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Understanding Wisconsin's Child Safety Seat Laws

Posted on in Car Accidents

child-car-seatAsk any parent and they will tell you that the safety of their children is paramount to any other job they perform. Keeping a child protected can seem like a daunting task giving the dangers that seem to lurk around every corner. Driving in the car with a child is no exception. Car accidents put young children at great risk of serious injury and even death. According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Car crashes are the number one killer of children one to 12 years old in the United States." Thankfully there are laws in place to protect young children as passengers in a vehicle. The real question is, "do parents and other care takers really understand the child safety seat laws in Wisconsin?"

As a passenger in car, there are several weight, age and height guidelines for children as outlined by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT) as part of the child safety seat law (http://dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/vehicle/child/laws.htm). Among these requirements are the following:

All children are required to be a car sear until age four or until they reach 40 pounds. A booster seat is required for children under the age of eight, less than 80 pounds or shorter than 4'9" tall. Within each of these guidelines, the following tiered structure applies:

Under one year old or under 20 pounds - The child must be in safety seat placed in the back seat of the car (if applicable) and in the rear facing position.

Over one year, but less than four years and at least 20 pounds or less than 40 pounds - The child must be in a child seat placed the back seat of the car (if applicable). The seat can be in either a forward or rear facing position.

Ages four to eight, between 40 and 80 pounds and no taller than 4'. 9"- The child must be in either a child seat or booster seat placed in the back seat of the car. If using a child seat, it can be in either a forward or rear facing position.

The penalty for non-compliance of the Wisconsin Child Safety Seat Law is $175.30 for a child under the age of four who is improperly restrained. For children ages four to eight years, the penalty is $150.10 for the first offense, $200.50 for a second offense and $263.50 for all subsequent offenses

It is important to remember that these rules are non-negotiable. If a child requires feeding or has other needs, parents should pull the car to a safe place and then remove the child from the seat to attend to them. The safest place for the child, while the vehicle is moving is properly restrained in their safety seat. However, if a child has a mental or physical condition that renders them incapable of being transported in a child safety seat, they may be transported in the manner dictated by a physician's approval.

Further information and recommendations available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS. You can also contact WINS (Wisconsin Information Network for Safety) at (1-866) 511-9467 or wins9467@sbcglobal.net.

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