Stricter Booster Seat Law Might Come to Your State Too


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

car seat safety


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nonmember avatar Shelly

And how do you prove the age to the cops? I don't carry my son's birth certificate around. Cops have better things to do. Am I the only person who thinks an 8 year old in a booster seat is ridiculous? I am all for safety, and very thankful for car seats...but, really? A second grader?


I think 8 year old's should be able to just be belted in. For Pete's sake! Do you know that some 8 year old's are as tall as 5 feet or more? A booster seat?? My grandson wouldn't have fit in one at 8. He's all legs and felt sick when his feet just dangled. He wanted them on the floor. I think the whole "car seat" and "booster seats" have gone way too far. Buckle up, you bet. Booster and car seat beyond a reasonable age is ridiculous. They get on a school bus and don't even wear seat belts.

mjande4 mjande4

Agree with JAFE!!  This is way over the top!

tinyp... tinypossum

JAFE-it's not just about height. It is also about the skeletal structure of a child not being as strong and sturdy as an adult. If the belt hits them in the wrong place, it could kill them.

I think it is great to see the laws becoming more strict. The reason we have laws like this is because some people are too lazy or stupid to use common sense and do the right thing. 

banan... banana-bear

JAFE, are you in some way opposed to advancements in technology? The reason children are recommended to rear face longer/harness longer/booster longer is because there was extensive research done on child restraints and car crashes - and the result was, children would be SAFER if restrained within these guidelines. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why people are so against keeping their kids and grandkids safe. It's beyond me.

(P.S. School buses are designed differently compared to automobiles and their seats are spaced in a way to protect the children on board. Besides that fact, how many accidents involve a bus on a daily basis? And how many involve a car? I think you know that car accidents are FAR more common and more deadly than bus accidents. And, seat belts can hinder the escape time for everyone to exit the bus in case of an emergency.)

Katsa... Katsandkids

I think its a wonderful law most kids NEED a booster still at age 8 or longer I have a 10 year old sister still in one and she will be until she can pass the 5 step test for booster seat use way to many kids are in just seat belts way to early seat belts are made for adults so until a child is as tall as a average adult the seat belt will not fit therefore do more harm than good in most accidents

PonyC... PonyChaser

I agree with Jafe. It should be an either/or situation. I have no argument with the theory of the booster seat, and for most kids, the age thing wouldn't matter.

However, unlike the 'rear facing' situation, which is based, in part, on the development of the bones and muscles in the head, neck and torso, the booster situation seems to be based on an arbitrary number - 8. Why 8? Why not 9? or 7? The age should be completely left out, and be based completely on height. When the child can comfortably sit with his back against the back of the seat and his feet on the floor, he should be able to be out of the booster seat. Because the whole point is to keep the child safe, not say "you're this age, therefore you should be treated like a baby". I know several kids who are tall for their age, and husky with it. At age 7, you'd have mistaken them for 10 or older.

Further, I know a woman who drives a car and is lucky if she hits 4'9". She uses nothing - no booster seat, no extended gas/brake pedals, not even a pillow to sit on. When you see her car go by, it looks like it's driving itself!! How is THAT safe?

I don't have a problem with the state setting guidelines. They must have clear parameters for laws. I get that. But in this case, I do believe that they are not necessarily overstepping their bounds, but being too specific.

Kelli... KelliansMom

i agree with tinypossum ..

Rochelle Alberti

Most people do not realize that the pelvis of a child under 8 crushes very VERY easily....and it has very little to do with their has to do with age and body development.

so yeah...let's just risk our kids' pelvis' just because we are tired of having to lug a booster seat around....

Guess that is why my 8 year old is still in his booster seat...and that is where he'll stay for now.

Clove... CloverJane

My son just turned 8. He was in a booster until 8 as were most of his friends. When I was a kid, no one used boosters. Now we do. We are used to it so it doesn't seem ridiculous. We will get used to seeing 8 year olds in boosters.

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