When is a child (or preteen) old or big enough to sit in the front seat of a car?

Cella - posted on 08/02/2009 ( 29 moms have responded )

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I think this may vary by state -we are in New York. Thank you!!!

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Bobbie - posted on 08/31/2009

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Well if your car has an air bag in the passenger seat side,then they must be over the age of 11.

[deleted account]

After talking to a local police officer Weigh and heigh are the keys for him even though the law is 12 yrs here.

Ok so to be safe the childs butt should touch the back rest , the legs must bend and feet touch the floor (not legs straight out), head rest should be on middle of head not over the childs head or under neck. put seat as far back as it goes ( not backrest) so they have more space between them and airbag.

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Kim - posted on 09/03/2009

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Most states don't have a law but I know car makers say it is 100 lbs and 5 ft tall. That is due to the airbag recomendations.

Melanie - posted on 09/02/2009

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I waited for my duaghter to turn 11, now she has been sitting in the front for a few months. I do agree about the airbag being able to turn off though, that would make me nervous if it didn't. She is tall, but only weighs 68 lbs.

Catherine - posted on 09/01/2009

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I don't know about local law but, check your car's manual for information concerning the airbag. Mine lists certain height/weight requirements to sit in the front seat.

Kathy - posted on 09/01/2009

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I do believe that the law here in Ontario is twelve so you need to look into that where ever you live.

But, in saying that depending on how tall or the weight of you child, I have seen the damage it can cause a child if the child is too small to be sitting there but at the right age according to the law.

That is if you have a air bag in the car, I know of some people that can turn the air bag off in their trucks and they let the kids sit up there, but if you cannot and you get hit just slightly and the air bags go off your child can be hurt badly.

Christine - posted on 08/29/2009

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If you read the airbag safety warning in your vehicle it says 13. I however still prefer to keep my 14 year old in the back because then she isnt waving things in my face and constantly distracting me. Not to mention she helps with her two little brothers in the backseat.

Amanda - posted on 08/28/2009

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check your state laws. I know in MN they passed a new law about kids and carseats. for the most part though, to move to the front seat I think most states have a guideline of about 12 years old for airbag issues. but some cars you can turn the airbags off. If your child is tall for their age and about the same size as a short to medium adult then there should be no problem. Also consider how mature your child is and if they would be a distraction for you driving. remember, you are the mom and you can always change your mind.

Leslee - posted on 08/28/2009

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In Ny I believe it is 12 years and 70 lbs. I think there is a height factor too. 4'9" is popping in my head.

Connie - posted on 08/14/2009

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just asked my kids dr the otherabout this and he said (for pa) there is a weight but 12yrs old is what he tells everyone to go by.

Barbara - posted on 08/11/2009

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Varies from place to place I am in Ireland and the legal requirement is 12 or 4 foot ten inches in height Just point out to them if its a problem that all the best celebrites travel in the back of a car and they are much safer

HEATHER - posted on 08/08/2009

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ILLINOIS IS ALSO 12 BUT I THINK THATS COMMON. IN MY CAR IT HAS A WARNING AND SAYS NO CHILDREN UNDER 12!

Maria - posted on 08/07/2009

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In CA, there's really no pre-set law, but personally, my boys never sat in the front seat until they're in their teens. My oldest son didn't get to sit in the front seat until he was a freshman in highschool.

Jessica - posted on 08/05/2009

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In New York I am not sure but it looks like 12 years old is recommended but not a law. They do have to be in a booster till age 8.

Robyn - posted on 08/04/2009

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It varies by state, my 11 year old was informed by a police officer that he was tall enough and old enough to sit in the front. I still make him sit in the back, as I do not feel he is safe upfront. We live in Indiana, and the height for being out of a booster is 4'9", and he just barely makes that mark, so how they feel he is safe upfront with an airbag is beyond me.

Kelly - posted on 08/04/2009

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My son turned 12 this year and is 120lbs I figured it was time to allow him to sit in the front seat. Height/weight has a lot to do with it.

Diane - posted on 08/04/2009

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I agree with the weight and body structure of the child to be able to sit in front. Being 5'4", I was in a accident 5 years ago and hit with an air bag.... nothing I would want my 13 year old to get hit with. She is always wanting to sit in the front-but I have a airbag that can not be turned off. They can easily mess up your face and bruse the soft tissue around your collar bone, as it did me. If I am driving locally I allow her to sit in front, but going on the hgwy or frewy she sits in back. She doesn't like it but she doesnt have a choice.

Mishael - posted on 08/03/2009

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I agree that while the "law" might state different ages it's really more about height and weight. The passenger seat in my vehicle is activated by weight however I was adamant about my kids being 90 lbs before they were allowed to sit in front. I was also really strict regarding car seats. I think that we used them until they were 60 lbs, you know, the "big kid" ones that are just like another seat. The price you pay for being underprotective just seems way too high. They'll understand some day when they have their own. lol

Katrina - posted on 08/03/2009

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I feel very strongly about this as I do about younger children in car seats. I believe it should be strictly determined by their weight and size. I don’t think any child should be in the front seat of the car unless they are tall enough and heavy enough for that seat belt to fit them properly and the airbag not to hurt them if it deploys. My daughter was very small and she gave me a hard time about this but she was absolutely not allowed in the front seat until it was safe. She’s 13 now and hit a good growth spurt so she’s fine now but we waited almost 13 years for it. I am fighting the same battle with my twins who will be 6 next week and are still in their car seats because they are only 35lbs. the alternative is just not worth the possible consequence.

[deleted account]

I think the age isn't as important as weight and height. Also whether or not the passenger side has an airbag. My car doesn't and I have an 11yr old boy who has been sitting in the front for the past year or so. But he is quite big for his age (130 lbs), and has a very sturdy bone structure. I am in Oregon, and I am not sure if there is a manditory age.

Cathy - posted on 08/02/2009

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You have to check with the local law enforcement in your state. In Florida, the child has to be at least 70 lbs or 12 yrs. old.

Hélène - posted on 08/02/2009

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12 in Alberta as well, although I don't like it much, if we go out of town, I like them in the back still...

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