Carseat in the front?

Archived Q&A and Reviews

We don't have airbags so is it OK?

Nov 2002

Hi, my husband has been putting our six year old in the front seat in his booster. Sometimes I'd like to put the baby in front in her infant seat so I can see her. We don't have airbags so is this unsafe...or only marginally less safe than being in back? Leah

While it's not illegal to have a child in the front seat, it's not recommended--even for cars without airbags in front. In an accident, there are too many things that can go wrong for a child in the front seat. You might consider buying an infant mirror that lets you see a child in a rear-facing car seat. The California Highway Patrol has good information on what the law says about car seats and what is recommended. The CHP's car seat info is on the Web at Gwynne
I cringe every time I see a baby or really young child in the front passenger seat of a car. There is a reason that seat is commonly known as the ''death seat''. In an accident the person in the front passenger seat is more likely to sustain the worst injuries. Please put your children in the backseat! Maya
Having rotated through an emergency room in medical school and in my residency, I can tell you that, air-bag or not, the seat that seems to suffer the most casualties is the front passenger seat. Leave the kids in the backseat, say I, and, as an aside, I would not allow a child under 3 to eat in the backseat because of choking issues. Backseat only

Carseat in a two-seater?

Dec 2002

My husband commutes between east bay to South San Francisco every day, so does our 20 months old baby. So far they are carpooling with other people. My husband is kind of getting tired of carpooling, so he is thinking about getting a 2 seater so that they can still take advantage of carpool lane. The idea always makes me cringe as it will inevitably require putting the baby carseat on the ''front'' (and only) seat. However, my husband suggests getting a pickup truck so that it will both have a big front part and also overall mass (so it will be relative safe without airbag). Somehow I just don't feel it is right, but I also can't convince him to put off the idea. Anyone has looked into this issue? I'd appreciate any advice and comments. a mom

Please do not consider putting a child seat -- or god forbid a rear-facing infant seat -- in the front of any vehicle with an airbag. Airbags can save lives when people are seated and belted properly. But they are not designed for children, and really can kill kids. That is why such strong warnings are in the cars. Even a front-facing child seat can put the child too close to the module when it explodes, which is very dangerous. So please heed the warnings. Kids under 12 should be in the back seat in all airbag equipped cars. No exceptions. Ever. Anonymous