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Parent and Caregiver Resources

You are not alone when it comes to car seat questions. Whether you need information on where to have your car seat properly installed or what car seat your child should be using, this page is full of resources that should help you find those answers. 

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  Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does my child have to ride in a rear-facing seat? 

Safest recommendation: Keep children in a rear facing car seat until at least the age of 2 or longer, and as long as they are within the height and weight requirements for the car seat. Convertible car seats allows children to remain rear-facing longer.

Wisconsin law: Children must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 1 year old and weigh 20 pounds.

Crash Test Video: Why Rear-Facing is safer than Forward-Facing

​2. How long does my child have to ride in a forward-facing car seat? 

Safest recommendation: Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness as long as they are within the weight and height requirements for the car seat.

Wisconsin law: Children must ride in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they are 4 years old and weigh 40 pounds.

3. How long does my child have to ride in a booster seat? 

Safest recommendation: A child should remain in a booster seat until they are at least 4’9” and meet ALL of the following:

  • The child must be able to sit all the way back against the vehicle seat.
  • The child’s knees should be able to bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat.
  • The seat belt must cross the shoulder between the neck and  arm.
  • The lap belt must sit low, across the child’s  thighs.
  • The child must be able to sit like this the whole trip.

It will also be much more comfortable for the child to wait until they meet all of these criteria. Otherwise, the seatbelt cuts across their neck and stomach and they tend to put it behind them, which puts them at great risk of injury in a crash.

      Wisconsin law: Children must ride in a booster seat until they are 8 years old or weigh 80 pounds or are 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Crash Test Video: Why Booster Seats are important

4. When can my child sit in the front seat?

Safest recommendation: Keep children under 13 years of age in the back seat using a lap and shoulder belt.

Wisconsin law: Children required to ride in a rear-facing or forward-facing harnessed car seat must be restrained in the back seat, if a back seat is available.

5. If a car does not have a back seat, can you put a child safety seat in the front seat?

Safest recommendation: Use an alternate vehicle with a back seat in which to transport the child appropriately restrained for age/weight/height.

Wisconsin law: Children required to ride in a rear-facing or forward-facing harnessed car seat must be restrained in the back seat, if a back seat is available.

  • It is never safe to place a rear facing car seat in the front seat, in front of an air bag.
  • If a child must be transported in the front seat the child should be appropriately restrained for their age/weight/ height and the vehicle seat should be placed as far away from the dash/airbag as possible with the airbag turned off.

If you have additional questions please contact us at CarSeatWI@chw.org or (855) 224-3692 

  Car Seat Calculator

Use the car seat calculator to find out the recommended seat your child should be using. Simply fill in your child’s age, weight, and height and within seconds you will know the best car seat for your child! 

Car Seat Calculator 

  Child Passenger Safety Resources and Materials

CPS Law Card

Child Passenger Safety Law Card (EnglishEn Espanol)


CPS Tip Sheets

When used and installed correctly, car seats and safety belts can prevent injuries and save lives. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. Print these fact sheets free of charge to educate parents and caregivers on proper car seat use.

Comprehensive Car Seat Tip Sheet (EnglishEn Espanol)

Rear-facing Car Seat (EnglishEn Espanol)

Forward-Facing Car Seat (EnglishEn Espanol)

Booster Seat (EnglishEn Espanol)


CHAD Sticker- Printable 

For best quality use a 3 1/3" X 4" shipping label to print off the CHAD Sticker.

Front of CHAD Sticker

CHAD Sticker Story 


Winter Coats & Car Seats

Puffy winter coats and car seats do not mix. Puffy winter coats can severely affect how the harness fits on the child. View our fact sheet to learn more about this issue. 

  Car Seat Installation Sites

Whether you have just installed a car seat or need help installing or using one, get help at a car seat inspection station near you. Certified technicians will inspect your car seat, many times free of charge and show you how to correctly install and use it.

Get your car seat inspected
  Disposing of Used Car Seats

All car seats have an expiration date that can be found on the manufacturer’s label. If there is not an exact expiration date listed, a general rule is 6 years from the manufacture date. Seats used after their expiration date may not be safe or hold up in a crash.

Car seats purchased second hand are dangerous as well. The history of the car seat is unknown and may have been involved in a crash or recalled.

If you are looking to get rid old seats:

  • Check the owner’s manual to see if any directions are offered.
  • Dismantle the seat as much as possible before putting it in the trash.
  • Be sure to cut the harness out of the seat, along with the buckle strap.
  • The fabric cover also should be removed and anything else that will help deter from re-use.
  • You may want to write on the plastic shell “DO NOT USE” as well.

Children's Hospital of WisconsinSafe Kids Wisconsin, a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, is led by Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Safe Kids Wisconsin

Phone: (715) 843-1890
E-mail: safekidswi@chw.org

All rights reserved Safe Kids Wisconsin © Copyright 2019

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