child with seatbelt
This (staged) improper use is
no longer legal in CO.
Despite the recommendations that a child's car seat stays rear-facing until 2 at a minimum, many still turn their babies around before their first birthday, even though it's illegal. No matter the excuse why it was done, it shouldn't be done for safety's sake.

The same goes with parents who booster children before the recommended age of 4 years old and 40 pounds minimum, or letting a child out of a booster before the minimum age of 8 years old and 4'9".

Though I know there will be many who disagree, I for one am incredibly glad to see Colorado's new laws regarding booster use, and wish that it extended to all states and down to use of car seats in younger children as well.

Colorado's law had been that children under 6 needed to be in some kind of restraint -- a disturbingly low limited law that did not match up with recommendations from safety institutes such as Safe Kids USA or the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute. They finally got their laws up to par -- the one year for "education" on proper booster use is now up. As of August 1, not only is it illegal for a child to go without a booster before their 8th birthday, but it also will result in a minimum $82 fine.

However, the best part? Unlike the past, police can now pull parents over if they suspect that a child under 8 years old is unrestrained. Thank GOD.

I personally wish this were true in all states. Some states have such disturbingly low laws that children are allowed out of a certain type of seat before half of them should even be in it. Florida, for example, only requires a seat for children under 3. Going without a booster? "Four through 5 years old." Most children shouldn't go into a booster until they're at least 4, but generally 5-6 years old is a better guideline. Disney World's parking lot is a veritable nightmare for anyone even half-educated in car seat safety.

Imagine if police could pull people over in all states for seeing that little head bobbing around in the car, obviously unbelted, or blond curls in the front seat, despite being shorter than the window. How many lives would be saved? How many accidents do we see in the news ALL THE TIME where an unrestrained or improperly restrained child dies, that was totally preventable?

While I know there are many who will cry "Nanny state!" and think that the protection of minors should just be up to the parents, regardless of their education or even lack of caring, I for one am glad that there are laws out there to protect children from things that are avoidable, such as physical abuse and deadly car crashes that didn't have to be deadly with better car seat use.

How do you feel about cops being able to pull people over for not meeting bare minimums?


Image via Josef1129/CafeMom