How old do you have to be to ride in the front seat? From ages4 to 14?Legislation varies from state to state regarding the issue of seat belts, child restraints andwhen a child may be allowed to sit in the front seat. The National Highway TrafficSafety Administration (NHTSA) recommends all children under age 13 sit in the backseat of a motor vehicle.Rhode Islands laws state that children who are less than seven (7) years old must betransported in a federally approved restraint seat in the back seat of the vehicle. Theyrequire you follow instructions for use described in the restraint seat manual for age andweight.The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet notes there is not a state law governing the age offront seat passengers but that the risk of injury is greater in the front seat for children,with or without an airbag. Research shows it is best for children ages 12 and under toALWAYS ride in the back seat so that is their recommendation as well.New York State notes that although NYS does not have a law preventing children fromsitting in the front seat, it is highly recommended that all children age 12 and under rideproperly restrained in the back seat. Researchers estimate that just by putting a child inthe back seat instead of the front seat reduces the chance of injury and death by morethan 30 percent.NYS also says that infants in rear-facing car seats should never be placed in the frontseat of a car with a passenger-side air bag. While air bags provide effective protectionfor adult passengers, the great forces produced by an inflating air bag can injure or evenkill a child. In fact, the safest place for children of all ages to ride is in the rear seat ofthe vehicle. If there is no other option, children in forward-facing child seats can ride inthe front seat, but the passenger seat should be placed as far back from the dashboard(and air bag) as possible.California law basically states that any child under the age of six weighing less than 60pounds must be secured in a federally approved child passenger restraint system and ridein the back seat of a vehicle. The law notes that a child under the age of six weighingless than 60 pounds may ride in the front seat of a vehicle only when: There is no rear seat or the rear seats are either side-facing jump seats or rear- facing seats. The child passenger restraint system cannot be installed properly in the rear seat. All rear seats are already occupied by children under the age of 12 years. A medical reason requires the child to ride in the front seat.
A child may not ride in the front seat of an airbag-equipped vehicle if the child: Is less than one year of age. Weighs less than 20 pounds. Is riding in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system.The NHTSA site says that the rear seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride.An infant in a rear-facing child seat must ride in the back seat if your vehicle has apassenger air bag. Make sure that everyone in the front seat is properly buckled up andseated as far back from the air bags as is reasonably possible when they do reach an agein which to sit in the front.They also advise drivers to make sure that all young children are properly secured in anage and size appropriate restraints. The NHTSA has an Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236) which you can call to get more information, especiallyabout air bags and young passengers in the front seat since sometimes it is recommendedto turn off the airbag.To find out your states laws regarding when or if a child age 4 to 14 can sit in the frontseat check with your Department of Motor Vehicles.