Motor vehicle safety

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages two to 14, and the leading cause of injury-related death for children younger than two. When installed and used correctly, child safety seats and safety belts can prevent injuries and save lives. Young children restrained in child safety seats have an 80 percent lower risk of fatal injury than those who are unrestrained.

Find out where you can get your car seat checked for proper installation.

Car seats, booster seats and seat belts

The Wisconsin child passenger safety law states the minimum required. Most doctors and injury prevention professionals recommend "best practice" to protect children in a crash.

 Type of seat
 Wisconsin law
 Best practice recommendations
 Rear-facing  Child must be rear-facing in a car seat until one year and 20 pounds.
 American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children staying rear-facing until at least two years old.
 Forward-facing  Child must remain in a harness until at least four years and 40 pounds.
 Use seat with harness until the maximum weight allowed, often more than four years old.
 Booster seat
 Child can be in booster starting at four years and 40 pounds, until child reaches eight years or 80 pounds and 4'9".
 Child should stay in booster until tall enough to sit in vehicle without slouching and seat belt fits across the hips, chest and shoulder, usually 4'9".
 Seat belt
 A seat belt is required once a child has outgrown booster seat requirements. Always use a lap and shoulder belt instead of a lap belt only.
 A seat belt is required once a child has outgrown booster seat requirements. Always use a lap and shoulder belt instead of a lap belt only. 
 Back seat
 Children four years and younger must sit in the back seat unless there is not a back seat.
 Children 12 years and younger should sit in the back seat.