Under Wisconsin car seat laws, a child under 8 years of age should be properly restrained in the prescribed car seat as per their age and size. The car seat must meet federal safety standards. The penalty for violation depends on the age of the child. It may range between $175 to $265.
Disclaimer: This content does not constitute legal advice. It is solely for informational purposes. Always check the original source of the law for the latest version.
- Front Seat
- Seat Belt
- Taxi Seat
- Ridesharing Seat
- Alone in Car
- Choosing a Seat
- Installation Help
Wisconsin Car Seat Laws
Wisconsin Rear-Facing Car Seat Law
According to the rear-facing car seat law in Wisconsin, a child less than 1 year old and weighing less than 20 pounds must be secured in an infant rear-facing seat. (1) If the vehicle has a backseat, the car seat should be placed in the backseat of the vehicle.
The rear-facing car seat age in Wisconsin is 1 year. But the child should ride rear-facing at least until 2 years of age or for as long as possible. Once they outgrow the maximum limits prescribed by the manufacturer, they can move to a forward-facing seat.
A violation of Wisconsin car seat regulations carries a penalty. It may range from $10 to $200. (2) As per the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the total penalty for violating Wisconsin rear-facing child seat law is $175.30. (3)
Age: Newborn to 1 year
Weight: Less than 20 pounds
Wisconsin Forward-Facing Car Seat Law
According to the forward-facing car seat law in Wisconsin, children who are at least 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds but are younger than 4 years or weigh less than 40 pounds have to be restrained in forward-facing seats in the backseat. (1)
The forward-facing car seat age in Wisconsin is 4 years and younger. But children should continue riding in this seat till they reach the maximum height and weight limits prescribed by the seat’s manufacturer.
A violation of Wisconsin forward-facing child seat law carries a penalty. If the child is less than 4 years old, the total fine is $175.30. If the child is between 4 to 8 years old, the total penalty is $150.10 for the first offense, $250.50 for the second offense and $263.50 for the third and subsequent offense. (3)
Age: Up to 4 years
Weight: Less than 40 pounds
Penalty: If the child is under 4 years old, $175.30; if the child is between 4 to 8 years old, then $150.10 for the first offense, $250.50 for the second offense and $263.50 for the third and subsequent offense.
Wisconsin Booster Seat Law
According to the child booster seat law in Wisconsin, a child between the ages of 4 to 8 years, weighing at least 40 pounds but not more than 80 pounds and shorter than 57 inches shall be restrained in a booster seat. (1) It can be a high back or backless booster seat.
The booster seat age in Wisconsin is 4 to 8 years. However, the National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that your child should move to a booster seat after they outgrow the height and weight limits of their forward-facing seats. They should continue using a booster till they are at least 57 inches tall and the seat belt fits them properly.
The total penalty for violating Wisconsin booster seat requirements is $150.10 for the first offense, $250.50 for the second offense and $263.50 for the third and subsequent offenses. (3)
Age: 4 to 8 years
Height: Shorter than 57 inches
Weight: Less than 80 pounds
Penalty: $150.10 for the first offense, $250.50 for the second offense and $263.50 for the third and subsequent offenses.
Wisconsin Child Front Seat Law
According to the child front seat law in Wisconsin, children who are using a rear-facing or forward-facing seat must be restrained in the backseat of the vehicle if available. (1) The car seats must meet federal safety standards and be appropriate for the child’s height and weight requirements.
When using a booster seat in the front seat, the vehicle seat must be pushed as far back from the dashboard as possible.
The front seat age in Wisconsin is not definite. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation suggests children under the age of 13 should ride in the backseat. This is also in tune with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
There is no penalty as such for violating the child front seat law. However, a violation of car seat laws in Wisconsin will attract a fine depending on the age of the child. (3)
Age: Recommended – 13+ years
Wisconsin Child Seat Belt Law
According to the child seat belt law in Wisconsin, all children between the ages of 8 to 16 years and at least 57 inches tall must wear a properly adjusted and fastened adult safety belt, whether they are in the front seat or the backseat. (1) Those younger than 8 years but who have outgrown their booster seat are also required to wear a seat belt. This also applies when they are traveling in taxis.
Seat belt rules in Wisconsin do not apply to children who have a physical or medical condition. Additionally, they will not be punished for not wearing a seat belt in a taxi.
A violation of any of the requirements of Wisconsin children’s seat belt law carries a penalty. It may range from $10 to $200. (2)
Age: 8 to 16 years
Height: 4’9” or taller
Penalty: Minimum $10, maximum $200.
Wisconsin Taxi Child Seat Law
According to the taxi child seat law in Wisconsin, taxis are exempt from having a child restraint system. (1) They are not required to have a car seat for a child passenger. The driver cannot be held responsible for violating the law.
In such a scenario, we recommend that you, as parents and caregivers, arrange an appropriate taxi child seat in Wisconsin. Depending on the child’s age and height, you can select a rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster car seat. These seats should comply with Wisconsin child seat laws and meet federal safety standards.
When installing the car seat in a taxi, it is your responsibility as a caregiver to ensure that it is securely fixed. You can refer to the car seat manual for proper installation.
Wisconsin Ridesharing Child Seat Law
There is no clear ridesharing child seat law in Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin state law, all children under 8 years old and shorter than 57 inches should be secured in the prescribed car seat. (1) However, there is no mention of ridesharing services.
