Like the car seat laws in the other state of the US, Wisconsin car seat laws are different for different ages of children (from infancy to childhood) until they have grown to 12+ years and start using vehicle seat belts.
To reduce the number of deaths in car accidents and life-threatening injuries to your child in car seats, these car seat laws are mandatory to be followed.
Car seat laws in Wisconsin define the use of rear-facing, forward-facing, booster car seats, seat belts, and the right way to harness children in these car seats.
Wisconsin Car Seat Laws 2022 Updated
Wisconsin child passenger safety law recommends extended rear facing as every transition reduces the safety with it.
Note: Not all car seats are suitable for extended rear-facing, and your baby might not be comfortable in that seats.
Let’s discuss Wisconsin car seat laws one by one.
1. Wisconsin Car Seat Laws for Rear Facing Child
According to the car seat laws in Wisconsin:
Every child under the age of two will remain in rear-facing car seats and car seats will be installed in the back seat of the vehicle and not in the front passenger seats
Note: if your vehicle doesn’t have it back in it, you are advised to consult your local child passenger safety institutions.
Your baby should ride rear-facing until they have outgrown the age, weight, and height limit for that car seat, and these may vary with brands.
The minimum infant car seat requirement:
Age limit: 0-4 years
Height limit: 12-30+ inches
Weight limit: 5-30 lbs.
The topic of Interest: How soon can a newborn travel long distance by car?
2. Wisconsin Car Seat Laws for Forward Facing Child
According to the Wisconsin car seat laws for forward-facing car seats:
Your child is ready to face forward in their car seat once they have crossed the weight and height limit for rear-facing car seats and that is 40+ lbs. and 30 inches
The parents ask when can baby face forward in car seat 2022 as it is a bit confusing for them. For your child’s safety, we will recommend you follow the instructions of NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) i.e.
Keep your child rear-facing in car seats until they are 4+ years old
3. Wisconsin Booster Seat Law
Booster car seats are recommended for children who have outgrown the age and weight of toddler’s car seats i.e. 4+ years and 60+ lbs. respectively.
Car seat laws in Wisconsin state that
A child who has reached the age of 4+ years and height of 35ʺ are allowed to use booster car seats
Wisconsin Booster Seat Requirements:
WI booster seat requirements include:
- Minimum requirements:
- Height limit: 35 inches
- Weight limit: 40 lbs.
- Age limit: 4 years
- Maximum requirements:
- Height limit: 4 ft. 9ʺ
- Weight limit: 120 lbs.
- Age limit: 10 years
- Backless booster car seats are not considered safer for kids below 10 years
- Never use the reclining mode for booster car seats when installed without a latch system
- Keep the backless booster car seat restrained when unoccupied as it may be dangerous during car accidents
PS: Booster seat requirements in Wisconsin are detailed as it is going to be your child’s travel partner for more than 6 years, so must know the basics of using it.
4. Wisconsin Car Seat Laws for Older Children
Seatbelt laws WI refers to children who have outgrown the car seat ages, and vehicle seat belt fits them securely. However, they should still be advised to ride in the back seat.
If they have to sit in the front seat, the airbag must be active. Do you know how the airbag works?
In case of an accident, it takes only a few milliseconds for your head to strike the car interior. In the case of an active airbag, it will be blown in less than seconds to keep your head, neck, and front body from the crash forces.
According to the seat belt laws Wisconsin:
A child should have at least 57 inches height for using a seat belt in Wisconsin
Note: It should pass over the upper thighs, across the shoulder, and chest to restrain to keep your child safely restrained in case of a car crash.
It should not be harnessed over the belly or neck area.
Wisconsin Car Seat Rules
Besides following the car seat weight chart, there are some other rules that should be followed for the residents of Wisconsin or for those traveling to Wisconsin state by car:
1. Can you leave a child unattended in the car?
In Wisconsin state, there is no law regarding leaving alone the child in the car. However, to avoid any mishap with your child, it is advised to the parents to not leave their child alone.
According to the AAP recommendations:
Every child below 12 years is not allowed to leave in the car unattended
Note: The car may get dangerously hot or cold for the child, and if restrained, they may not be able to move also.
The topic of interest: What should baby wear in car seat in winter?
2. How old do you have to be to sit in the front seat in Wisconsin?
According to the Wisconsin car seat laws:
The child must be at least 12+ years to sit in the front passenger seat
Child bodies are fragile, and the chances of getting serious injuries in a car crash will be more when they are sitting in the front seat.
3. Booster seat age Wisconsin:
The minimum and maximum booster seat age in Wisconsin state lie between 4-8 years. The weight requirement for a booster seat will be starting from 60 lbs. and up to 100+ lbs.
4. Can you smoke in a car with a child in it in Wisconsin?
Child car safety seat rules in all the 50 US states, including Wisconsin car seat laws,
Do not allow the elders (parents, relatives, taxi drivers, or anybody else) to smoke in the cars in the presence of children
Reason: cigarette smoke is highly dangerous for babies as they are sensitive to chemicals present in it. These chemicals are highly health hazardous and long-term exposure may cause cancer in children.
5. Wisconsin car seat rules for public transportation:
There are no specific car seat laws in Wisconsin for public transport. However, the parents are advised to not take a risk over their baby’s safety and use car seats even for rented vehicles.
The taxis have a LATCH system to install baby car seats mostly, if they have not, you should know how to install a car seat without latch.
Wisconsin Car Seat Safety Centers and Guide
- Wisconsin Department of Transportation
- NHTSA Wisconsin Car Seat Inspection Center
- Safe Kids Wisconsin Inspection Centers
- City of Greenfield Car Seat Safety
- Central Racine County Health Department Car Seat Inspections
- All-in-one Wisconsin car seat safety guide, Download from here
We hope that after going through our guidance on Wisconsin car seat laws, it will not be complicated for you to decide about the requirements for your child’s car seat.
We used to keep updating the parents on car seat ages and stages so whenever they make a transition, they would know well how to use the upcoming car seat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Wisconsin car seat law for infants and toddlers?
For infants and toddlers, Wisconsin car seat laws say that they should ride rear-facing in the back seat of vehicles, they will be harnessed under a 5-point harness system and will be turned around at the age of 4+ years.
In what case a child can sit in the front seat in Wisconsin?
There is a general rule for the children to ride in the front seat and not a specific Wisconsin state rule. The general rule states that children less than 4 cannot ride in the front seat and will be allowed to ride when they will be 12 years old.
Can an 11 years old child sit in the car without a car seat in Wisconsin?
Kids older than 12 years or those having a height of more than 53 inches are allowed to ride in the car without car seats. However, they will wear a vehicle seat belt properly and will follow all the passenger safety rules.