Is Your Child’s Car Seat Ready for the Holidays?

For many Wisconsin families, the holidays are a time of traveling. If you have young children, it’s especially important to make sure they’re safe during travel through potentially hazardous winter driving conditions with the right type of car seats in good condition.

This checklist will help you make sure your child’s car seat is safe, legal and ready to go for the busy holiday season.

Child Car Seat Laws in Wisconsin

Car seat laws and regulations vary from state to state. In Wisconsin, the general guidelines are that when traveling, children must be in a car seat until they are at least 4 years old and weigh 40 pounds. Following car seat use, children must be in a booster seat until they are 8 years old, weigh more than 80 pounds, or are more than 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Specific rules include:

  • Children less than 1 year old or weighing less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing car seat, placed in the back seat if the vehicle has one.
  • Children who are at least 1 year old and 20 pounds, but under 4 years old or 40 pounds, must be in either a forward-facing or rear-facing child seat, placed in the back seat if the vehicle has one.
  • Children between 4 and 8 years old, between 40 and 80 pounds, and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall must be in either a forward-facing or rear-facing child seat, or a booster seat.
  • Children who can’t be transported in a child safety seat due to medical condition, physical disability or body size can be transported without a child seat, provided the driver carries proof of physician approval.

Finding the Right Car Seat for Your Child

There are a few guidelines that can help you choose the best safety seat for your child. The seat should be comfortable and suitable for your child’s current age and size, it should fit well in your vehicle and you should be able to install and use the seat correctly in all situations.

Rear-facing seats are the safest for very young children. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) recommends that your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until at least 2 years of age and as long as possible within the limits of the safety guidelines for the seat.

When it’s time to choose a forward-facing seat for your child, you’ll find a lot of options out there. Some include built-in features like cup holders and storage spaces to help older children entertain themselves in the car. Choose one that comes with harnesses that fit your child snugly but comfortably.

Replacing a Child Seat after a Crash

Should you get a new car seat if you’re involved in a collision? The NHTSA recommends that child safety seats be replaced after a moderate or severe crash. In the event of minor crashes, your child’s car seat may not need to be replaced if the collision meets all of these conditions:

  • The vehicle could be driven from the crash site
  • The door nearest to the child seat wasn’t damaged
  • None of the vehicle’s occupants were injured
  • No air bags deployed
  • The car seat has no visible damage

Check your child’s car seat for safety during this busy traveling season, and happy holidays to you and your family from Westway Auto Body!