The number one cause of death for children is motor vehicle accidents and 90 percent of car seats for children are installed incorrectly. At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at North Suburban Medical Center, we want to ensure that your child is safe in your vehicle-- and it is the law to have your car safety seat installed properly!

How do I choose the best child restraint?

  • It fits your child
  • It fits your vehicle
  • It's the one that you will use correctly every time!

Best practices and law

All children under 8 years of age

Colorado Law: All children 8 years old and younger must be properly restrained in a child restraint system.

Birth to age one

Colorado Law: Babies must be restrained in a rear-facing car seat (in the rear seat of the vehicle) until they are age 1 AND weigh at least 20 pounds.

Best Practice: Babies should be in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible; many convertible car seats are safe to use until the baby reaches 35 pounds.

Children ages of 1 to 4

Colorado Law: Children older than age 1 and weighing more than 20 pounds must be properly retrained in a car seat.

Best Practice: Your 1 to 4 year olds should be in a rear or forward facing seat with a five point harness until they are at least 40 pounds or the upper weight limit of the seat. Keep the child rear facing as long as the seat recommends. Use upper-tether straps if possible (refer to your car seat and vehicle’s owner’s manual for more information.)

Children ages 4 to 8

Colorado Law: Children ages 4 to 8 must continue to ride in a child restraint. Younger children can be in a five point harness safety seat, or as the child gets bigger using a booster that utilizes the vehicle's lap and shoulder belt.

Best Practice: Children ages 4 to 8 should be in a booster seat in the back seat of the car until they are 57" and at least 8 years old.  Use the "5-Step Test" to determine if your child can move to a seat belt only. Children under 13 should sit in the back seat only.

5-Step test

1. Does the child back against the seat?
2. Do the child's knees comfortably bend at the edge of the seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

Children between the ages of 8 and 16

Colorado Law: Children ages of 8 and 16 must use a seat belt or child restraint.

Best Practice: Refer to your child's booster seat to determine when he/she can safely stop using the booster. Keep your child in the back seat as long as possible, at least until age 13 and 100 pounds. When your teen is in the front seat, put the seat back as far as possible in case the airbag deploys in an accident.


General car seat safety info