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Understanding Wisconsin car seat laws regarding car seats is key to making sure that children are as safe as possible when traveling. Parents and guardians need to make sure that they fully understand these laws, as they will be the ones who are held liable if they break them on accident. Learning what the laws have to say about car seats and the use of seat belts will help keep people safe on the road.
General Overview of the Wisconsin Car Seat Laws
The basic laws regarding car seats in Wisconsin are very easy to understand. The first is that all children must be properly and correctly secured in a child safety seat until they are at least four years old. The other part of this law is that children who are between four and eight years old must be secured in a booster seat.
There is a bit more to these laws, especially regarding height and weight limits, but for the most part, the law is very easy to understand. This is good, as it ensures better compliance among parents and guardians.
The Progression of Child Safety Seats
The restrictions and limits of child safety seats obviously play a huge role in how a child will be restrained. The first thing for parents and guardians to remember is that children must be in the back seat of a vehicle, if there is one, and in a rear facing seat if they are under one year old and weigh less than 20 pounds. These children must always be in a rear facing seat.
Children who are between one and four years old and weigh between 20 and 40 pounds can be placed in a forward facing child safety seat. If there is a back seat to the vehicle, the child should still be placed here, as this is the safest location for any child.
Finally, children can graduate to using a booster seat, but they must meet certain requirements to do so. They must be in a booster seat if they are between four and eight years old. Additionally, all children who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds must use a booster seat. When a child is shorter than 4’9” they must be restrained in a booster seat for their safety.
Seat Belt Laws in Wisconsin
When a child is older, then they will be able to move out of the booster seat, but there are still laws regarding how they are to be restrained in the vehicle. Children can use a safety belt if they are at least 57 inches or taller. Additionally, children who weigh more than 80 pounds or are eight years or older can move from the booster seat to use the vehicle’s seat belt.
The important thing to remember about moving from a booster seat is that the seatbelt must fit correctly on the child. The purpose of a booster seat is to lift the child up and off of the seat so that the lap and the shoulder belt will fit correctly across their body and won’t harm them if they are in an accident. Parents and guardians should check to make sure that the regular vehicle belt fits correctly before moving the child from the booster seat.
The lap belt should fit across the top of the thighs, not on the child’s stomach, and the shoulder strap should rest on the chest and shoulder and not stretch across the neck or face.
Exceptions for Drivers to Know
There are some conditions that allow for an exemption to the Wisconsin car seat laws. One is if a child has a body size that makes using these restraints impractical. The other exemption is when a child has a physical or medical condition that makes the use of safety restraints unreasonable.
Keeping children safe in a car and especially in a car accident is important and that is the goal of these laws. Parents and guardians who follow them will find that they are much less likely to deal with an injury in the event of an accident. It’s important to consider a child’s age, weight, and height when moving from one type of child safety seat to another, as the child’s safety is the goal.