Car Seat Safety

Importance of Car / Booster Seats

Older children have a higher rate of injury than younger ones for several reasons. Many of them place the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back. They tend to ride out of position, either sliding forward to the edge of the vehicle seat or slouching downward. Older children are less likely to be buckled up, perhaps because vehicle seats and belts are not comfortable for them. The State of Wisconsin has joined a growing number of states that now require the use of booster seats by older children up to the age of 8. Generally, children must be properly restrained in a child safety seat until they reach age 4, and in a booster seat until age 8.

New Law

The new law includes the following four-step progression for effective child safety protection in vehicles.

  • Booster seat is required when the child:
    • Is at least 4-years-old but less than 8-years-old
    • Is not 57-inches (4-feet, 9-inches) or taller.
    • Weighs at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds
  • Forward-facing child safety seat in the 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.
  • Rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat is required when the child:
    • Is less than 1-year-old or
    • Weighs less than 20 pounds
  • Safety belt is required when the child:
    • Is 8-years-old or older or
    • Is 57-inches or taller
    • Weighs 80 or more pounds

Child safety seat must be in the back seat if the vehicle is equipped with a back seat.


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 is no longer 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.

Additional Information

To learn more about booster seats call The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 or The National Safe Kids Campaign at 800-441-1888.

You can also visit National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Safe Kids Worldwide websites. Both groups can provide information on child passenger safety or locate a trained and certified child passenger seat technician near you.

Car Seat Installation

Please call the fire department at 715-732-5170 to schedule a car seat install.