Child Safety Seat Guide

AAA Recommendations for Young Passengers:

Child Safety Seat

  • Restrain your child in a “5-point” harness system until they weigh at least 40 pounds.
  • Secure the seat with upper tether strap and lower anchors where applicable (refer to your car seat and vehicle owner’s manual for more information).
  • Have infants facing the rear as long as possible for the best protection in a crash. Infants under one year of age AND under 20 pounds must ride in rear-facing position. Some rear-facing seats can accommodate infants up to 35 pounds.

Booster Seat

  • Use a booster seat in combination with the vehicle’s lap AND shoulder belt.
  • Consult booster seat manufacturer’s instructions for proper weight limits and fit.
  • Children age 4 through 8 years who are taller than 4 feet 9 inches are NOT required to use a booster seat, but must wear a safety belt.

Wisconsin Occupant Protection Laws (Child Passenger Safety & Seat Belts)

  • Seat belts are required for the driver and all front seat passengers age 8 and older.
  • Children age 4 through 8 and weighing more than 40 pounds must ride in a booster seat, unless they weigh more than 80 pounds or are taller than 4’9".
  • Children age 1 through 4 and weighing more than 20 pounds must ride in a forward-facing child seat, unless they weigh more than 40 pounds.
  • Children must ride in a rear-facing child seat through the age of 1 and at least 20 pounds.

Why Use a Child Safety Seat?

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young children.
  • Child seats reduce the likelihood of an infant being killed in a crash by 71 percent and a toddler by 54 percent.
  • Children age 4 through 7 who use booster seats are 59 percent less likely to be injured in a crash than children restrained only by seat belts.
  • All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws requiring children to be restrained in vehicles.

The Basics

  • Never purchase a child safety seat second-hand that has been recalled, mistreated, involved in a crash, missing parts or has reached the expiration date per the manufacturer.
  • Child safety seats should be installed according to both the vehicle and child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions.
  • To obtain information about a child safety seat, call the Auto Safety Hotline at 888.327.4236 or visit