Car Seat in Front Seat?

Updated on June 11, 2010
A.H. asks from Gilbert, AZ
16 answers

Hey Mamas! So my hubby and I have two trucks. The truck that we have the car seat in is a four door F150. No problem. So far we haven't put a car seat in our other truck a ford Ranger. It only has the suicide doors and two side facing pull out seats in the back. This weekend we are running into a two car issue and need to put the car seat in the Ranger. The airbag in the front passenger seat can be turned off. Is it safe (and legal) to put my 20 month old in her forward facing seat in the front seat of the car so long as there is no air bag? I'm not sure I'm comfortable with it but my hubby says it's okay... I thought I would check with my Mama's who always have the answer!

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answers from Burlington on

It is legal, just not recommended as the center of the back seat is the safest place for a child. Or anyone, for that matter. If you're not comfortable with it, I would find an alternative but know that it is NOT illegal.
My daughters father is a police officer and he only has a 2-seater truck; she's always been safe in his care.

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answers from Spokane on

If it is your only option, then you do what you have to do. I know you are not supposed to put rear facing seats in front with air bags. Air bags are also dangerous, and have been shown to be lethal even in children in forward facing seats, so definitely make sure that you turn it off. Don't worry. I know of people who drive around with their children in front, UNRESTRAINED! It's crazy! And why is it the people who are so oblivious to their child's safety never have anything bad happen?!!! I don't get it. Goodluck : )




answers from Fort Wayne on

I don't think it's safe at all! There's reasons why kids have to ride in the back seat. I suppose if there is absolutely NO other option, but I would almost say put her in the pull out seat in the back. We did that a few times in my husband's old truck. Maybe call your local police department and see what they say. Or maybe the baby can go with whoever has the bigger truck. Or switch cars.


answers from Fresno on

The airbag is why they usually don't recommend car seats in the front, but if the air bag is turned off, it is fine. LOL, here in farm country you see a lot of car seats in the front seat of big trucks!



answers from Phoenix on

Why don't you just switch cars? Whoever gets the baby gets the F150?



answers from Tucson on

We have the same problem. It is legal and we have never had a problem - except my daughter loves it! And when the seat gets put back int he other car she has a fit! It is not the safest but you do what you have to do. Just be sure to turn off the airbag. We are car juggling so often we have just left ours off so we don't forget!


answers from Minneapolis on

You can't use the back jump seats for a car seat, so your only option is the front seat. Make sure the airbag is off and install the car seat properly, and if possible move the seat as far back as possible. Also, she's a little thing and young, I would install the convertible rear facing. A rear facing car seat is outgrown when the child hits the weight limit or there is less than one inch of hard shell above the head. At 20mos I'm sure she's still under those requirements (unless she's more than 35lbs and more than 43" tall! LOL!) She's must safer rear facing, especially in this situation.

But yes, its legal, just not recommended unless there is no other seat option for her, and like I said those jump seats cannot accomidate a car seat, so she can be installed in the front seat. Please consider the rear facing (google EXTENDED REAR FACING for more info on that)



answers from Chicago on

It is not best practice (I am a CPS tech in IL), but in your situation it is really the only viable option. Just make sure the airbag is turned off and make sure the seat is installed properly with no more than 1" of movement of the belt path and make sure the straps are nice and taut and the chest clip is at armpit level. I would be extremely nervous in that situation, if you are at all unsure about the installation make sure you get it checked. If you can install it rearfacing (your daughter is under the weight limit for rf of the carseat), I would definitely do so as you could partially compensate for the fact that being in the front is not very safe by having her in the safest position possible.



answers from Detroit on

As long as the air bag is off then you are ok, it is not ideal for an everyday thing but I think you will be fine for a short time period. I would however maybe call the local police station and make sure it is legal (just to be sure). But again if the airbag is off and the child is in the correct seat for her age, weight then it should not be a problem.



answers from Washington DC on

If you have no other options then it is legal. It's like the whole "riding in the bed of a truck" thing. If you have available seat belts, they have to be used first and by the youngest before anyone can ride in the bed. It is fine as long as you can turn the airbag off. The biggest danger is from a rear-facing seat in the front when the airbag can't be turned off. I've had my oldest son forward facing in a truck before (it didn't have airbags though and had no back seat) and it was fine and legal because I had no other option. I was visiting family at the time and the truck was borrowed from them.

Just drive carefully and defensively if it bothers you.



answers from Flagstaff on

If your car does not have a backseat to put a baby carrier in then yes it is legal to have your child in the front seat. I would turn off the airbag as long as the seat is properly installed and the child is sitting in the carseat correctly.



answers from Minneapolis on

We visit my in-laws in CA a lot and my FIL has a truck. He like to take my now two year old on little excursions and I allow it as long at the airbag is off and I know the front facing seat is buckled in properly. It isn't ideal, but I'm pretty okay with it for little trips. My son LOVES sitting in the front of course, so it's a great, grand adventure for him.


answers from Dallas on

Keep the airbag off and go to your local fire department. They can make sure the seat is installed correctly.



answers from Dallas on

My hubby only had a two seater truck for my oldest sons first two years. Make sure the car seat is installed correctly, most fire stations can check these for you. Also make sure your child is "installed" correct in the seat, no more than one fingers give in the straps and the chest clip at armpit height. I'm sure your hubby will drive safely with your sweet girl in the car and if it is the only option then it is the only option just don't put her in the back seat with the side facing seats whatever you do.




answers from Phoenix on

I have 3 teenagers now. I always put my youngest in the front seat properly car seated. This was before airbags. I felt i had more control driving if my kid wasn't screaming. I could pull over if and take care of any situation easier. I also knew that they older kids couldn't do anything harmful to the youngest (they are close in age). But when my youngest was just under a year my car was totalled (a new driver ran a stop sign and plowed into me, spinning me around and passenger door was shmushed in). No injuries! Not a scratch. The car was one off those older volvo sedans but the point is that in a WELL FITTED car seat, PROPERLY RESTRAINED child, NO AIRBAG it is safe. It is also important not to have other things loose in the car that could go flying in case of an accident (if you keep a cooler in the car, seatbelt it in the pull out seat) even groceries, put them on the floor not the seat.
I don't think there is anything wrong with using the front seat for her. The safest seat is where you you put her where you feel most comfortable and safe so you can concentrate on only the road.



answers from New London on

it isn't illegal, just not recommended. You can probably google your DMV and see if you can find more information there or call your local police department.

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