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Can a 5 Year Old Sit in the Front Seat?

I was curious as to if a 5 year old can sit in the front passenger seat in a booster? I believe not but I figured I would ask anyway. I was looking for an article on it but had no luck. I could just not be looking in the right places. I may be wrong, maybe a 5 year old can sit in the front passenger seat in a booster. I dont know.

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Mind yall it was JUST A QUESTION. My kids sit in the back seat. I was just wondering because I have seen many kids that dont look 12 in the front seat. That is what sparked my curiosity. Thank you to those that think that I want to harm my children.

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I believe they have to be older than five as well as a certain height. Otherwise I think you will get a ticket for it.

NO kids are not allowed to sit in the front seat until the age of 12. The force of the air bags is the reason that they are not allowed in the front seat. It can sufficate and even break chest ribs.

I don't think you are a bad person, in fact I wondered about this once upon a time too and asked a police officer. This was in Dallas and the police officer told me that anyone under the age of 12 is not allowed to ride in the front seat of a car. If a truck does not have a back seat it is permissable as long as their is no airbags or the airbags have been disabled.

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Hey Em,

I just wanted to give you my support and say I completely understood your question.

Some must have mistook your question for "What physically happens to a child if an airbag hits them?" or "I let my kids ride up front, what do you think about that?"

Don't let it get to you tho. Sometimes it is hard to communicate emotions or responses with just text. We've probably all mistook a question at some time or other.


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No, it's not safe, especially if you have an airbag. Here's a portion of an article I found explaining this:

Air Bags and Children
When combined with safety belts, air bags can go a long way in protecting adults and older children from injury during a collision. These devices have saved lives and prevented many serious injuries. But infants and young children can be injured or even killed if they are riding in the front passenger seat when an air bag opens.

Air bags were designed with adults in mind: They need to open at up to 200 miles per hour to protect an average-sized, 165-pound (75-kilogram) male from injury. While this force is appropriate for adults and bigger kids, it can be dangerous for smaller passengers, possibly resulting in head and neck injuries. Protect your child from air bag injury by following these rules:

All children 12 years old and younger should always ride in the back seat, and in the middle of the back seat whenever possible. All passengers must have their seat belts buckled.
Air bags present a serious danger for babies riding in rear-facing car seats. Never place a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat of a car that is equipped with a passenger-side air bag. The safest position for a child seat is wherever it fits securely in the back seat.
A convertible car seat or booster seat should be placed in the back seat. If you have no choice and must place a car seat in the front, push the seat as far back as it will go.
A law passed in 1995 allows car manufacturers to install a manual cut-off switch that temporarily disables a passenger-side air bag. As recommended by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if you must place a car seat in the front seat (that is, if your car is a two-seater or if the car seat will not fit in the back seat) and your car has this cut-off switch, disable the air bag for the duration of the ride. Be sure to switch the air bag back on when you remove the car seat.

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I find it funny to see people acting like this is the worst thing to ask ever. I have never seen so many people transporting unrestrained children in my life until I moved to Texas so if given the choice between a booster in the front or a mom holding a baby in her arms in the back I would take the booster in the front any day of the week. That being said the answer to your question is that it depends. It is safer to be in the center back seat of the car but boosters aren't made to be used with lap only seatbelts. They are suposed to be used with the lap/shoulder combination. It is more dangerous to have them in the rear center in a booster with a lap only belt than in the front with the lap/shoulder type belt on many cars. The reason they suggest having children stay in the back until they are 12 is because of the airbags. If you drive a car that doesn't have a passenger side airbag than puting them in the front passenger seat really isn't more dangerous than a rear side seat. It also depends on the size of the child more than the age of the child. If I went by the suggestions for my daughter riding in a booster and staying in the back seat of the car then I will probably have to drive her to her highschool graduation in a booster buckled in the backseat. If you have a lap/shoulder combination belt in the back center seat and it isn't already taken up by a rear facing infant seat then that is the best choice. If you have a lap only belt in the center and your car has passenger side airbags then you should put your child in a side rear seat for the best safety. If you have no airbags then being in the front seat isn't any more dangerous than being in the back seat. I work with cars as well as have 3 of my own kids so I know a little bit about this subject. I am sorry some others have decided to respond rudely. I hope this helps.


