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3 year old in front seat...

(27 Posts)
helsi Sat 18-Jun-05 20:34:43

I was coming out of the supermarket today when I saw a mother putting her child of about 2.5/3 years old in her car seat in the passenger seat of the car.
I stood and watched and she did seem to fasten her in securely. It was one of those seats that uses the general seat belt to fasten in with.
Is it illegal to put a child of that age in the front seat?

NotQuiteCockney Sat 18-Jun-05 20:35:24

No, not illegal. It's very very unwise if you've got an passenger airbag turned on, and just a bit unwise if you don't.

helsi Sat 18-Jun-05 20:39:19

I thought that too but was then thinking that if the sirbag is turned off, or if it doesn't have one, is the fact she is in the front, strapped in exactly the same way as in the back make any difference?

NotQuiteCockney Sat 18-Jun-05 20:40:50

It makes a bit of difference - I think they're more likely to end up through the windshield, even with a seat.

It's generally advised, that even without airbags, children should ideally be in the back seat until they are 12.

(Frankly, I'm happy enough to see kids in kid's seats. I see kids just rattling around loose in the back seat every day. It really bothers me.)

pupuce Sat 18-Jun-05 20:41:36

I thought an adult set belt for a child that age is actually dangerous in case of impact.

helsi Sat 18-Jun-05 20:41:49

It is one of the things I am concerned about too which is why I asked. I have never come across a child so young sitting in the front before.

emily05 Sat 18-Jun-05 20:42:00

How old is ok for them to have a booster seat and be in the back?

helsi Sat 18-Jun-05 20:42:58

pupuce, my dd's seat fastens with the general seat belt in the back, it was the fact that the seat was in the front that concerned me.

helsi Sat 18-Jun-05 20:43:48

emily05, my dd has had booster seat (well its a booster seat with a detachable back) since she was 2.

Xena Sat 18-Jun-05 20:45:21

IME most prople put their babies in carry car seats strapped into the front. One of our carseats according to the britax fitfinder only secures propally in the front.

pupuce Sat 18-Jun-05 20:45:38

Well this what they say in the US:
Over 1 year to 4 years old
Over 20 pounds, up to 40 pounds
Convertible or Forward-Facing Only seat
A child over 1 year of age AND over 20 pounds may ride facing forward. Use the upright position or the position recommended by
the manufacturer.
Keep the child in a child safety seat with a full harness as long as possible, preferably until 4 years old. For children 40 pounds or more who are too young or too active to sit still in a booster seat, or if a vehicle has only lap belts, look for child restraints with harnesses labeled for use over 40 pounds.

4 to 8 years old
Over 40 pounds
Belt-positioning Booster Seat, backless (D) or high-back (C)
All children who have outgrown child safety seats should be properly restrained in booster seats until they are at least 8 years old, unless they are 4' 9" tall.

NotQuiteCockney Sat 18-Jun-05 20:45:47

Ooh, that's reminded me to look up the rules for our carseat. For ours, you can use a booster seat from 15kg. I wouldn't use just the booster for long motorway journeys until he was too big for the whole seat, which is at 25kg.

pupuce Sat 18-Jun-05 20:47:27

Helsi - this is your child so you do what you think is right, DS is nearly 6 and still in a car seat with a "back" to it... not just a booster.
DD nearly 4 just recently changed car seat to one with an adult seat belt.

pupuce Sat 18-Jun-05 20:49:16

Found this too:

Until age 8, most children have not developed strong hipbones, and their legs and body are too short to allow for proper fit of a safety belt. Safety belts are designed for adults.

To be able to fit in a safety belt, a child must:
Be tall enough to sit without slouching,
Keep his/her back against the vehicle seat back,
Keep his/her knees completely bent over the edge of the seat,
Keep his/her feet flat on the floor, and
Be able to stay comfortably seated this way.

The lap belt must fit low and tight across the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should rest over the center of the shoulder and across the chest (G).

Never put the shoulder belt under the child's arm or behind the child's back. This can cause severe internal injuries in a crash. If the safety belt does not fit properly the child should use a belt-positioning booster seat.

