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DENVER -- Police statewide start enforcing a new child safety seat requirement in Colorado Monday.

The new law raises the car seat or booster seat requirement to include children under age 8. Previously, the law required children car seats for children under age 6.

The expanded child passenger safety law passed in 2010, but the state conducted a year-long education period to inform parents and caregivers about the change.

"It took me by surprise," said Wendy Macha of Westminster. Her 6-year-old son Emmett has been out of a booster for more than a year. "I don't have a booster seat. I haven't had one since he was 45 pounds," she said.

Under the new law, a child's weight and height are no longer the only determining factors.

"The booster seat portion of the law does not have a weight requirement or a height requirement, only an age requirement," said Vera Fullaway, spokesperson for Colorado Child Passenger Safety Program. That new requirement effects kids under eight.

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Authorities start enforcing the law Monday.

The Colorado State Patrol says that 20 children, ages 4 through 7, died in crashes in Colorado from 2006 to 2010.

Eleven of those children were unrestrained or improperly restrained.

Drivers could be fined $82 for not complying with the car seat requirement.

The expanded law also has the following minimum requirements:

  • Babies under 1 year old and less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing car seat and only in the back seat of the vehicle.
  • Once babies turn 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds, the law gives them the option of using a front-facing car seat. Rear-facing car seats are still allowed by law and safety experts recommend that parents continue using them to the upper weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer because it provides the most protection.
  • Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must continue to be protected in a child safety restraint. For most kids in this age group that means a booster seat, but experts recommend that children remain in a forward- facing car seat longer if the upper weight limit of the seat allows it (usually 40-50 pounds).
  • When a child turns 8, the law allows them to use a vehicle seat belt. But for the best protection, safety experts recommend that kids continue to use a booster seat until they are at least 4’9” tall, which half of children will not reach until they are 11 years old.
Courtesy: fox31.com
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