When Can Children Ride in the Front Seat?

If you want to know when children can ride in the front seat of a car, here you'll find the answer. You'll be surprised!
When Can Children Ride in the Front Seat?

Last update: 27 November, 2021

Children love to ride in the car and especially to accompany us. But it’s important to know when they can ride in the front seat so as not to put their safety at risk.

In most countries, there are clear rules on the subject that aim to prevent infants from being seriously injured by road accidents.

Next, we explain what those regulations say and what parameters you must comply with to have a safe trip.

What does the law say about road safety?

Although the automotive industry has evolved in terms of car safety mechanisms, the proper use of them depends on the users.

Seat belts, headrests, special seats, and airbags are some of the elements that favor the protection of passengers. However, in the case of children, certain additional precautions must be taken.

For this reason, the traffic laws of many countries specify how the little ones have to be located inside the car. Likewise, which child restraint systems are the most appropriate, how they should be arranged in the vehicle cabin, and at what point children can start to travel in the front seat.

In general, current regulations indicate that children who are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches must ride in the back all the time. This occurs, approximately, until the 12 or 13 years of age.

Do you want to know why this parameter is taken into account? We’ll tell you in the following article.

The size of the children is the determining factor of their safety

Three small chidlren travelling in car seats.

Various road safety studies have determined the ideal average height and weight for a child to safely ride in the front seat.

According to what was published by the Stanford University Children’s Hospital, based on a study by Safe Kids, car seat belts are effective in children from 4 feet 9 inches and 80 pounds in weight. This means that before reaching these dimensions, the child must use special seats or supplements.

This measure has been taken as a point of reference for the elaboration of the different travel insurance guides in automobiles.

When can children ride in the front seat?

Only when children reach the size established by the regulations of each location will they be able to travel in the front seat. However, there are some exceptions to this.

In some cases, when children are smaller than the size allowed by law, travel in the front seat is authorized only in the following circumstances:

  • When the back seats are already occupied by other children.
  • In the case of two-seater cars.
  • Lack of space in the rear seat to place the child seats.

In any case, whenever the child is transferred to the front seat, it is mandatory to do so in the appropriate seat for their size and age. Likewise, this device must be oriented in reverse and the airbag system must be deactivated. Also know the laws of the area where you’re traveling, as the police can write you a ticket for non-compliance.

The back seat is the safest place for children

According to experts at Stanford University Hospital for Children, The safest place for young children in vehicles is in the back seat, away from the impact of frontal crashes.”

Educate your children in order to ensure safety

A teddy bear buckled into a car seat.

It’s a good idea to teach children from an early age what the rules are for traveling by car and thus promote their collaboration in the safety of travelers.

Always clarify that these standards aren’t optional and that they’re necessary in order to care for the life and integrity of the whole family.

Basically, you have to make sure that the following requirements are always met:

  1. The seat belt must be worn permanently, regardless of the distance of the trip.
  2. Seatbelts shouldn’t be shared. The practice of holding two children with the same belt isn’t allowed and is unsafe.
  3. Little ones should ride in the back seat up to the recommended age (at least 13).
  4. In the car, it’s important to remain calm and patient. Children shouldn’t jump, yell, or make sudden movements so as not to distract the driver.
  5. The rules must be followed in all cars, even if other children don’t. In this sense, you need to explain to your little ones that they shouldn’t accept the invitation of another adult to sit in front if they still don’t meet the requirements to do so.

Safety is paramount when traveling by car and as a parent, you’re responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect the lives of your children. Always remember that!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.