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Child safety week message: kids need to be in carseats until age 8

UNDATED (WRN)  For drivers with children or who transport them on a regular basis, safety seats have become a fairly common fixture in the back seat. Transportation officials are taking a moment this week to remind those drivers to make sure those devices are installed properly.

Pam Moen with AAA-Wisconsin says most modern cars have what’s known as the LATCH system, a series of hooks that allow safety seats to be tied down directly on to the seat. However, she says the traditional lap and shoulder belt can be just as effective for securing a seat. The important thing, Moen says, is to make sure there’s little room for the seat to move on its own and that the harness straps fit snugly around your passenger.

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week, and Moen says it’s also a good opportunity to make sure the right type of seat is being used. In Wisconsin, any infant up to one year or 20 pounds must be in a rear facing car seat. A forward facing seat with a five-point harness can then be used until kids hit four-years and 40 pounds. After that, children should be in a booster seat until they are at least eight-years-old or 4′ 9″ and 80 pounds.

Moen says drivers who have questions about whether they have the right type of seat or if it’s installed properly should check the manual for both the seat and their vehicle. They can also find help available online.