A Colorado law requiring children in cars to be in booster seats until age 8 went into effect yesterday. It increases the mandatory age for booster seats from 4 to 8 years old. Previously, Colorado required booster seats for all 4 year olds but only encouraged the use of booster seats for children between 4 years and 6 years.
Babies younger than 1 year old and less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat and only in the back seat of a vehicle. Once babies turn 1 and weigh at least 20 pounds, they can use a front-facing seat. Ignoring the law will be costly. Drivers who break the booster-seat law could be fined $82. The Colorado State Patrol plans a one-year education period on the new requirements.
This past May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration released a report showing that in rollover crashes, the estimated incidence rate of incapacitating injuries among unrestrained children was almost three times that for restrained children. In near-side impacts, unrestrained children were eight times more likely to sustain incapacitating injuries than children restrained in child safety seats. Head injuries were the most common injuries sustained by children in motor vehicle crashes. Children under 1 year old had higher incidence rates of head injuries than the other two age groups.