Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed new child car seat regulations that will affect Aurora drivers with children. These rules hold child car seat manufacturers to higher safety requirements and institute the first side impact crash test for child car seats by any government in the world. Aurora parents should also be aware of Colorado’s child car seat laws to keep their children safe.
New Child Safety Seat Regulations
Essentially, the proposed change in the rules governing child car seats involves instituting the first side impact testing for the seats. To pass this test, the car seat must demonstrate an ability to safely restrain the child, prevent harmful head contact with the vehicle door and reduce crash forces.
The regulations will create a specifically designed test where one vehicle traveling 30 mph strikes another vehicle traveling 15 mph on the passenger side door where the car seat sits. There will be tests using both a dummy simulating a 12-month-old child and a dummy simulating a three-year-old child.
The comment period for these rule changes closed on April 28, 2014. NHTSA will review the comments it received from advocacy groups and other organizations and make technical changes in the rules, and submit the rules to Congress for approval. Manufacturers will have three years to adapt to the new rules and testing. NHTSA estimates that the new rules will save five lives and prevent 64 injuries annually.
Colorado’s Child Car Seat Laws
Colorado requires that parents use car seats for their children until the age of eight- years-old. For the first year of the child’s life, the law requires he or she be in rear-facing car seats.
From years one to four, and after the child reaches 20 lbs in weight, the child still needs to use a car seat but can use a forward-facing seat. During years four to eight, the law requires children ride in a booster seat. After the child’s eighth birthday, he or she can use the seatbelts in the back seat, but the seatbelt must safely fit the child.
Colorado recommends that parents keep their child in the rear facing car seat as long as possible. Some of these seat models have weight limitations of around 30 lbs – 40 lbs. Children usually are able to use the car’s seatbelts safely when they reach the height of 4’9″, according to a Colorado DOT handout, but the only way to know for sure is to check for five things when the child sits.
The five things you should check on a car seat once your child is sitting in it:
- the child can sit all the way back in the seat;
- knees bend on the edge of the seat;
- belt crosses along the shoulder, not the neck;
- lap belt sits on the upper thighs; and
- child can maintain this seating throughout the ride.
Car Seats and Other Areas of the Law
If you’re in an accident and you didn’t follow the rules for child car seats, not only might your child be at risk of serious injury, you may harm your legal right to compensation for your child’s injuries. The other party may argue that you failed to mitigate your child’s injuries by not following child car seat regulations.
The Law Office of D.J. Banovitz can help address child car seat issues in car accident claims. Contact our office at 303-300-5060 if you need assistance with an accident claim.