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Can a Child on a Booster Seat Travel in the Front?

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
Car Seat Booster Cushion Child Car Seat


Hi, My daughter is expecting her fourth child. This will put all four under the age of 12 years old.

Is she allowed to put the eldest child aged 10 in the front seat of a car with a booster seat? If not what are regulations in this instance?

(B.B, 8 February 2009)


The law states that children of any age are allowed to travel in the front seat of a car although they MUST use the appropriate child restraint.

So it is legal for them to travel in the front seat of the car, but as the child in question is under 12, you will need to work out what the appropriate restraint is. How tall they are will have a bearing on whether or not they need to use a booster cushion, and if so, what type of cushion they will need.

Over 1.35m tall

If the child is 1.35m tall or over then they can travel using just the normal seat belt restraint.

Under 1.35m tall

If the child is under 1.35m tall then they will need a booster seat or cushion - in this case it’s likely the appropriate restraint would be a ‘group 3 – for children weighing 22 -36kgs and roughly 6-11 years old', though you would need to confirm this by checking the child's height.

It is both legal and relatively safe for the cushions to be used in the front, but it is safer for them to be used in the rear of the car where possible (especially when an airbag is fitted). The child will need to use the booster cushion until they reach either 1.35cm or 12 years of age, then they will be legally allowed to travel in the front of the car with just a seatbelt as restraint.

Wearing an adult seat belt

When a child is travelling in the front seat using a booster cushion, the adult seat belt must be worn, taking the following into consideration:

  • It should be as tight as possible around the child
  • The belt needs to sit below the stomach, covering the pelvic region
  • The diagonal strap should sit on the shoulder, not on the child’s neck.

Travelling with a rear-facing child seat in the front

Although not relevant in this case, it’s also important to note that if you need to transport a child in a rear facing car set, then you must NEVER put the child in the front of the car if the vehicle is protected by an airbag, as this can cause serious injury and/or death to the child in question.

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You say airbags have to be deactivated if the child is in the front, but that is only for rear facing never for forward facing children. just have the seat right back
Kizzie - 25-Mar-17 @ 7:26 AM
My car does not have the feature where i can deactivate my airbags can i still put my child in the front as long as he is using the appropriate front facing child seat?
kialiana - 18-May-13 @ 3:57 PM
So if I deactavate my pasanger air bag my 1yr old can travel in front in car seat the would be legal
melons - 29-Sep-12 @ 10:57 AM
Can my grandaughter aged1 travel in front of a car if in a forward facing car seat
melons - 29-Sep-12 @ 10:52 AM
Lisa Jane Shaw:That's a stupid question.It's like asking is it okay to smoke crack because I only plan to use it 2 to 3 times a year.Try explaining to the police when you get caught that your kid travels without the legal restraint only 2 or 3 times a week.Or explain to yourself why you didn't properly restrain your child after he has been severly injured or killed in a car accident. Check with your local laws because depending on your 3 year old child's size a car seat may be required.However he may be big enough for a booster seat, but no way is he okay for the regular adult seat.A booster seat is not attached to the car as it works with the adult lap and sholder belt, and can be easily removed from the car.
dje - 12-Jul-11 @ 8:15 PM
Yes, when using any type of child seat in the front passenger seat, you should deactivate the airbags.
SaferMotoring - 24-May-11 @ 10:41 AM
My daughter is almost 8 years old and 123cm tall. From what I can understand she is permitted to sit in the front passenger on her booster seat using the adult seat belts - but I'm still concerned about the passenger airbags - should they be deactivated? Thanks, Sam
Sammy - 23-May-11 @ 9:10 PM
I have a Z4, can my grandson age 5yrs 4 months and 115cm tall, weighing 3 1/2 stone, using a booster seat, travel in the front seat - it does have front air bags?
mouse - 20-Apr-11 @ 5:12 PM
Yes he would have to use a car seat. You can get some car seats that are easily transportable and could be removed when your 3 year old is not in the car. UK/EU rules state that a child weighing from 15 to 25 kg should use a Group II forward-facing child car seat. These are forward-facing and may have backs or side wings. Child car seats don't have their own straps - the seat and your child are held in using the adult seat belt. When your child reaches 22 kilogrammes, they can use a booster cushion. These don't have backs but raise your child in the car's seat so they can use the adult seat belt.
SaferMotoring - 15-Mar-11 @ 11:13 AM
My son has recently purchased a 3 door car for work and social purposes. If he occasionally gives me a lift for shopping etc would my 3yr old son need a car seat? My older son doesn't want one fitted as he could't drop the seats for work nor fit the adults in who travel in his car. I would only be in there 2 or 3 times a week at the most.
lisa jane shaw - 12-Mar-11 @ 7:56 PM
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