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How Wisconsin parents can encourage child passenger safety

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | Car Accidents

Here in Wisconsin, road travel is a common part of daily life. If you drive with child passengers in your vehicle, it is important to learn ways to keep them safe.

The Wisconsin State Patrol reports that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of child fatalities in the United States. Annually, approximately 2,000 children aged 12 and under suffer injuries in Wisconsin alone.

Utilizing car seats

Selecting the right car seat can help protect your child. When correctly installed and used, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injuries in a crash by up to 71%. It is important to fasten the car seat tightly to the vehicle seat, ensuring less than an inch of movement at the base. Also, you should regularly check your car seats for any recalls and replace any seat that becomes damaged.

Wisconsin law mandates specific car seat requirements based on age, weight and height. For infants and toddlers, rear-facing car seats offer the best protection. Young children should use a rear-facing car seat until they are at least one year old and weigh 20 pounds.

Once they reach four years of age and weigh 40 pounds, they should transition to a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After outgrowing this, children should use a booster seat until they are eight years old, reach a height of 4’9″ or weigh 80 pounds.

Encouraging seat belts

Older children and adolescents must use seat belts, just like adults. Seat belt usage is mandatory in Wisconsin for all vehicle occupants. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of serious injury or death in a motor vehicle crash.

Seat belts help passengers stay in their seats, which is beneficial during a sudden stop or collision. By securing occupants inside the vehicle, seat belts keep them from being thrown through the windshield or door.

Children often emulate adults, so consistently wearing your seat belt teaches them to do the same. Instilling the habit of buckling up before the vehicle starts moving can prevent serious harm.

By following these guidelines and laws, you can play a pivotal role in keeping children safe on Wisconsin’s roads.