The law states that “no person” will transport a child younger than 8 years without an appropriate car seat. While it excludes taxis, buses, and school buses, there is no mention of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
It is best for either the driver or the caregivers to provide a federally approved child seat. It should be appropriate for the child’s age and size. Otherwise, they may be held liable for violating the law and penalized. The fine can range from $10 to $200. (2)
Wisconsin Child Seat Replacement Law
There is no express child seat replacement law in Wisconsin However, the NHTSA recommends child seat replacement after an accident.
In case of a moderate or severe accident in Wisconsin, you must immediately replace the child safety seat. It may sustain damage that is not easily visible and can pose a risk.
In case of a low-impact accident, there is no urgent need to replace the car seat. A low-impact crash is where no passenger sustains injuries, the airbags didn’t deploy, there was no damage to the car seat and the vehicle could be driven away from the crash site.
You must also replace the car seat after it has passed its expiry date prescribed by the manufacturer or your child has outgrown it.
Leaving Child in The Car in Wisconsin
There is no definite law on leaving a child in a vehicle in Wisconsin. The AAP has highlighted the dangers of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. They may suffer heat stroke, set the vehicle in motion, or get kidnapped or trapped in the vehicle.
Many children have suffered from heat stroke inside vehicles. The temperature inside the vehicle can rise quickly. Since children’s bodies heat up faster than adults, it can cause severe brain injury or even death.
While there is no law for private vehicles, leaving a child in the car in Wisconsin is illegal when the child is being transported in a childcare vehicle. (4) The person responsible may be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor or felony if the child suffers bodily harm or death.
Choosing a Child Car Seat in Wisconsin
You can refer to NHTSA recommendations when choosing a car seat in Wisconsin. Children under the age of 1 and weighing less than 20 pounds should ride in a rear-facing seat. For toddlers and young children, a forward-facing seat with a harness is the best car seat to use in Wisconsin.
Once children outgrow the forward-facing seat, they should travel in a booster seat. You can choose either a backless or a high-back booster seat. A versatile all-in-one seat may be the best booster seat to use in Wisconsin.
You can also refer to the resource sheet of SafeKids Wisconsin to choose the best child passenger safety seats in Wisconsin.
Car Seat Installation Help in Wisconsin
Whenever you are installing a car seat, you must ensure that it is installed according to the car seat manufacturer’s instructions. In addition to that, you also have to check your vehicle manual to ascertain how to safely secure the seat.
This can be a tedious task. It is better to get the seat inspected by a certified child passenger safety (CPS) technician. Following are some of the stations where you can get them checked:
- Children’s Wisconsin Car Seat Services
- Madison Fire Department
- Sauk County Car Seat Safety Check
- Western Wisconsin Health
- Outagamie County
- Brown County Car Seat Program
- Greenfield Health Department
Wisconsin Car Seat Safety Resources
- Wisconsin Department of Transportation: The department’s website contains information about the car seat law and additional resources on car seat safety.
- Children’s Wisconsin: A dedicated health center for children, it contains vital information on car seat safety. This includes legal information, car seat checks, video resources and the most commonly asked questions.
- University of Wisconsin Health: Apart from being a leading medical center, UW Health also has a dedicated children’s safety center. It provides safety tips on car seats as well as events for getting your seat checked.
- SafeKids Wisconsin: The Wisconsin chapter of Safe Kids contains a host of materials such as resources, recall information and car seat installation sites.
How long should a child ride in a rear-facing car seat in Wisconsin?
A child should ride in a rear-facing car seat till the age of 1 year. Ideally, they should stay in it till they outgrow it.
Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat in Wisconsin?
No, you cannot put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat. Child seat requirements in Wisconsin mandate that a rear-facing seat be placed in the backseat if available.
Can you put a rear-facing car seat in the middle rear seat in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can put a rear-facing car seat in the middle seat if your vehicle has lower anchors for the middle seat that can hold the car seat tightly.
When can a baby face forward in a car seat in Wisconsin?
A baby can face forward once they turn 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds. They can also face forward when they outgrow their rear-facing seat.
How old for a booster seat in Wisconsin?
A child between the ages of 4 and 8 years and shorter than 57 inches can ride in a booster seat if they have outgrown their forward-facing seat.
When to use a backless booster seat in Wisconsin?
You can use a backless booster seat only if your vehicle seat has a head rest and the child’s ears are not higher than the seat back.
When can a child sit in the front seat in Wisconsin?
There is nothing specific in the law. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recommends that children younger than 13 years ride in the backseat of the vehicle.
When can a child sit in the front seat with a booster in Wisconsin?
The law does not prohibit children from sitting in the front seat with a booster. However, the backseat is the safest place for children in a vehicle.
When can a child stop using a booster seat in Wisconsin?
A child can stop using a booster seat once they turn 8 years old or are at least 57 inches tall. They can then use the seatbelt.
When to switch from 5 point harness to a seat belt in Wisconsin?
A child can switch from a 5-point harness to a seat belt once they outgrow the harness. They can then move to a belt-positioning booster seat.
When can a child use a regular seat belt in Wisconsin?
A child can use a regular seat belt in Wisconsin once they are at least 8 years old or reach at least 4’9” in height.
Do you need a car seat in a taxi in Wisconsin?
No, taxis are not required to have a car seat. But it is best if you carry your child’s seat and install it in the taxi.
Do you need a car seat in a Uber in Wisconsin?
The law is unclear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide an appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety.
Do you need a car seat in a Lyft in Wisconsin?
The law is not clear on this issue. But either the caregiver or the driver should provide an appropriate car seat to ensure the child’s safety.