Why Car Accidents Are The Leading Cause of Deaths Among Young Children
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of deaths among young children and this is due in large part to 4 out of 5 car seats being used incorrectly. Until your child reaches the age of 8 years old, they must remain and be restrained in booster seats, or any other appropriate child car seat. The parents and caregivers that are searching for an appropriate child safety seat that will meet the requirements in Colorado, need to assure the car seat aligns with the child’s weight, height, and age. Look below to see which car seat will fit your child appropriately and properly protect them in the event of an automobile accident.
Birth to 1 Years old & Less than 20 PoundsColorado Law: The child must remain in a rear-facing seat in the back seat only (no exceptions). Expert Advice: Although this is the law in Colorado, many experts recommend keeping the child in a rear-facing seat until they reach 2 years old. Never place a rear-facing child seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active airbag. This includes single-cab pickup trucks. Rear-facing seats provide the best protection because the head, neck, and torso are supported by the back of the safety seat whether you are involved in a frontal or side impact car accident.
1 – 3 Years Old & at Least 20 Pounds or HeavierColorado Law: Must remain in a forward-facing seat in the back seat of the vehicle only (no exceptions). The child should remain in a forward-facing or rear-facing seat until they reach the upper weight limit set by the car seat manufacturer. Expert Advice: Secure the 1 – 4 year old in a rear or forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness system, which often features two shoulder straps, two hip straps and one crotch strap, until the child reaches at least 40 pounds. The advantage of a 5-point harness system is two-fold by having more points of contact to distribute the crash forces and it offers better protection than a lap and shoulder belt. It is always best to keep the child in the backseat to avoid the impact of vehicle airbags.
4 – 7 Years OldColorado Law: Children between the ages of 4-7 must continue to ride in a child safety seat. This car seat can be a five-point harness system for a younger child or a booster that uses the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt as the children get older and bigger. Expert Advice: A child should be in a booster in the back seat until they are 4’9″ tall and at least 8 years old. The use of booster seats can reduce the risk of injury by 59% compared to using a car seat belt alone. Keep your child in a booster seat until:
- They are 4’9″; for many children, this is after the age of eight and therefore, height is the safest guideline.
- The seatbelt crosses the shoulder and chest, not across the neck.
- The lap belt crosses the upper thighs and not across the abdomen.
- Their knees bend at the edge of the back seat and the feet dangle downwards.
- They are able to remain seated in a proper position for the entire trip.
8 – 16 Years OldColorado Law: The child may use a standard vehicle safety seat belt. Although Colorado law allows children to use a standard seat belt at 8 years old, it is recommended that you wait until your child is at least 4’9″ before transitioning to a seat belt, so as to avoid injury in case of an accident. Expert Advice: Follow the guidelines above to determine when the child can graduate from using a booster seat. It is best to keep the child in the back seat as long as possible or until at least age 13 and weighs about 100 pounds. If a teenager seats themselves in the front of the vehicle, move the seat as far back as possible in case the airbag deploys in the event of an accident. In the end, remember that children learn by watching their parents and therefore, make sure you are practicing safe habits.