All children younger than 13 years are safest in the back seat.

I found this 2 web sites with information:



NO kids are not allowed to sit in the front seat until the age of 12. The force of the air bags is the reason that they are not allowed in the front seat. It can sufficate and even break chest ribs.

It isnt about age, it is based on weight and height . . . go to



we just went through a safety and certification class with them and it is quite eye opening. I almos tlost a daughter in a crash when we were t-boned by a semi truck going 40 miles an hour. . . safest place is in the back!!!! Best of luck

No, never put a child in the front seat ! Booster or no booster, they belong in the back-seats ! To many crazy drivers this day & time !........

I don't think you are a bad person, in fact I wondered about this once upon a time too and asked a police officer. This was in Dallas and the police officer told me that anyone under the age of 12 is not allowed to ride in the front seat of a car. If a truck does not have a back seat it is permissable as long as their is no airbags or the airbags have been disabled.

When the airbag explodes it can blind a child when it hits their face.

For all of those who are saying that kids under 12 can not sit in the front seat (PERIOOD) what are you to do it you have a single cab truck or a car that is just a 2-seater???? I have spoken to several police officers from different cities and have been told the same thing...there is NOT a law about WHERE the kids ride, just that they are strapped in!!!! You as a mother have every right to decide what you do with your child. It is a very ligimate question, and when if comes down to it if you are going to ask a question here on this fourm...i guess you need to be clearier that you are just asking a question! But you will always find critics.

We have an amost 5 yr old, and we have been doing a lot of looking in to the LAW vs the RECOMMENDATIONS when it comes to car seats/boosters. WHERE they ride in the car is strictly your call. It is recommended if you have airbags for them not in be in the front seat. We have a vehicle that the passanger side airbag can be turned off, and he has rode in the front for the whole 5 yrs if there are only the 3 of us in the car. Now the law says they have to be in there child seat until there are 5 yrs old***. But the location is your call. Hope it helps!!! *** I did get this information from a police officer

I believe in Texas you are supposed to be 14 to sit in the front seat.

Actually, legally, I think you CAN put your child in the front seat, as long as they are in the correct booster/child restraint system. Not saying that you should or shouldn't, just what tx law is....


This site compares different state's child restraint laws.

I think that they are at high risk of death or serious injury from the air bag even with the booster. I think its some crazy age like 12 or 13 or something that they recommend. I have heard that in Texas if they are under 4'9" no matter how old they are they are supposed to still sit in a booster. My daughter is 2 and in the 5th percentile, so I guess she will be sitting in a booster on her way to junior high school!:)

Wow E.! I read some of those requests and there are some fiesty moms out there. Good response...

Hey, E....

I wasn't thinking that you would want to harm your kids, but the answer to your ? about 5 year olds in the front seat is... ONLY in a pick-up truck that does not have a back seat, AND the airbag for the passenger side can be shut off (with a key).

Now, my 16-year-old has been sitting in the front seat longer than 4 years, but he was as big as I am before he turned 12. My husband's grandmother, bless her heart, HAD to sit in the back seat of DH's dad's pick-up, because she is not any larger than an average-sized 9-year-old girl (she's now in her late 80's), extremely petite and frail.

The reason for not putting kids in the front seat is primarily because of the airbags. When they "discharge" in a collision, they come out of the dash with a literally explosive force, which can be deadly to a "frail" or petite person, and a booster seat does not help with this.

Anyway, hope this answers your question as to the reasoning behind the decision for the laws.

Be proud of the fact that you DID ask a question, because you didn't know the answer! (The only dumb question I've ever known, was the one that WASN'T asked!)


