Wisconsin car seat laws have both age and weight requirements. Infants less than a year old and less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear facing infant seat. Toddlers age 1 through 3 years old and 20-40 pounds can ride in a forward facing seat. Once a child reaches age 4 and is at least 40 pounds, he or she may ride in booster seat. When a child reaches 8 years old and 80 pounds or 4′-9″ (57″) tall, he or she may use only a seat belt. Kids under 8 must ride in the back seat, if there is one. Check out the links below for more details.
Everyone in a vehicle is required to buckle up in Wisconsin. Notable exclusions are for taxis and buses, which are not required to have seat belts.
Car seat laws in Wisconsin fall below recommended practice. According to safety experts, infants are safer the longer they ride backward. They recommend a baby be at least 2 years old before switching to a forward facing car seat. Even better would be to let your child remain in a rear facing seat until he or she reaches the maximum height or weight limit for the seat, even if more than 2 years old. (Did you know kids in Sweden ride backward until age 4? They ride with their legs crossed.) Might want to invest in a seat cover.
Also, safety experts recommend that kids stay in forward facing car seats until they reach the maximum height or weight requirement for the seat. Many seats now have an upper weight limit of 60 pounds or more.
The fine for not properly restraining a child in Wisconsin starts at $150. It is higher for younger children and for continued offenses.
Check out the links below for more resources.
State and Local Resources for Wisconsin Car Seat Laws
Wisconsin DOT – Wisconsin car seat laws and penalties
Zero In Wisconsin:
- Video: proper use of infant seat (rear facing) – 5 minutes
- Video: proper use of toddler seat (forward facing) – 4 minutes
- Video: proper use of booster seat – 4 minutes
National Resources for Wisconsin Car Seat Laws
nhtsa.gov – U.S. Department of Transportation / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website
safercar.gov – The NHTSA publishes this site. Parents Central is the child safety section. This is a great info packed site, so if you have questions about almost anything related to car seats or booster seats, definitely check this one out.
iihs.org – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, child safety page
safekids.org – A global organization about keeping children safe, especially from preventable injuries or fatalities. Their site includes tips on car seat choice and car seat inspection events, among other things.