Starting on August 1, 2010 if your child between four and eight years old is not in a proper booster seat in your car, you will get a ticket. The State of Colorado passed the Colorado Child Passenger Safety Law that makes it mandatory for child booster seats for kids under the age of eight years old. There is a one-year educational period so officers will only issue warnings to those violating the booster seat.
Studies have shown that children do not properly fit into a back seat of a car until somewhere between eight and twelve years old. Parents need to explain to their children that this is a safety issue and doesn’t matter how mature their kids think they are. Mostly, the law is looking out for children who may not be tall enough to use a seat belt.
If a child isn’t tall enough, the lap portion of the belt will slip over the hips and go into the abdominal area. Booster seats raise kids up to the level of the seat belt so that the belt fits them correctly and their abdominal area is guarded. In addition, the shoulder portion of a seat belt needs to fit across the child’s collar bone and chest and should not cross their neck or be underneath the arms or behind the back.
The harness allows the force of a crash to be evenly distributed along the upper torso, protecting a child better than a booster seat. However, 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.
The Colorado State Patrol reports that in the last 5 years, 35 children between 4 and 8 years old have died in traffic crashes. 77% of those kids were not properly restrained in a booster seat or were totally unrestrained.