Apparently there is NO law prohibiting 5 year-olds to sit in the front seat...or to even sit in a booster seat.
Just be sure to consider your child's own safety, especially if you have passenger-side air bags.

For more information, visit:

I am not tottally sure about that but think you could call your local police office or DMV( if you can get anyone to answer lol) and ask about child carseat\booster requirements.

I would say almost for sure no...we have a 4 yr and 3 yr old, both are very tall for thier age but, they both sit in the rear in booster\carseats. I believe the technical reason is due to hieght requirments for sitting in front and that the seat belt could inquire them or they would hit the dash board in case of acident...but again would call around and ask to get more specifics.

I child under 12yrs of age and 100lbs should not sit in the front seat ever because the risk of death is higher in the front than the back if ever in a accident. If you have a air bag in front on passenger side it could also break the childs neck if ever released during impact. Hope this helps keep your child safe always wear a seatbelt and seat in back .

A five year old isn't safe in the front seat, and should really be in a booster in the back. www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ has lots of good information about child safety. I forgot the specifics of when it's safe to move to the front seat...but check it out!

E., from what I have ever heard (including defensive driving class I had to take online :( ) no, a child age 5yr. should not sit in the front seat, even in a booster. The safest place is always in the back. It did say that if you HAD to put them in the front (in a booster) for some reason, you need to make sure the front seat is pushed all the way back (not the back part to make the seat lay down but the actual seat itself). This would be to protect the child from the passenger air bag in the event of an accident. Hope this helps.

Check the visor in your car and your owner's manual. Call the police, ask your insurance agent. Google this on the internet. But the general rule of thumb is, put them in the back seat especially if you have a paasenger side airbag until they are around 12. The only exception is if you have a pickup truck with no back seat but then you should have a switch to turn off the passenger side air bag.

NO....you found nothing on this because a child should not be in the front until they are 12 or 13. 5 is not even close. It is very very unsafe and if you have an airbag even worse. If you ever have a question about car seat safety contact your local fire dept.

No they are not allowed to sit in the front seat. You will have to wait until your child gets a little older. The air bags in the front come out at over 200 mph. I hope this helps.

No it is not safe for a 5 year old to sit in the front seat. Mainly because most cars have air bags and if inflated it could hurt the child. Best for them to sit in the back seat in a booster seat so they can look out the window.

No. It is not safe for a child to sit in the front seat until they are 12, and even in that case they need to be basically adult-sized people. Mostly, this is because of airbags on the passenger side, so if it were absolutely necessary, like in the case of a pickup with no back seat, the passenger side airbag needs to be disabled. Best wishes to you!

I know where you are coming from just asking a question. It appears from the responses that not everyone realized that. I'm sorry you got so beat up over it.

Don't worry, I don't think you are out to hurt your children. I hope you feel better, I know how it is/feels to be beaten with words on here. Oh, if I could be so perfect.



Always check with the child's doctor and they will let you know.

The back seat is the safest but not all cars and trucks have back seats. My mother has a 2-seater car so we don't have the option of putting my daughter in the back when she picks her up. We do make sure to turn the air bag off when she is in the car. My 5 year old nephew has also ridden in the front seat of my mom's car many times (with the air bag off) before he turned 5. A friend of mine has a truck without a back seat so sometimes her daughter has to ride in the front seat of the truck. She has also never had any problems (such as getting stopped by a police officer) when they have done that.

I believe they have to be older than five as well as a certain height. Otherwise I think you will get a ticket for it.

I came across your msg on A 5-yr old in the front seat, well as far as im concern i know that a child needs to be at least 80.lbs or more in order to be able to sit in the front seat however he/she can sit in the front at the age of 12-yrs or older. now i could be wrong on the age for those who can sit in the front but i knkw for sure that a 5-yr old cannot sit in the front even with a booster.. they are too young and still very light in weight... If you like you can do some more research.. If i do come up with any more info that i can asst you with i will let you know..


