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5 yr old or baby in front passenger with car seat

63 replies

lking679 · 08/01/2022 11:11

Hi all,
I have a Citroen c5 so can fit car seats in back or two car seats and adult passenger.
At the moment have a 5 yr old and 2 yr old in the back and I sit in middle as stewardess to various needs for food/drink/cleaning!
Number 3 is coming soon and ultimately all 3 will be in back but until then…. Do I move the 5 yr old front facing in front passenger with airbag on but west pushed back? Or baby in rearward car seat in front passenger with air bag turned off?
I don’t know how to find out what’s theoretically easier.

We go on some longish car journeys and for a smooth and quiet journey I will need to access all three kids! It’s only 5 year old that might be self sufficient enough in front car seat.

Let me know what you’d do or where I could get advice on safest set up until all 3 can go happily in backseat.


OP posts:
lking679 · 08/01/2022 11:12

“ don’t know how to find out what’s theoretically easier.”

Was meant to read “theoretically safer”

OP posts:
whosaidtha · 08/01/2022 11:16

My 5 year old would push all the buttons. Heating/radio etc.
I also think that airbag should be turned off whichever you go for.

Footnote · 08/01/2022 11:19

The front seat will be less safe. Stop sitting in the back and put things where the children can reach them. It’s fine for them to have to wait a bit until they get something, too.

GreenWheat · 08/01/2022 11:20

I think you need a different car. The advice is not to put children in the front seat unti they are quite a bit older than yours.

GrazingSheep · 08/01/2022 11:29

The airbag must be off.

lking679 · 08/01/2022 15:59

I read the airbag isn’t off when if they’re sitting forward facing just that the passenger seat should be pushed back as far away as possible. Only that it should be off if they’re rearward facing in front seat.
I find the guidance confusing.

It’s not really an option to sit in the front something would kick off and we would be driving with crying children which is way more distracting and possibly dangerous than one of them in the front for a short period of time.

The only difference another car would make would be having them all in the rear and then me on some fold out seat in the back to lean forward and sort anything out!

OP posts:
SaveWaterDrinkGin · 08/01/2022 16:02

You sit in the back of your car with your children?!

MrsHGWells · 08/01/2022 16:03

This is illegal without car seat or booster until the height of 140cm or age 10yrs

Seeline · 08/01/2022 16:05

I always had my 2 in the back by themselves.

Promote the 5 year old to sit in the middle seat to help with toys etc

Mumdiva99 · 08/01/2022 16:11

Mine were not dissimilar ages to yours and all 3 went in the back. I didn't start having a child in the front until oldest was out of car seat. Our journeys weren't always short. My middle child was/is the worst. Screamed as a baby in the seat and then car sick as she got older. Once we could configure the seats to get her in the middle forward facing it helped.

LakeShoreD · 08/01/2022 16:14

Stop sitting in the back. 5YO sits in the middle and put them in charge of helping the younger ones with whatever they need. My 4YO passes the 1YO snacks and his sippy cup on long journeys, when he was younger she used to replace his dummy too. DH or I could also easily do it from the front but she actually quite likes the responsibility.

Changechangychange · 08/01/2022 16:16


The front seat will be less safe. Stop sitting in the back and put things where the children can reach them. It’s fine for them to have to wait a bit until they get something, too.

You won’t fit three car seats in the back of almost any car - one will have to go in the front until the oldest is >125cm tall and can ditch the booster seat.
Changechangychange · 08/01/2022 16:17

Sorry, 135cm tall. Either way, taller than he is now.

lking679 · 08/01/2022 16:19

What’s illegal? All my children will be in car seats?

OP posts:
lking679 · 08/01/2022 16:23

Yes I sit in the back with my children. My 5 year old gets car sick even with medicine and my 1 year old is much happier on the longer journeys if someone can help her.
Ours is a Citroen c5 aircross we specifically bought that car because you can get 3 car seats in the back or an adult in the middle as I do now.

To be honest trust mumsnet not to be helpful answering the question but sort of pile on how I do car journeys with them!

Whichever child will be in the front will be in a car seat and the air bag guidance followed I was just wondering if rearward baby or front facing 5 year old would be safest.

From the replies I assume nobody knows or there’s not much in it.

OP posts:
SleepingStandingUp · 08/01/2022 16:24

Honestly I think you need to work on your 2 and 5 year olds behaviour in the car if having them all in the back with mean it "kicking off".

If it's a short journey then they need to be distracted if they can't keep their hands to themselves. Reward chart for behaving?

Is 2 yo rear facing and 5 yo forward facing? Would that help?

You won't be doing long journeys without lots of breaks for a while once baby is here anyway so you won't be going ages with an upset child.

Seeline · 08/01/2022 16:24


This is illegal without car seat or booster until the height of 140cm or age 10yrs

Children have to be over 135cm or be 12 years old to no longer legally require a car seat/booster etc
SleepingStandingUp · 08/01/2022 16:25

My 5 year old gets car sick even with medicine so you're risking them vomiting all over the driver if they're in the front.

titchy · 08/01/2022 16:27


This is illegal without car seat or booster until the height of 140cm or age 10yrs

Where does it say she's planning to not use a seat/booster? Confused
Aroundtheworldin80moves · 08/01/2022 16:27

Putting our then 6yo on the front stopped her car sickness....

BertieBotts · 08/01/2022 16:33

It's not illegal to put children in the front as long as they are in an appropriate car seat.

In theory I've heard it's safer for a rear facing child to be in the front with airbag off than a forward facing child because the airbag is so disastrous for them. That is apparently what they do in Sweden. On the other hand it means you need to remember to turn it back on if an adult sits there.

As for whether the airbag should be on or off with a FF child, you actually have to check the guidance in your car manual. Some cars don't allow it.

Legally exemption wise you can put the eldest in the middle back seat without a car seat, but it's not a good idea as they can suffer terrible injuries in a crash as the seatbelt will be around their neck and tummy, rather than their pelvis and collarbone (which are stronger). You could put them on something like Bubble Bum to help but that is unlikely to be enough unless they are over 7.

RememberThePenguins · 08/01/2022 16:33

I'd put the older one in the front with the seat as far back as possible.

Love how Mumsnet's response is to just buy another car. Like that is easy and accessible for everyone.

Modern cars are so safe now in the front and the back. I think a lot of people fail to acknowledge relative risk. Yes, statistically you might be x times more risk of harm when you do a instead of b, but if the risk of harm from b was 0.00000001 to start with those numbers don't really mean a lot (just to be clear, these are made up numbers and I have no idea what the real numbers are).

BertieBotts · 08/01/2022 16:35

You can fit 3 seats in the back of some cars though. You just have to be careful about the seats and the configuration. Looks like the C5 has 3 full size seats so ought to be fine.

Soontobe60 · 08/01/2022 16:35

I guess if you have a head on collision it won’t matter who’s in the front if they’re they’re in the correct car seat. Either could be injured. One thing to consider, when you’ve got a car seat behind the front passenger seat, you may not be able to have the front car seat all the way back.

SleepingStandingUp · 08/01/2022 16:36

Op can fit three in, she doesn't need a new car. She doesn't want to put three in as they won't behave

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