As parents and caregivers prepare for children to head back to school, the Colorado Department of Transportation says it’s the opportune time to make sure students and younger siblings are buckled up properly when they travel.
“Parents have a tendency to move their child to the next type of car seat, booster seat or even an adult seat belt earlier than is recommended,” said Corporal Heather Cobler of the Colorado State Patrol. “But each change may be a step down in safety, depending on the age and size of the child.”
Cobler said it’s important to read the manufacturer label on the side of the seat and use it to the maximum allowable weight and height for that seat.
A law enacted on 1 August 2010, requires children under age 8 to be properly protected in a child safety seat when traveling in a motor vehicle. The law now stipulates a minimum fine of $82 per violation, which is a primary enforcement, meaning the driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child in the vehicle.
In Colorado between 2004 to 2008, 28 children ages 4 to 7 were killed in traffic crashes. Twenty of them were improperly restrained, totally unrestrained or using only the vehicle seat belt, which does not provide adequate protection. CDOT’s crash data from 2006-2010 shows that 64 child passengers, ages zero to 12 died in traffic crashes. More than half (55%) were not using a child safety seat or seat belt, or they were using one improperly.