Driving with your child can be a pleasant experience, but the road can be quite dangerous, especially for children who aren’t buckled up correctly. According to NHTSA, correctly installed car seats can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash. In Wisconsin, parents and caregivers are required to use child safety restraint devices when driving with children. The law outlines what is required of drivers and vehicle occupants, as well as safety rules to prevent injury or death in the event of a crash.
Who is required to use a car seat?
Wisconsin law mandates the use of child safety restraint devices (car seats and booster seats) for all children until they turn eight years old or reach 4 feet and 9 inches (57 inches) tall. Failure to comply with the law can result in hefty fines and even imprisonment in certain cases.
Types of Car Seats
In Wisconsin, there are different types of child safety restraints, including:
Rear-facing safety seats
Rear-facing safety seats are required for children under the age of 1 year or children who weigh less than 20 pounds. It’s recommended that children remain in rear-facing car seats until they reach the height or weight limits of the seat’s manufacturer.
Forward-facing car seats
Forward-facing car seats are designed for children aged 1 year and above who weigh more than 20 pounds. Children should stay in the forward-facing seat until they reach the height or weight limit of the seat.
Booster seats are ideal for children who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. Children should use a booster seat until they reach a height of 4 feet and 9 inches.
Once a child outgrows their booster seat, they should use the adult seat belt. According to Wisconsin law, children under the age of 13 years must always be seated in the back seat regardless of whether or not they’re wearing a seat belt.
Exceptions To The Law
There are situations where a child seat is not necessary. For example:
- If the child is riding in a school bus.
- If the child is riding in a vehicle that was manufactured before 1965 and isn’t equipped with seat belts.
- If the child is being transported as part of a government official motorcade.
Parents should note that some exceptions may vary, depending on the circumstances. It’s always essential to consult with a qualified attorney or traffic officer to establish whether your child is exempt from the law.
Penalties for Violating Car Seat Law In Wisconsin
Wisconsin takes child safety seriously, and failing to comply with the law can attract severe penalties. The specific fines depend on the number of times you’ve violated the law and the circumstances surrounding the violation. For example:
- First-time violators of the law can be fined up to $75.
- Second-time violators can be fined $200.
- Third-time violators can be fined $300 and lose their driver’s license.
Parents should also note that violating the car seat safety laws in Wisconsin can result in demerit points or even imprisonment in extreme cases.
The Bottom Line
Car seat safety is crucial, and it’s every parent’s responsibility to ensure that their child is safe while on the road. In Wisconsin, car seat laws require that children use car seats or booster seats until they’re eight years old or reach 4 feet and 9 inches in height. Parents should also note that there are penalties for failing to comply. By following these laws and staying informed, you can reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of an accident.
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