Help with Carseat

Updated on May 12, 2017
S.V. asks from Toledo, OH
16 answers

I have four children. I have a four door Truck. My question is I need to put a child up front in the front seat. I know this is questionable but don't have the means to go out and buy a new vehicle. I have a 6 year old,3 year old, 2 year old and a 4 month old. I can put the child in the middle and turn of the airbag off passenger side. Who should I put up front?? Should I put the 6 year old in a car seat up front or the baby rear facing? I don't need judgement on how I am an awful parent etc as this was not planned. I am a foster parent and took siblings that keep arriving.

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So What Happened?

Just to be clear I have adopted three of the children. However the birth mother continues to have children. They are full blooded sybs. So before you go on about how in the world can I be certified to be a foster parent when the car is not certified blah blah. I am not going to not take their sybs. It was not planned to have 4 children. However I expected negative comment from self righteous parents instead of constructive help. I do attempt to " get a babysitter" and I will work on trying to get a better vehicle for my family. However in the mean time I still have to get kids from school etc. So to some that were constructive thank you.

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answers from Honolulu on

I don't really have a car seat answer, but just wanted to thank you for taking these kids in, and giving them a home, and caring enough to want the best for them in terms of safety.

My friend is a foster parent, and right now she has 8 kids in her house. And some of them are siblings, most with some kind of fetal alcohol syndrome, or they're going through withdrawal from drugs that their mother took while pregnant. And yes, she gets calls in the night, because one or more of the kids' mother has had ANOTHER baby, with ANOTHER drug addiction or disability or illness, and she does everything she can to keep the siblings together. It's hard and I appreciate what you're doing.

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answers from Fort Myers on

I don't know if you will get a nice answer from this. I don't know how they would allow someone to foster kids without the right size car. I'm totally against a child sitting up front even if the airbag gets shut off. All it takes is one accident. Call a babysitter and keep a couple of kids home.

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answers from Chicago on

I knew a woman that was raising her 5 or 6 yr old niece because the parents were killed in an accident. She was told she would not be able to have kids. So she and her husband bought a car to save on gas (this was when gas was over $4 a gallon). No problem because the girl could go in the back. She ended up pregnant with twins. Instead of trying to squeeze the girl in between the baby seats, she would sit her up front in a booster seat when they were not all together. She didn't have side airbags so it was not a problem. I would just make sure that the bags are turned off. The best place for baby is in the middle in the back.

BTW, I have driven with a child in the front seat. I was once stopped and the cop just wanted to make sure she was wearing a seat belt and in a booster.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

There are tons of people in the country that only have a pickup and have kids. Your front riding kiddo is probably safer than if you put all 4 kids in a teeny import made of plastic.

If it were me, I'd put the 6yr old up front in a booster, but honestly, you may need to split the kids up differently if the 2 and 3 yr old do not ride well in the back together (been there, done that).

Trucks are made to turn off the passenger airbags for a reason - so you can put a kid in the front seat. Is it ideal? Probably not. Is it illegal or make you a bad mom? Absolutely not. Is there some kind of "county rule that foster parents have to have a certain vehicle"? Nah, mostly counties are happy when they can find someone to even be willing to be a foster parent.

Good luck!

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answers from Boston on

I'm sorry you're getting such negative feedback from those who don't understand. You are to be commended for taking on 4 foster children and adopting the first 3 (with a 4th a recent addition). Kudos to you!

Does your local police department or fire department have a car seat program or a "clinic" on how to install them? Some towns do. After all, the police are the ones who are going to write a ticket, so they are heavily invested in helping parents do things right. I think you can explain that the state has just given you a 4th child with no notice, and you need to properly protect them all o get them to school and day care. See if they will help you without judgment! In no way should they target you because you didn't run out and buy a new vehicle the day you got handed Child #4!

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Make sure the bags are turned off and put the oldest child up front in an appropriate booster seat. You are in no way a bad mother just because you can't afford a minivan right this second!! Just do the best with what you have :)

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answers from Springfield on

i have done a rear facing seat in a 2 door truck with no airbags. our car crapped out and the truck was our only other option. if i were in your situation i would put the oldest in a booster in the front. with airbags off.
(someone needs to give that birth mother some birth controll to prevent her from having kids...

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answers from Columbus on

The biggest issue with putting a child in the front seat is the airbag. I was at a car seat installation event last year and watched them install a booster seat in the front of a truck, so it's possible to do so. The biggest thing is that you MUST have a switch that enables you to turn off the airbag on the passenger side. (One of our vehicles has a switch to turn if off, but I'm kind of paranoid and would probably have the dealership check to see if it's working properly!)

I'd then put the 6 year old in the front passenger seat (not in the middle). One of the major causes of accidents is driver distraction, and you're less likely to be distracted by the 6 year old.

