Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Child safety seat law

In basic terms:

  • Children must be in a car seat until they reach age 4 and 40 pounds, and in a booster seat until they reach age 8, more than 80 pounds in weight, or more than 4ft. 9in. tall.
  • Tiered structure applies:
    • Less than 1 year old, or less than 20 lbs. must be in a rear-facing child seat in the back seat (if so equipped)
    • If at least one year old and 20 pounds, but less than four years old or less than 40 pounds, must be a in a forward- or rear-facing child seat in the back seat (if so equipped)
    • Age 4 to age 8, and between 40-80 lbs., and no more than 4 ft. 9 in. must be in a forward- or rear-facing child seat in the back seat (if so equipped) or a booster seat
  • Penalty for non-compliance depends on the age of the child
    • If less than four years of age, the total penalty is $175.30
    • If between ages 4 and 8, the total penalty is $150.10 for the first offense, $200.50 for a second offense, and $263.50 for third and subsequent offenses
  • There are no exemptions from these rules allowing removal of a child from a restraint to attend to personal needs (such as feeding or diapering)
  • A child who, because of a medical condition, body size or a physical disability, is incapable of being transported in a child safety restraint system, may be transported without a safety restraint system with physician approval

Specific questions about child seats/booster seats should be directed to:

WINS (Wisconsin Information Network for Safety)
(1-866) 511-9467

Further information and recommendations available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS

Questions about the content of this page:
Wisconsin Information Network for Safety, wins9467@sbcglobal.net
1-866-511-WINS (9467)

Last modified: September 17, 2012

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