I believe that a child must ride in the back seat if there is one. The issue is that when/if the air bag deploys, it rips the head off of the child. Booster seat or not.

Children under 6 must sit in the back seat in a booster. The back seat is the safest place for children until they are tall enough for the air bag to not be a danger. The air bag is very dangerous for small children.

no, under 4'11 n under 11 yrs old they should be in a backseat.

Here's a really good, comprehensive information page about car seat safety, etc.:

Also, many area hospitals, fire dept & police dept hold car seat safety fairs, and they can tell you where & how would be the safest spot in the vehicle for your child. From my understanding, NO ONE under 100 lbs can ride up front b/c of the damage the airbag can do to them, this includes adults under 100 lbs, as well. It's OK to ask questions, E., especially when you hear so much information about a subject, it CAN get confusing. Bless you for caring enough to be concerned & ask questions--that's how we ALL learn.

I am not sure what kind of car you have, but it should tell you not to on your visor. I think most recommed not until after 12.

I can't imagine any reason why you'd put your 5 year old in the front seat. It isn't safe, even if they're in a booster seat. I have an (almost) 5 year old, and even if she were in a booster seat, she'd be a huge distraction with "What's that?" "What's this do?" and so on. Your child is safer in the back seat. Just leave him/her there.

Safely, they can not sit in the front seat. Ideally, you never want to let a child under 13 ride in the front seat. (unless they are HUGE, over 5 feet tall and can safely fit in the front seat.)
There are always exceptions to the rule, (if someone has to ride in a 2-door pickup with no back seat) but if you have a choice between front and back seat, pick the back!!!!!

Also, 5 year olds still need to be harnessed in a carseat (there are lots of different types depending on childs size) and if being harnessed is absolutely not an option, then you can use a belt positioning booster seat. Most kids simpy aren't ready at 5 years old to wear a seat belt properly.

It is not safe for any child to sit in the front seat, regardless of age. Its really a height requirement because of the airbag. The airbag will hurt the child if it deploys, could be fatal. So I would say No a child can not sit in the front seat even if in a booster seat. Most cars have decals that state that.

I wouldn't. That is so unsafe for the child. It's illegal, too. Front seat riding, I think, is not allowed until 12 or 13 years old. I am not positive, but I know it's not until much older than five. Ask a pediatrician. They will know!!

Okay, never answer from the email sent to you. I have edited my answer because apparently you weren't talking about you.

I see alot of parents doing this too. It's a shame. I think they do it more for their convenience than anything else. They wouldn't let their child play in the middle of a busy street or turn on a stove, but they allow them to ride in the front of a car or worse, some let them ride on their laps in the the front. I know some are used to this in other countries. Once an immigrant applies for a driver's license they are made aware of all the laws. It's almost impossible to be complete ignorant to this "rule" or "statute". I thought it was a law.

It goes by pounds but I would not do it. My 10 yr old is not allowed as I have air bags that I can not turn off. But my friend had her in her Vet because theie was no ot her place to sit but she can turn off h er air bags. When I first got her according to Seattle she had to be in a carseat. Then checking here her weight and hight were od. G.. Call DMV


Especially not with an airbag.

The backseat is always the safest place for a child under 12, under 5' tall, under 100 lbs.

The law (at least in Texas), governs the use - not the placement of child restraints - so COULD doesn't mean SHOULD. My DH drives a regular cab small pickup, he turns the airbag off and our 4 year old sits in the passenger seat in a belt positioning booster.. our youngest (2) sits in the center in a traditional child safety seat.

It's legal, but it's not optimal - it's not the safest option, and (for us) it's only in a pinch.

no. Especially if there is an airbag. Look at the traffic laws and even child safety laws. You have to be at least 12 before you are allowed in the front seat.

