State News

New legislation introduced to increase vehicle safety for young children

Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, and Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, proposed a new bipartisan bill that would update state statues surrounding child safety seat regulation. 

Image By: Tommy Yonash

Legislators from both sides of the aisle came together in hopes of updating legislation regarding child safety seat laws at the capitol Tuesday afternoon alongside medical professionals. 

Current state law allows children over one year old or over 20 pounds to sit in a front-facing car seat. Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, believe more restrictions are necessary to maximize chances of survival in serious car accidents. 

“I want to do everything I can to protect my daughter and all the young babies of Wisconsin,” Tusler said. “It is undisputed fact that children under two years old are safer in rear facing car seats. I’ll be putting my daughter in a rear facing car seat car seat until she is at least two and I think you should too.”

Taylor explained the challenges and confusions that can arise when the law does not match up to what pediatricians are telling parents about car safety. The bill received support from Dr. Mala Mathur, past president of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“This simple bill updates our statues, not only to alleviate this confusion, but to save the lives of our youngest kids, and to give parents the safest, most accurate information,” Taylor said. 

The proposed legislation requires infants and toddlers to stay in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years old, and encourage them to maintain this position until they outgrow the height and weight requirements. 

“As a pediatric trauma surgeon, my favorite patients are the ones I never meet because their car seats protected them,” Dr. Jonathan Koehler, Trauma Medical Director and Surgeon said in a press release about the bill.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported 129,051 car crashes in 2016, the majority of which were caused by speeding. 

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