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Colorado Passenger Safety (CPS) Law

This law states that it’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure that child passengers are properly buckled up in the appropriate restraint on every trip. The child restraint must have a label that states it meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 213 set forth in Section 49 C.F.R. 571.213, as amended.

To view the complete law excluding the latest update please visit the Colorado Official State Web Portal. (Title 42: Vehicles and Traffic: 42-4-236 Child restraint systems required - definitions - exemptions.)

Requirements of the Law

Rear Facing Child Restraint Systems

The law requires infants to ride in a rear-facing child safety seat until they are at least 1 year old and weight at least 20 pounds.

Forward Facing Child Restraint Systems

The law requires that children ages 1 year to 4 years who weigh 20 pounds up to 40 pounds be restrained in a forward-facing child safety seat.

Booster Seats

The law requires that children who weigh over 40 pounds or who are at least 4 years old but less than 6 years old be properly restrained in a child booster seat or with a child safety belt-positioning device, unless they are 55 inches tall.

Safety Belts

The law requires that a child who is at least 6 years old or is at least 55 inches tall, must be properly restrained with the motor vehicle’s safety belt.

It is recommended that proper seat belt fit is achieved when the child meets the 5-Step Test (from Safety Belt Safe U.S.A.):

  1. The child can sit all the way back against the auto seat.
  2. The child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat.
  3. The belt crosses the shoulder between the neck and arm.
  4. The lap belt is as low as possible touching the thighs.
  5. The child can stay seated like this for the whole trip.

Other Provisions of Colorado’s Child Restraint Law

  • The law applies to children being transported in a privately owned non-commercial vehicle and in non-commercial vehicles operated by childcare centers.
  • Children must be buckled up in the front and back seats on every trip.


Children are exempt from the law when:

  • A child is being transported in a medical emergency.
  • Children are being transported in a motor vehicle built to commercial standards such as a school bus.
  • If a child is at least four years of age and is less than 55 inches tall and if the child is being transported in a vehicle equipped with only a 2-point-lap-belt system available for the child, the child shall be properly restrained with a lap belt.

Properly Restrained

To ensure children are properly restrained as required in the law, follow these recommendations:

  • To determine proper installation, refer to both the owner’s manual of the child restraint system and the owner’s manual of the vehicle.
  • All child restraint systems must be installed according to manufacturer’s instructions.
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