DENVER — Snow, ice, and slick roads can really increase your chances of skidding or getting into a crash. The situation can be even scarier if you have a child in the car.
Following Colorado's car seat laws can help you save your child's life. They can also help you avoid getting a ticket.
"It's remarkable what a properly installed seat with the child properly harnessed in it can do," says Sgt. William Revelle with the Aurora Police Department.
Revelle regularly does "Car Seat Check Ups." He helps parents properly install the safety devices, and says many well-meaning parents install them improperly.
While he suggests using a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, Colorado law does have minimum requirements for securing your child while on the road.
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|
There are some exceptions for emergency situations.
If a child is not properly restrained according to state law, that could constitute a Class B traffic infraction and the driver could be subject to a $65 fine and a $6 surcharge.
It can be difficult to install a car seat in such a way that complies with both state law and manufacturer's instructions, but there are programs which offer help.
Presbyterian St. Luke's and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children can help you get your car seat properly adjusted. To schedule an appointment, call (303) 839-7338.
Mother and nanny Ashlee Lane says she gets her car seats adjusted each time a child hits a new developmental stage. She also takes extra time when she helps her kids get buckled up.
"Taking that extra time and we're gonna be late because we have to fix something or do something, it's 100 percent worth it to me," says Lane.
"We always say that your child is the most precious thing you'll ever put in your car," he says. "So take the time to do it right. Make sure they're properly in the car. Don't shortcut it."