Child restraint laws vary, and Wisconsin's laws regarding child restraints, booster seats and safety belts are a little more stringent than in some other states. Be sure to adequately protect all children riding in your vehicle to both keep them safe and avoid the headache of paying a fine.
Wisconsin state law specifies the following four-step progression of child safety restraints. Generally, babies less than one year old must be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat, children older than one year but younger than four must be restrained in a child safety seat, and kids older than age four through eight years old must be restrained in a child booster seat while riding in a vehicle.
- A child who is less than one year old or who weighs less than 20 pounds must be properly restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat of the vehicle if the vehicle is equipped with a back seat.
- A child who is at least one year old and weighs at least 20 pounds but is less than four years old or weighs less than 40 pounds must be properly restrained in a forward-facing child safety seat in the back seat of the vehicle if the vehicle is equipped with a back seat.
- A child who is at least four years old but less than eight years old, weighs at least 40 pounds but not more than 80 pounds, and is no more than 57-inches tall must be properly restrained in a child booster seat.
- A child who is age eight or older or weighs more than 80 pounds or is taller than 57 inches must be properly restrained by a safety belt.
It is recommended that all children should ride in the back seat until they reach age 12.
The total cost of a safety restraint violation involving a child under the age of four is $175.30, and the cost for a violation involving a child from age four to eight is $150.10. These costs increase for subsequent offenses within a three-year period.