9 reasons children should never sit in the front seat of a car

Placing children in the front seat of a car poses several significant risks, making it generally safer for them to ride in the back seat.

Children belong in the backseat- Zero Death Maryland

Here are compelling reasons why children should not be placed in the front seat and here’s why:

  • Airbag deployment: Modern cars have front airbags to protect adults during a crash. However, these airbags come out with a lot of force, which can be extremely harmful to children. The impact can cause serious injuries or even be fatal, especially for kids under 13 years old.
  • Crash safety: Studies and crash tests show that the back seat is safer for children. In a front-end collision, the back seat is farther from the impact, reducing the chance of injury. Kids in the back seat are less likely to hit the dashboard, windshield, or other hard surfaces.
  • Seat belt fit: Seat belts are made for adults and might not fit children correctly, particularly in the front seat. A seat belt that doesn’t fit well can cause serious injuries during a crash. In the back seat, children can use car seats, booster seats, or seat belt adjusters to ensure a proper fit.
  • Reduced distractions for drivers: Children in the front seat can distract drivers. They might need attention, try to adjust controls or behave in ways that take the driver’s focus off the road, increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Legislation and guidelines: Many places have laws requiring children to sit in the back seat, especially if they are under a certain age or size. These laws are based on extensive research and crash data to keep kids safe.
  • Vehicle design considerations: Modern cars often have safety features designed for the back seat, like side airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, and lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) systems. These features make the back seat even safer for child passengers.
  • Physical vulnerability of children: Children have more fragile and less developed bodies compared to adults. The forces during a crash can cause more severe injuries to children. Their developing bodies are more vulnerable to the strong impacts in a collision.
  • Side-impact protection: The back seat generally offers better protection from side impacts. In a side collision, the front seat occupants are closer to the point of impact, while children in the back seat have more buffer space to absorb the impact.
  • Behavioral safety children: in the front seat might lean forward, play with controls, or move out of their seat belts. In the back seat, they are less likely to engage in these risky behaviors because they are farther from the driver and controls.

For the best safety, children should ride in the back seat, properly restrained according to their age, weight, and height. This practice reduces the risk of injury from airbag deployment, crash impact, and improper seat belt fit. It also aligns with safety guidelines and laws designed to protect young passengers.

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