I don't think there is a real legal age. Due to some cars do not have back seats. The back seat is the safest. Unless you have to, I would probably keep them in the middle in the back. That is if you have a back seat.

Why would you even WANT a 5 year old in the front seat. As hard and as long as I think about it I can't find one thing safe or logical about that question ...Good Luck

I think it's good that you asked this question before putting your child in the front seat. The point of this forum is to get advice, right?? Obviously, if you didn't care about your kid, you wouldn't have asked...so don't let some of the responses bother you.

Having said that, I don't think it's safe for kids that age to be in the front seat, especially with a passenger side air bag. The recommendation is 12 years old, so I would stick with that unless it's an emergency of some sort. I don't think the booster would "boost" your little one up high enough to take the impact of an air bag at the right height and they could be seriously hurt.

Best of luck,

from babycenter.com FYI I have a 10 year old niece that just started riding in the front seat last month.

Expert Answers
Stephanie Tombrello, child passenger safety specialist
The answer in almost every case is not until he's at least 13 — and passenger safety organizations such as SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. recommend going even further and keeping your child in the backseat until he's ready to drive himself.

Why? Because riding in the front seat simply isn't as safe as riding in the back. Buckling a child into the backseat instead of the front reduces by a third his risk of death in a collision. In a head-on crash (the most common — and deadly — type of collision), a child in the front seat can be thrown into your car's dashboard or through the windshield. Even if he's properly buckled in, he's at much greater risk for being harmed by objects intruding into the car in the front than in the back.

What's more, in cars with passenger air bags (which includes most newer models), the air bags deploy with such force that they can cause severe head and neck injuries to a child. Nationwide, more than a hundred children have been killed by air bags in recent years, and many of these deaths were in slow-speed collisions that should have been minor. Infants and toddlers in rear-facing car seats are at extreme risk from air bags when placed in the front seat because the back of their car seat is so close to the dashboard.

If, despite these very real dangers, you absolutely must put a non-rear-facing child in the front seat, check to see whether your car's air bag has an on-off switch, and if so, turn it off. If not, have an air-bag switch installed by a car dealership or one of the specialized companies that have sprung up to deal with this situation. (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a list of companies that install air bag on-off switches; you'll need to get permission from this government organization before installing such a switch, however.) If you can't disable your passenger air bag, then have the child who's most securely restrained in a front-facing car seat with a full harness (in other words, the child who's least likely to wiggle out of his restraints, or, if your passengers have all moved out of the car seat phase, your biggest or tallest passenger) ride in the front seat, and move his seat as far back from the dashboard as possible.

Thank you for asking this question.

I have considered placing my 4 year old in the front seat in her booster seat. For those of you who ask "why would you even think it" - it is not because I am a terrible mother. I have been thinking of inviting one of my 4 year old's friends on an outing with our family. With a car seat and a booster in the back seat, there is not room for a third booster or car seat in the back. There is room for an adult to sit. So I have thought about placing my daughter in the front (in a booster) and having her friend sit in the back (in a booster) with Dad driving, and baby brother (in a rear-facing car seat) and me in the back.

Also, I feel my 4 year old is safe in her booster. She is within the weight and height range for it and knows to keep the shoulder belt on her shoulder. She loves it as compared to the car seat and it is so much easier.



A child under the age of 13 should never be in the front seat. I went to the police and fire station, on two separate occasions, just to check my car seats and they know a lot of great info. about them. I have them checked every so often to make sure they are still installed properly. Just call them and they will schedule an appointment with you.

Also a lot of people do not know this but a child can ride in a safety booster until the weight limit of a 100 pounds. I have a kindergarten daughter and she is still in one. The booster is called a safeguard Go Booster and if you go to their website they have a lot of info. as well on there.

I knew of a brother and a sister who were in a fatal car accident and the parents were told that a booster may have saved a life.

Everyone believes different things on this issue but my oldest daughter can easily get into and out of her booster herself so I feel it was worth the investment.

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