A 3-year-old girl was killed in a crash involving a minivan and a dump truck in western Wisconsin on Thursday.
The Chippewa County Sheriff's Office says the fatal collision happened just south of Cadott – east of Eau Claire – when the minivan traveling south on Hwy. 27 attempted to turn left in front of the dump truck onto Hwy. MM.
The dump truck hit the side of the minivan and sent both vehicles into the ditch.
The 3-year-old child was pronounced dead at the scene and the female driver of the minivan was taken to a hospital in Eau Claire with injuries that are not life-threatening.
According to WQOW, the 3-year-old was buckled by a seat belt but should've been in a car seat.
“The stats are that seat belts are going to help you, there’s no doubt about that,” the sheriff told the TV station. “Regardless, because of the impact, because of the size of the vehicles, the speed of the vehicles, whether this child would have been in a seat or a booster seat, it probably wouldn’t have made that much of a difference.”
It's unclear if the driver of the minivan will face charges.
The driver of the dump truck was not injured.
Child safety seat laws
In Wisconsin, it's law that children must be in a car seat until they reach 4 years old or weigh 40 pounds. From there, children are required to sit in a booster seat until they're 8 years old, weigh at least 80 pounds or are taller than 4'9''.
In Minnesota, "a child cannot ride in just a seat belt until they are age 8 or 4 feet 9 inches tall, whichever comes first," says the Minnesota Department of Transportation, adding that it's better to keep a child in a safety seat until they reach their size (height) rather than height.
It's also recommended that all children 13 and younger sit in the back seat.