Children

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Passenger safety law and best practices

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
 Safest practice
 Wisconsin law
 Rear-facing car seat  Children should ride in a rear-facing car seat until at least the age of 2. Keep children rear facing as long as they are within the height and weight requirements for the car seat.
 Children must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 1 year old and weigh 20 pounds.
 Forward-facing car seat  Children should ride in a
forward-facing car seat with
a harness as long as they are
within the height and weight
requirements for the car seat.
 Children must ride in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they are 4 years old and weigh 40 pounds.
 Booster seat
 Children should ride in a booster seat until they are tall enough to sit on the vehicle seat without slouching, and the seat belt fits snugly across the top of the thighs and across the shoulder.
 Children must ride in a booster seat until they are 8 years old or weigh 80 pounds or are 4 feet 9 inches tall (4'9").
 Seat belt
 Children should ride using a lap
and shoulder belt once they
have outgrown their car or
booster seat.
 Children must be restrained in a seat belt when they outgrow the
requirements of a booster seat.
 Back seat
 Children under 13 years of age
should ride in the back seat
using a lap and shoulder belt.
 Children required to
ride in a rear-facing or forward-facing car seat must be restrained in
the back seat.

Safety tips

  • Choose a car seat based on your child’s height, weight and age.
  • Read all instructions to correctly install and use the car seat.
  • Check the expiration date and know the history of your car
    seat before you use it.
  • Use a car seat correctly on every ride.
  • Children are more likely to buckle up if they see a parent or
    caregiver buckled up.
  • Let others who drive your kids know that a car seat is a must.
Wisconsin child passenger safety (Printable PDF)
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Car Seat Checks

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Safe Kids

This international organization works to prevent unintentional injuries. Children's Hospital is the lead agency for Safe Kids activities in Wisconsin.