What are the car seat laws in Wisconsin?
Children in WI who are at least 57 inches tall and weigh 80 pounds are allowed to use an adult seat belt. Drivers can be fined up to $174 for breaking car seat laws.
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UPDATED: Oct 21, 2021
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- Wisconsin has detailed child car seat laws that parents should explicitly follow to keep kids safe and to avoid punishments
- The Wisconsin laws for child car seats are more significant than the recommendations of the AAP in many cases
- Wisconsin’s car insurance companies take note of these safety laws
- The child car seat law is a primary law in Wisconsin
For parents who are looking for a recommendation on child safety seat usage to keep their children as safe as possible in the car, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, is an excellent resource that you can turn to.
The AAP is not a legal entity and cannot establish or enforce laws. However, it has made recommendations that parents can follow in an effort to keep their children as safe as possible.
The recommendations by the AAP include that children sit in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two years old.
When the child reaches a height of four feet, nine inches tall and is between eight and 12 years old, the AAP recommends that the child start to use the safety seat belt in the car rather than a child booster seat.
However, you may be wondering how this recommendation stacks up to the Wisconsin state law.
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Car Seat Law for Wisconsin
Car seat laws vary dramatically by state, and they rarely follow precisely with the AAP guidelines. If the state’s laws are more strict the AAP guidelines, drivers should always be aware of and comply with state laws as a first step.
Any additional AAP guidelines can be considered as an extra safety precaution.
In Wisconsin, the following guidelines apply:
- children who are under the age of one year old must sit in a rear-facing infant car seat, and this should be placed in the back seat when possible
- children between the ages of one and three years old and who are between 20 and 40 pounds, the child can sit in a forward-facing car seat
- children who are between the ages of three and seven years old, who are between 40 and 80 pounds, and who are under 57 inches tall should sit in a booster seat
- the use of adult seat belts that come with the car should not begin until the child is at least eight years old
The child car seat law in Wisconsin also states that a child must be at least 80 pounds and 57 inches tall or taller before adult seat belt use is permissible.
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Consequences for Breaking the Law
Because Wisconsin’s car seat law has so many stages or steps that drivers should be aware of and should comply with, it can be challenging for parents to keep track of and to actively transition a child’s seating arrangements in the vehicle at the exact required time by law.
Therefore, you may be curious about what the consequences are for violating these rules in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s child seat belt laws are primary laws, which means that a law enforcement officer does not need any other reason to pull you over on the road other than noticing that one or more children is not properly secured by a safety seat or seat belt in the car.
The penalty associated with breaking the seat belt law in Wisconsin with a child who can legally wear an adult seat belt is $10 per incident. However, the car seat violation for smaller and younger children who are required to sit in an infant or car seat is much more significant.
Each violation of the car seat law in Wisconsin will equate to a fine of $174. There is no points accumulation on your driving record for a violation of these laws.
Provide for Child Safety and Care
If you intend to drive even a short distance in Wisconsin with a child in your car, it is your responsibility to understand and obey these rules fully.
Even when a child is properly secured in an infant seat, car seat, or booster seat, he or she may still be injured in an accident, and this includes even a seemingly minor incident.
You should review your car insurance policy today to verify that it meets Wisconsin’s minimum requirements for coverage.
Because the state minimum requirement for car insurance does not include any compensation for your own expenses, you may also want to consider buying collision or comprehensive insurance with a personal injury add-on for additional insurance protection.
Some drivers are inclined to buy an insurance policy in Wisconsin based on cost alone. While nobody wants to pay an excessive amount of money for their auto insurance coverage, you should look beyond the bottom line quote amount to get the best policy possible.
Learn more about each insurance company in the areas of financial strength, claims processing, and customer satisfaction. Your effort to complete this step will help you to make a truly informed buying decision.
A final step to take to ensure that your little ones are safe in your car is to verify that your car seats are properly installed.
Rather than assume that this is the case, visit a check station authorized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to inspect your car seat and to provide you with installation assistance as needed.
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