Wearing a seat belt can save your life. Most injuries and fatalities in car accidents occur when drivers and passengers are not wearing a seat belt or are wearing one improperly. Colorado state officials recognize this alarming problem and understand the importance of protecting its citizens.
The federal government only requires vehicles be equipped with seat belts. Seat belt laws vary by state, each dictating who must buckle up and how their seatbelts are fastened. Colorado’s child restraint laws are in place to remind and persuade drivers about buckling up, and state-funded awareness campaigns on child seat belt requirements help drive the point home.
The following guide on Colorado child safety seat laws will walk you through everything you need to know about Colorado seat belt laws, child seat belt requirements, and more. Before we get to children, it’s important to know what requirements adult drivers must meet.
Colorado Seat Belt Laws for Adults
- Drivers, front seat passengers, and anyone under than 18 must wear a car safety belt.
- Not wearing a seat belt is a secondary offense. This means that you will not get a ticket for not wearing your seat belt unless you are pulled over for a separate issue.
- The minimum fine for a seat belt violation is $65.
Drivers and passengers are exempt from seat belt laws if they:
- Have a physical or psychological condition that prevents them from using a seat belt.
- Are not required to have a seat belt by federal law.
Backseat passengers are not required to wear seat belts by law. You will not get a ticket for this, but consider the statistics and consequences of not wearing one—you are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle in a crash when not wearing a seat belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for rear seat occupants, seat belts reduce the risk of fatality by 55 percent in passenger cars and 74 percent for light trucks and vans.
Colorado Child Seat Belt Statistics
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Before reviewing Colorado’s seat belt laws for children, look at some surprising statistics:
- In 2019, more than 600 children 12 and younger died in motor vehicle crashes. More than 91,000 children were injured.
- Of the children 12 and younger who died in a crash, 38 percent were not buckled up.
- Car seat use reduces the risk for injury in crashes by 71-82 percent for children, when compared with seat belt use alone.
- Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children ages 4-8, when compared with seat belt use alone.
- Seat belt use reduces the risk for death and serious injury by about half for older children and adults.
Colorado Seat Belt Laws for Children
Colorado’s law requires children to be secured in federally approved child restraint systems or seat belts based on their age and weight.
Age: Under One Year
Children under one, weighing less than 20 pounds, should be restrained in the back seat using a rear-facing car seat
Age: One to Four Years
Children between one and four years of age and weighing 20-40 pounds must be in a rear-facing or forward-facing child restraint device.
Age: Up to Eight Years
Children up to the age of eight must be secured in the appropriate car seat for their height and weight per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Age: Eight to Fifteen Years
Children between eight and fifteen should be secured with a regular seatbelt or an appropriate child restraint system.
If you’re more of a visual learner, this educational illustration from the Colorado Department of Transportation can help you better understand the state’s seat belt laws for children. The Colorado Department of Transportation also has helpful safety tips and guidelines for child passengers.
How Colorado Police Officers Enforce Child Seat Belt Laws
- Violations of Colorado’s child seat belt laws fall under primary enforcement and apply to children below sixteen years of age.
- Primary enforcement means an officer can pull you over and issue a citation for this violation, regardless of the child’s seating position.
- Violations can result in tickets begin at $50 to $165 with possible community service.
Exceptions to Child Seat Belt Laws
The child seatbelt and car seat laws do not apply to children who are:
- Being transported due to a medical emergency if no child restraint is available.
- Riding in a commercial vehicle that is managed by a childcare center.
- Riding in a vehicle managed by a luxury limousine or a common/contract carrier.
What Does the Law in Colorado Say About Booster Seats?
- When a child outgrows the forward-facing car seat, they are ready to use a booster seat in the rear seat with either a lap or shoulder belt.
- Children should be kept in a booster seat until they reach the height of at least 4’9″.
- Booster seats should never be used with lap-only seat belts.
- The law states that kids need to use a car seat or booster until they are 8 years old.
- Some kids will not fit in a seat belt properly, so they must be in a car seat.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has a video designed to help parents know when to transition their children to booster seats.
Colorado Farm Bureau’s Child-Saver Program
Every time parents or caregivers get in a car, they can make a lifesaving difference by making sure children are properly fastened in their car seats.
When you insure with Colorado Farm Bureau, you’re eligible for the discounts provided by the Colorado Farm Bureau Federation. This includes a significant savings on child car seats through the Child-Saver Program.
Child-Saver Program Details
- You can buy a child car seat directly from the manufacturer’s distributor for only $30—a substantial savings off the usual retail price of $64.99.
- Colorado Farm Bureau pays the difference, including shipping charges.
- This offer is only for Colorado Farm Bureau Members.
- There is a limit of only three car seats per membership.
To take part in the Child-Saver Program, print and complete this order form and send it along with a check or money order to the address that appears on the form.
Contact a Farm Bureau Insurance Agent
For more information on the benefits of insuring with Farm Bureau Insurance including discounts on travel, health care, equipment, and car seats, speak with a Farm Bureau Insurance agent. Locate one near you by using our Agent Finder.