To be on the safe side, do a google search and look for a certified car seat installer in your area. They'll look at your vehicle and then install all of the car seats for you. It's usually a free service, and it's good to have it done even if all your seats are in the back. A surprising number of car seats are installed incorrectly.

Good luck, and THANK YOU for being a foster parent!

ETA: I didn't notice that you're in Toledo. Ohio doesn't have laws prohibiting kids from riding in the front of a truck. Toledo Children's Hospital and Toledo Fire and Rescue have certified car seat technicians on their staff. Call them and ask for their advice. Also, we were in Sandusky last summer and stopped at the AAA office. They also have a car seat technician.

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answers from Miami on

S., I think the best thing would be to visit the fire department and/or the local police department and ask them for help with the car seats. They know all about the transportation laws and age limits, so they will be the best as to how to advise you to place the car seats, given the fact you own a pickup truck. I see kids (first graders and older) riding as passengers in pickup trucks, and the police don't blink an eye, but then again, this is Florida, and the laws on car seats and the ages of kids are very lax. Maybe Ohio is stricter. No, the laws are NOT the same in each state. They are determined by the state.

I have also seen kids riding on top of bicycle hand rails with their parent, and on scooters, either behind of or in front of their parent. They go to school like this on a daily basis, for years. If they can do it given their mode of transportation, so should you. Having a truck does not make you an unfit parent, or subject to lose the ability to foster kids. One of my daughter's friend's mother had a pickup truck with only the one bench seat at the front. She bought the truck when she relocated from Arizona to Miami and has never had an issue getting pulled over or deemed an unfit parent.

I realize that you bought this truck before the kids entered the picture and not everyone can afford to buy a new vehicle on a whim. Unfortunately, that is life. Some people cannot afford to get rid of their old cars that have no shock absorbers on the bumpers, for example. Still, that is not a reason to have the parent get in trouble. Having them in the driver's seat or in the pickup truck's bed, on the other hand, MAY be grounds for trouble. I could never foster a kid, much less 3, so I have no right to judge you and if anything, I congratulate you on giving these kids a new home and a new chance. It takes a special type of person to do this.

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answers from Toledo on

The airbag would not be on if he was in the front seat. The airbag is the issue I am seeing. While it would be ideal for me to have all my kids in the back not an option.


Thank you all for your help and support. I will be talking with a state trooper to go over my set up. Make sure all is installed properly 😉



answers from Oklahoma City on

No rear facing. If you're in a front end collision the dash will come up and crush that backwards facing car seat.

I'd put the oldest in the front in a booster seat. You could get seat belt extenders if the seat belt doesn't go across his chest at the right height.

I wouldn't want to put anyone in the front seat at that age but if you have to you have to. I have known that I'm going to be hauling kids for many years and we bought a van the last time we got a vehicle. They're better on gasoline that an SUV and will fit our family for a good 15 more years.

I think that you need to consider your vehicle and even though you, and the state, want to keep the kids together. I admire you for taking them. I'm glad the state is working to put them in the same household.

Please talk to the worker. They probably have very strict rules about what you can do with the kids. They are the kids legal guardian, you're just their caregiver. So the state has the final say as to whether you can even take them all in your truck at all.

The worker should have resources when they have doc appointments and such so they will come pick the ones up that need to go and then bring them home when they're done.



answers from Portland on

If I ever had to, I think I would put the oldest one up front in car seat, passenger side, with air bag turned off.

Obviously not recommending this, but if I had no other option, that's what I would go with. I say this because I would think a six year old's skeletal system would be more developed than a baby's (think of a weak 4 month old's neck). Most crashes are front end I think.



answers from New York on

No one goes in front. Do you know what can happen to a child if an airbag is deployed. My husband is a firefight and a police officer. He will tell you and it's not pretty. Laws are created for a reason. Don't break this one please.


answers from Kalamazoo on

I'd ideally put the 6yr old up front but only if the 2 and 3 years olds can be trusted in the back with each other and baby. If that's a problem I'd put the trouble maker up front with me! LOL. And bless you for what you are doing!!!



answers from Sacramento on

I would put the 6 yr old up front with the airbag off. I think the law in most states even says that if there is not room to have all the kids in the back, then the oldest/biggest child should be in the front. Also, the main issue with the front seat is the airbag, so with that off it should not be a large safety concern. Bless you for what you have taken on. My sister adopted 4 siblings in the same way. Bio mom ended up with 6 total...4 went to my sister, one adopted by another foster family, and one to a different bio dad.



answers from Chicago on

does the car have a light that says if the passenger air bag is on or off? If so that is a smart airbag and it will know there is a carseat there and won't turn the airbag on. So put the seat back as far as possible and put the 5 pt harness forward facing seat in that position when needed and it's perfectly safe.

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