It is as surprising as it is scary, but three out of four parents mistakenly think their child’s in the correct size or kind of car seat, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Considering that motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of child deaths, it is an issue worth addressing.
Nearly 650 people died in motor vehicle accidents last year, more than a 34 percent jump over the year before, based on CDOT’s numbers.
If your child has been seriously injured in a car accident, get help quickly from a Denver injury attorney.
Colorado Child Safety Guidelines
CDOT has published several recommendations for keeping your children safe while you are on the road.
For infants up to age 3, they should be kept rear-facing as long as their growth allows. Also:
- They should never ride in the front seat.
- Many seats snap into a base that attaches to the vehicle.
- That base and the seat should be secured tightly.
- The harness should be snug, and the chest clip resting at chest/armpit level.
For toddlers aged anywhere from 2 to 5 years:
- The harness should be snug, with the chest clip at chest/armpit level.
- Some seats have weight limits that can handle a child as heavy as 80 pounds.
- They also should ride in the rear seat of the vehicle – always.
For slightly older children, up to 12 years:
- The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the shoulder, but not across the neck or face, which can cause further injury.
- The lap belt flat should rest across the upper thighs and not the stomach.
Finally, for children over the age of 8, but depending on their size, they can be as old as 12:
- The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the shoulder.
- The lap belt should lay flat across the upper thighs.
- The back should be flat against the seat.
- The knees should be able to bend comfortably at the edge of the seat.
- All children under the age of 13 should still be sitting in the back seat.
Failing to follow Colorado’s child safety seat laws can earns fines starting at $82.
There Are Exceptions
Colorado state law does, however, provide for a couple of exceptions.
The first is for older motor vehicles. If your vehicle was built before 1968 or without a seat belt, as most vehicles were before 1969, then the exception applies.
The other exception is if the use of a seat belt would create a potential physical or psychological harm to the user. If drivers are pulled over and someone is not wearing a seat belt because of a physically or mentally disabling condition, documentation from a physician must be provided. The document must explain the condition and why the use of a seat belt might present a hazard.
If your child has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, get in touch with a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. Call the Denver office of Burg Simpson Colorado at 303-792-5595 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation Form so we can help.