When Can a Child Ride in the Front Seat?

Child passenger safety is one of the foremost concerns on parents’ minds when they transport children. Yet, not every parent or driver may be familiar with the age of when a child can safely ride in the front seat or when they must use a car seat. The standard across the United States currently recommends that children not ride as passengers in the front seat until they reach the age of 13.

It has been almost five decades since child passenger safety standards were instituted by the federal government. Federal standards were enacted as car travel increased and in response to serious injuries and deaths occurring on U.S. roads. Today, all U.S. states and territories have their own specific child passenger safety laws that cover car seats and the types recommended by age and weight.

Guidelines and Risks

One primary reason for keeping child passengers in the backseat is because of the dangers of air bag deployment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends passengers be seated a minimum of 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Air bags are deployed at significant force and speed and can cause serious injuries, particularly head and spinal injuries if the person is too close. Because a child is typically smaller in height and weight than an adult, air bags pose a high risk of serious injury or death to a smaller individual.

Children are also better protected in the backseat because of their lower body weight. Car accidents can result in serious injury and are a leading cause of fatalities for children. Safety for children riding in cars is not limited to backseats. Anyone who transports children should be familiar with the relevant laws governing child passenger safety. Seat belts remain a primary method of prevention of serious injury. Car seats for children from birth to age 13 have also resulted in significant safety improvements.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that children should stay in a rear-facing car seat until they exceed the seat’s weight and height limits. Drivers must also be aware that the rear-facing seats should remain in the car’s backseat to avoid airbag deployment risks.

Bucks County Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Injured Car Accident Victims Receive the Compensation They Deserve

If your child was injured in a car accident, contact a Bucks County accident lawyer at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. to ensure that your rights are protected. We will review your case and determine the next best steps. For a free consultation, call us at 888-999-1962 or contact us online today. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.