This week is Child Passenger Safety week. Did you know that Motor Vehicle Crashes are the leading cause of unintentional deaths among children aged 1-19? In 2014 alone, 451 children aged 8 and under died due to a motor vehicle crash making up 15% of childhood motor vehicle fatalities. Sadly 116 of these children were not restrained by an age-appropriate device such as an infant car seat, booster seat or seat belt. Child Passenger Safety is an important topic and we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight Wisconsin Laws regarding child passengers and to urge you to take the safety of your child passengers into consideration each time you are driving in your Wilde Car.
According to the Wisconsin DMV, children must use a car seat until they reach age 4 and 40 pounds and a booster seat until they reach age 8, more than 80 pounds in weight or more than 4ft. 9 in. tall. Penalty for non-compliance with child safety requirements depends on the age of the child in Wisconsin. If the child is less than four years, the total penalty is $175.30 while fines for children between 4 and 8 is $150.10 for the first offense, $200.50 for the second offense, and $263.50 for the third and subsequent offenses. There are no exemptions from these rules, regardless of why the child was removed from the restraint. Shockingly, 3 out of 4 child safety seats aren’t used correctly. If you are worried about the installation there is a helpful video series provided by Zero in Wisconsin that illustrates the correct way to set up your child safety seats.
It is always safer for your child to ride in the backseat over the front and carseats are an important part of child passenger safety. Read below for car seat recommendations for your child from safecar.gov:
Rear-Facing Car Seat:
Children under age 1 should always ride in rear-facing car seats. You should try to keep your child in rear-facing carseats until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Convertible and All-In-One car seats typically have higher height and weight limits and allow your child to stay rear-facing longer. Once your child outgrows rear-facing they are ready for a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether. According to Wisconsin Law children 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).
Forward-Facing Car Seat:
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat. According to Wisconsin law, if your child is at least one year old and 20 pounds, but less than four years old or less than 40 pounds, they must be a in a forward- or rear-facing child seat in the back seat (if so equipped).
You should keep your child in a booster seat until they are big enough for a seat belt to fit properly, which means the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs (not stomach) and the shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest (not the neck or face). Once your child outgrows a booster seat, your child is finally ready for a seatbelt. According to Wisconsin Law, children aged 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.
Even though your child has outgrown the booster seat, safety is still very important. The back seat is the safest place for your child and you should have them sit in the back until they are at least 12 years old. Never start the car without making sure your children are buckled up! Teaching them this habit young will help keep them safe when as passengers and future drivers.