At What Age Can Your Child Ride in the Front Seat?

Ever wondered when it’s safe for your child to ride in the front seat? It’s a common question, and the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Let’s break it down so you can make the best decision for your family.

Legal Requirements

The laws regarding when a child can ride in the front seat vary from state to state and country to country. In the United States, many states require children to be at least 12 years old before they can legally sit in the front seat, but check your local regulations to be sure. 

Safety Recommendations

While legal requirements provide a baseline, safety experts often recommend more stringent guidelines. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat. The back seat is generally safer because it is farther from the impact zone in the event of a frontal collision.

Special Circumstances

There may be instances where a child needs to ride in the front seat. In such cases, move the front seat as far back as possible to maximize the distance from the dashboard and airbags. Ensure the child is using the seatbelt correctly, with the lap belt across the hips and the shoulder belt across the chest.