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Everyone Needs to Buckle Up for Safety…That Means Kids Too!

by  on  Accident Attorney

For new parents, few things present as much of a challenge as a car seat. Babies are soft and fragile and putting them in a car seat for the ride home from the hospital can really drive home how serious parents need to take safety measures and car seat requirements.

Infants, newborns and young children have specific criteria to meet when riding in a car safely, and parents should be aware of what these requirements are and how meeting them will help keep their children protected against injuries in the event of an accident or crash.

According to a recent survey from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, three out of four parents mistakenly believe that their children are in the right car seat, and they never look into what is actually recommended or required for their kids.

In Colorado, child passenger safety agencies work with the guidelines provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to parents across the country. The NHTSA recommends that children remain in their appropriate car seats until they outgrow the height and weight categories assigned to a specific seat.

Car Seat Guidelines

In general, the NHTSA guidelines break down by age of the child:

  • Birth to 12 Months – Children should be in rear-facing car seats and only in the back seat of the vehicle. Safety experts agree on this requirement for children under the age of one who weigh less than 20 pounds. This is a law in Colorado.
  • 1 to 3 Years – Children should remain in rear-facing car seats in the back until at least age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight requirements set by the car seat manufacturer. Once the child outgrows the rear-facing seat, he or she can sit in a forward-facing seat with a harness. Colorado law allows parents to choose between a front- or rear-facing seat once their children are over the age of 1 and weigh at least 20 pounds.
  • 4 to 7 Years – Children should remain in forward-facing car seats until about 40-70 pounds. Once they outgrow the seat, they can ride in a booster seat. Colorado law requires every child under the age of 8 to be properly restrained in a child safety seat system.
  • 8 to 12 Years – Children should remain in a booster seat until they reach 4’9’’, according to safety experts. When a child reaches 8, he or she is allowed to use a vehicle seat belt under Colorado law. Experts recommend that children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat wear lap and shoulder belts.

Rear-facing seats reduce the risk of injury to the neck and spinal cord, which is particularly necessary for young children who are still developing. Forward-facing seats provide additional support and restraint for younger children as well.

Kids in booster seats are 45 percent less likely to be injured in a crash compared to children who are only restrained by the vehicle’s seat belts, according to the research presented by the Colorado Safety Department. 

At Levine Law, we represent anyone who has been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or misconduct. For more information regarding car safety and child seats, contact our Denver auto accident attorneys today.