Believe it or not, kids need to be at least 13 years old before they can safely ride in the front seat of a car. This 13 year age limit stands even if your child is large for his or her age, because of the way kids' skeletal systems develop.
Car safety is one of the most complicated and confusing parts of parenting. There are so many limits and restrictions to keep track of, and rules sometimes change. The good news about it all is that lots and lots of research goes into coming up with car safety guidelines, so they truly will ensure your child's maximum safety.
Parents have many questions about car safety, including when they can front-face, when they can move to a booster car seat, and when their kids no longer need a car seat. One thing kids look forward to is sitting up front in the passenger seat.
Many kids feel grown-up or "cool" sitting up in front, while others yearn to sit close to mom or dad and talk with them. Parents might feel like they can keep a better eye on their kid right next to them. Whatever the reason, safety trumps all when it comes to car safety.
The back seat is the safest place for all children, and children under age 13 should never sit up front. Most parents do not follow this recommendation, presumably because they do not realize how important it is.
In the first place, the front seat is statistically more likely to take more crash impact because crashes tend to happen in the front of the car. So actually, everyone is safer in back. If you have a spot in back, your rider should take it!
Airbags are a major danger for children under 13. They are meant to accommodate the body of a 140-pound man, and they can cause serious injury or death in children. Over 100 children per year are killed by airbags and this often happens in minor crashes.
Even if your child is as big as any 13-year-old, don't assume they are safe in the front seat. This is not just about size; kids' skeletal systems are still developing and their bodies are much more fragile.
There is one time you can put your kids up front. That is if all your back seats are occupied by younger children. If you do this, use a booster car seat or kids who don't fit the seatbelt properly. Also, disable your airbags or have someone at the dealership do it.