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When can a child legally sit in the front passenger seat of a car?

(12 Posts)
Earlybird Sun 16-Oct-11 05:04:07

Does it have to do with height? Weight? Age?

Have no idea and would appreciate advice. TIA.

nooka Sun 16-Oct-11 05:17:57

I don't think that there are any regulations specific to front seats, only to restraints. See here

There are safety issues with air bags and apparently the back seat is safer to be in in a crash situation.

Earlybird Sun 16-Oct-11 17:07:04

Dd is tall for her age (almost tallest in her class), and so weighs more than most girls her age. She would like to sit in the front passenger seat - sees it as a treat. We've done it once or twice when the car has been full (she's 10.7, btw).

Just wondered when it is legal and/or acceptable.

Hulababy Sun 16-Oct-11 17:10:35

There is no law in the Uk regarding where a child can sit in the car. There are only laws on the use of car seats.

My 9y DD often sits in the front seat of my car, especiallyy on short local journeys. If we are going on longer journeys and on faster roads I do ask her to sit in the back as it is a safer place to me on the whole, but if I have more than two children with me one of them has to go up front.

BertieBotts Sun 16-Oct-11 17:11:07

It's legal from birth, if you can disable your airbags (or car doesn't have them).

There is no law about sitting in the front seat in this country. As long as she's using the appropriate booster (if she even still needs one) it's fine.

malinois Sun 16-Oct-11 17:12:49

Legal provided correct seat/booster is used. Think of 2-seater cars!

smackapacca Sun 16-Oct-11 17:14:26

My in-laws just delightedly told me that I shouldn't have DD in her booster seat in the front seat.

She's much younger though.

Airbag can't be disabled.

Earlybird Sun 16-Oct-11 17:15:59

She recently asked to stop using her booster (though she liked it because being up higher gave her a better view out the window), because none of her friends use one anymore and I think she felt embarrassed - children had started to comment when they rode in our car.

TBH, given her age/size I thought using a booster was probably a matter of choice rather than a necessity. Goes without saying that seatbelts are non-negotiable.

Bunbaker Sun 16-Oct-11 17:19:02

Your ILs are right. I wouldn't put a child in a booster seat in the front seat of a car that has an airbag that can't be disabled. The 4 year old daughter of a friend of mine nearly broke her nose when the airbag was activated.

In some countries there is a legal age limit, but in the UK we are relied on to use our common sense.

Earlybird Sun 16-Oct-11 17:25:07

I'm average height, and dd is only a head shorter than me (so as I said before, tall for her age).

smackapacca Sun 16-Oct-11 20:06:49

As much as it pained me to admit my ILs were right, I have taken on board their advice, and DD will no longer be treated to the front seat.

I thought that an airbag would be a good thing (even if you were a child), and that it was only a bad thing in a rear facing seat. As your friend found out, the airbag is the wrong height for a small person.

wish it wasn't them that had to tell me though

scarevola Sun 16-Oct-11 20:14:43

I found a US site which recommends that children sit in the front with airbags operational only when aged 13 or over (ie getting to near adult height/weight).

Does anyone know of any other guidelines for this?

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