Child Safety Seats

Child Booster Seat Law - Wisconsin Act 106

The Child Booster Seat Law went into effect on June 1, 2006. To provide education about the new law, written warnings will be issued instead of citations for first violations during a grace period from June 1, 2006 until December 31, 2006. Second and subsequent violations of the law before January 1, 2007, (during the grace period) are grounds for a citation. On January 1, 2007, law enforcement officers will begin issuing citations for violations.

How To Comply With The Law

Generally, children must be properly restrained in a child safety seat until they reach age 4 (previous requirement), and in a booster seat until age 8 (new requirement). The new law includes the following four-step progression for effective child safety protection in vehicles.

  1. Rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat (child safety seat must be in the back seat if the vehicle is equipped with a back seat) is required when the child:
    • Is less than 1-year old or
    • Weighs less than 20 pounds

  2. Forward-facing child safety seat in the back seat (child safety seat must be in the back seat if the vehicle is equipped with a back seat) is required when the child:
    • Is at least 1-year old but less than 4-years old
    • Weighs at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds

  3. Booster seat is required when the child:
    • Is at least 4-years old but less than 8-years old
    • Weighs at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds
    • Is not 57" (4'9") or taller

  4. Safety belt is required when the child:
    • Is 8-years old or older or
    • Weighs 80 or more pounds or
    • Is 57" (4'9") or taller

Exemptions

Children whose body size, physical condition or medical condition makes safety restraints unreasonable are still exempt from the booster seat and safety belt laws.

There no longer is a "personal needs" exemption allowing the child to be removed from a safety restraint to attend to the child's personal needs, such as feeding or diapering, while the vehicle is moving.

Changes To Mandatory Seat Belt Law

Under the new law, drivers may be cited for allowing passengers of any age to be unbelted in their vehicle. The new law removes a previous provision in the mandatory safety belt law that did not make the driver responsible for unbelted passengers age 16 or older.

For more information on child safety seats, please visit zeroinwisconsin.gov/childsafetyseats/.