the requirements as well as penalties and exemptions.
Until a child reaches one year old or at least 20 pounds, he or she must be rear-facing in an infant seat or convertible car seat. A rear-facing child can't be seated in the front seat of a vehicle.
Once a child is 20 pounds and at least one year old, he or she can use a forward-facing car seat or a forward-facing convertible seat. This requirement extends until the child is four years old or at least 40 pounds.
All children who are younger than eight years old must be properly seated in a child restraint system. So, kids who are over 40 pounds or at least four years old must use a booster or forward-facing seat. Children who are eight to 15 years old must wear a seat belt.
Failure to properly restrain a child is a class B traffic infraction, which typically results in a $65 fine, and a $16 surcharge. However, the court will waive the fine if the offender shows proof of obtaining a proper car seat.
For offenders who are under the age of 18, a child restraint violation is a class A traffic infraction. A conviction will result in two driver's license demerit points as well as:
Acquiring too many demerit points can result in license suspension.
Vehicles used to transport persons for medical emergencies are exempt from the child restraint requirement. Commercial vehicles used by childcare centers, such as buses, are also exempt.