Always check belt fit on the child in every vehicle. A belt-positioning booster seat may be needed in some vehicles and not in others.

helsi Sat 18-Jun-05 20:49:39

pupuce, I wasn't thinking of putting my dd in the front it's just that I saw this today and it made think if it was safe as I've not come across it before in a child so young.
I am happy with my dd's seat. She is 2.5 and the seat we have has the back still on and I can use the booster until she is about 4. the "adult" rear seatbelt is excellent at holding her in.

helsi Sat 18-Jun-05 20:50:33

pupuse, dd does fit in according to those guidelines when in her seat. I think these guidelines mean without a seat and just using an adult belt on its own.

skerriesmum Sat 18-Jun-05 21:33:00

I'm sure it's illegal to have a child that young in the front seat. In Ireland you can't do it before they're 9 so the UK must be similar. Car seats are meant to be put in the back.

hoxtonchick Sat 18-Jun-05 21:37:02

on occasion (twice i think), i've moved ds' maxi cosi car seat into the front seat in order to fit something enormous into the back of the car. it was in our old car which didn't have airbags. obviously i made sure the seat was securely fitted. he thought it was a great treat, was most disappointed to be moved back to his normal place. but i certainly wouldn't do it regularly, & never ever without a seat. we now have a new car which does have airbags so i must work out how to deactivate the passenger one before our new baby's born in the next couple of weeks....

zebraZ Sat 18-Jun-05 21:42:13

It is legal in the UK to put a child in front... I have done it when driving vans. See it all the time in other cars/vans. I wonder what Northern Irish people do?

I am 5'8" and in most cars cannot have my feet flat on the floor, my upper thighs are too short for me to sit comfortably that way.

methinks some of these guidelines may be ott...

The carseat regs in the USA vary by state, may not be exactly at all what Pupuce quoted...

Ladymuck Sat 18-Jun-05 21:53:42

In the UK it is illegal for a child under 3 to be in the front seat without a child restraint (ie they can't just use the adult seatbelt). It is legal for an under 3 to use an adult seat belt in the rear of the car only if a child restraint is not available.

Technically the child restraint shoudl also be suitable for their size and age, so they shoudln't be using just a booster seat until they reach 22kgs. But I can't imagine all policemen would be experts of the different types of car seat!

Ladymuck Sat 18-Jun-05 22:02:26

In this respect the law in Northern Ireland is the same as the rest of the UK. In the Republic of Ireland, children are still allowed in the front seat but I think that the age limit on use of child restraints is 4 not 3.

In both countries it is still legal to have more passengers than seatbelts, though in the UK children of 11 and under must wear a belt of some description.

skerriesmum Sat 18-Jun-05 22:30:22

I just looked it up and apparently you can use child seats in the front as well as the back! Mad! I'm originally from Canada which is much stricter. In fact you aren't even allowed to fit a child seat in the side of the car at all, the seat must be in the back middle seat. You can't even buy one like that here!

Ladymuck Sat 18-Jun-05 22:41:32

So what happens if you have twins? or trips? Ds1 and ds2 are both still in car seats (though Ds1 has graduated to a booster seat). Have to say that I have them at either side of the rear seat to a) let me buckle them in, and b) reduce the squabbles.

Hulababy Sun 19-Jun-05 11:42:22

What happens if you have a car with NO middle seat belt though? - My Beetle is a four seater car - no middle seat or seat belt available? Or you only have a two seater car, with no back seat at all? Or two children requiring car seats? All seems very flawed.

I personally prefer to have Dd in the back seat of our car and she has always been thewre - but never in the middle, generally in the seat behind the passenger. We use ISPFIX car seats and there is no ISOFIX fitting sin the middle, and in the newer cars none in the front seat either.

I'd rather have DD in the ISOFIX car seat to one side, than in the middle without.

Hulababy Sun 19-Jun-05 11:45:13

This website is very good for giving you the law and information, for the Uk, about use of car seats and restraints.

The UK Law

Cars - Children under 3 years old

If carried in the front seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be used (the adult seat belt is not sufficient). Children under 3 years old may not travel in the front unless they are in a child restraint.

If carried in the rear seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be used, IF AVAILABLE.

If an appropriate restraint is fitted in the front of the car, but not the rear, children under 3 years old MUST sit in the front and use that restraint. Remember, you could move the restraint from the front to the rear if you wish. Rearward-facing seats are designed to be used in the rear as well as the front. You should always put a rearward-facing baby seat in the rear if is a front passenger airbag fitted.

Cars - Children Aged 3 to 11 years and under 1.5 metres tall

If carried in the front seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.
If not, an adult seat belt MUST be worn.

If carried in the rear seat, an appropriate child restraint MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.
If not, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

If an appropriate restraint or seat belt is fitted in the front of the car, but not in the rear, children between 3 to 11 years old and under 1.5 metres tall MUST use that restraint or seat belt. (Remember, you could move the restraint from the front to the rear if you wish).

Cars - Children Aged 12 or 13 years or younger children 1.5 metres or more in height

If carried in the front or rear seat, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

Cars - Passengers Over 14 years old

If travelling in the front or rear seat, an adult seat belt MUST be worn IF AVAILABLE.

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