August 1st marks the one-year anniversary of the expanded child passenger safety law in Colorado, which means law enforcement will starting pulling over and giving $82 citations to drivers transporting children under age 8 who are not in a car seat or booster seat. Previously, the law only required child safety seats for children under age 6.
Studies have shown that children do not properly fit into a back seat of a car until somewhere between eight and 12 years old. Colorado lawmakers chose the age of eight as a minimum.
CSP follows the recommendation of the Academy of Pediatrics that children be rear facing much longer than 12 months, preferably up to 2- 3years. Again though, Colorado law only requires children to be rear facing in the rear seat until one year of age. The next part of the law requires kids one through four years of age (up to 40 pounds) to be in a rear- or foward-facing child seat with a harness in the back seat of the car.
That harness allows the force of a crash to be evenly distributed along the upper torso, protecting a child better than a booster seat will. Booster seats provide adequate protection for 4 years old and up. As the Colorado Law reads, children between 4 and 8 years old must be in some sort of restraint system, either a harness car seat or booster seat using the belt system.
Up until the age 13, a child should remain in the back seat of the car, secured in the seat belt. A parent might consider moving a child at age 13 to the front seat of a vehicle. Fullaway says that is the minimum age recommended by car makers and manufacturers of air bags. For more information on the law, go to www.carseatscolorado.com