Wisconsin Car Seat Laws in 2021

In Wisconsin law, a child under eight years old must be restrained in an age- and size-appropriate safety restraint system which meets department standards. A child between eight and seventeen years old must be properly restrained in a safety belt.

Babies and Children Under One Year Old or Less Than Twenty Pounds

A child under one year old or weighing less than twenty pounds must properly restrained in a rear-facing child safety restraint system positioned in a designated seating position in a back passenger seat, if the vehicle has a back passenger seat, when being transported in a motor vehicle.

Children At Least One Year Old and Weighing At Least Twenty Pounds But Under Four Years Old or Weighing Less Than Forty Pounds

A child at least one year old and weighing at least twenty pounds but under four years old or weighing less than forty pounds must be properly restrained in a rear-facing or forward-facing child safety restraint system positioned in a designated seating position in a back passenger seat, if the vehicle has a back passenger seat, when being transported in a motor vehicle.

Children Four to Seven Years Old, Weighing Between Forty and Eighty Pounds, and Not Taller Than 4’9”

A child between four and seven years old, weighing between forty and eighty pounds, and not taller than 4’9” must be properly restrained in a rear-facing or forward-facing child safety restraint system positioned in a designated seating position in a back passenger seat, if the vehicle has a back passenger seat, or properly restrained in a child booster seat, when being transported in a motor vehicle.

Children Four to Seven Years Old and Weighing More than Eighty Pounds or Taller Than 4’9”

A child between four and seven years old who weighs more than eighty pounds and is taller than 4’9” must be properly restrained in a rear-facing or forward-facing child safety restraint system positioned in a designated seating position in a back passenger seat, if the vehicle has a back passenger seat, properly restrained in a child booster seat, or properly restrained in a safety belt approved by the department when being transported in a motor vehicle.

Children Eight to Seventeen Years Old

A child between the ages of eight and seventeen years old must be properly restrained in a safety belt when operating, or when being transported as a passenger in a seating position required to have a safety belt installed in, a motor vehicle required to be equipped with safety belts.

Penalties for Violations

For a violation of Wisconsin’s child safety restraint systems law involving a child under four years old, you may be fined $175.30.

For a violation of Wisconsin’s child safety restraint systems law involving a child under between four and eight years old, you may be fined $150.10 for a first offense, $200.50 for a second offense, and $263.50 for a third or subsequent offense.

Exemptions

Your child may be exempt from Wisconsin’s child safety restraint systems and safety belts laws if he or she cannot be placed in a child safety restraint system, child booster seat, or safety belt because of a physical or medical condition or body size.

Your child may be exempt from Wisconsin’s child safety restraint systems law if he or she is being transported by a: motor bus, school bus, taxicab, moped, motorcycle, or motor vehicle not required to be equipped with safety belts.

Your child may be exempt from Wisconsin’s safety belts law if he or she has a physical or medical condition preventing him or her from being properly restrained in a safety belt.

Your child may be exempt from Wisconsin’s safety belts law if he or she is between eight and seventeen years old and is being transported in an authorized emergency vehicle by a law enforcement officer or other authorized operator under circumstances in which compliance could endanger the safety of the operator or another person.

Your child may be exempt from Wisconsin’s safety belts law if he or she is between eight and seventeen years old and is a passenger on a route requiring him or her to stop and exit the vehicle more than ten times per mile in the scope of employment.

Your child may be exempt from Wisconsin’s safety belts law if he or she is between eight and seventeen years old and is being transported in a: taxicab, motor vehicle not required to be equipped with safety belts; privately owned motor vehicle operated by a rural letter carrier or a newspaper delivery person; motor vehicle operated by a land surveying crew; or farm truck or dual purpose farm truck planting or harvesting crops off the highway.

* Ms. Blake is licensed in the state of Maryland. The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Attorney Denise A. Blake*

Denise practices family law at Blake Law, LLC in Westminster, Maryland. She holds a Juris Doctor with an emphasis in Family Law from the University of Baltimore School of Law.