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Child Restraint Requirements

Colorado law requires that children up to 15 years old riding in a motor vehicle be properly secured.  Children under 8 years old must be restrained in the appropriate child restraint system.  Older children must use a seat belt or a child restraint system.  A child restraint system is defined as a seating system that meets federal motor vehicle standards which is permanently attached to a motor vehicle or its safety belt system and is designed to protect, hold, or restrain a child so as to prevent or minimize injury.

The table below presents child restraint requirements by age and size of a child. 

Colorado Child Restraint Requirements

Child Age/Size

Statutory Requirement

Less than 1 year and weighing less than 20 pounds

Properly secured in a rear‑facing child restraint system in a rear seat of the vehicle

1 year to 4 years, and weighing 20 to 40 pounds

Properly secured in a rear‑facing or forward‑facing child restraint system

Children up to 8 years

Properly secured in a child restraint system, such as a booster seat, according to the manufacturer's instructions

8 to 15 years

Properly restrained in a safety belt or child restraint system according to manufacturer's instructions

Source: Sections 42‑4‑236 and 42-4‑237, C.R.S.

 

Child restraint requirements do not apply to a child who:

  • is less than 8 years of age and is being transported in a motor vehicle as the result of a medical or other life‑threatening emergency and a child restraint system is not available;
  • is being transported in a commercial motor vehicle that is operated by a child care center; or
  • is being transported in a motor vehicle operated by, or on behalf of, a common carrier, contract carrier, or luxury limousine service.

Violating Colorado's child restraint law is a primary enforcement action.   This means a driver does not have to be stopped for another driving offense before he or she can be ticketed for not properly securing a child in the vehicle.  A driver in violation of this law commits a Class B traffic infraction and is subject to a $65 fine and a $6 surcharge.

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