When can a child ride in the front seat of a car?


The time has finally come and you have decided to buy a car because it is no longer comfortable, neither for you nor for your family, another means of transport that is not private. Perhaps you have moved to the outskirts where public transport does not arrive or perhaps the need to have a car cannot be postponed any longer. Or do you already have a car and have decided that it is time to increase the family?

When can a child ride in the front seat of a car

It is likely that as a result of these changes in your life you have certain doubts regarding cars and children. What you want is for your children to be as safe as possible inside your car, but you are not entirely sure about the systems that are available and the rules that must be followed according to the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) since it is the first time you have to face this reality. Most likely, the main question you ask yourself is when can a child ride in the front seat of a car.

The regulations on where children can sit in the car

Since October 1, 2015, the regulations regarding where to seat children in the car have changed. All minors who are 135 cm or less must travel in the rear seats and, logically, with the child restraint system adapted to their age and size. If you have never bought a child restraint system or a child car seat, you will discover that there are different groups, from 0 to III, which refer to the measurements of the child and have different characteristics to completely adapt to him.

What happens if the minor exceeds 135 cm? In theory, the minor who exceeds 135 cm in height can go in the front seat with the seat belt fastened, but the General Directorate of Traffic recommends that until the child does not exceed 150 cm in height, it is best to travel Always in the back seat with an adapted child restraint system, although the fact of not wearing it does not imply any penalty, but it does imply an increased risk of suffering worse injuries in the event of an accident.

In the event that the law is not complied with, in the case of Spain, the penalty for the driver is 200 euros and the withdrawal of three points from the driving license. But, without a doubt, the most serious is the danger to which minors who do not travel with adequate safety standards are exposed.

But what happens if you have already bought a two-seater car? Or if you have three or more children who do not exceed 135 cm and you have to travel with all of them? Do not worry, the law contemplates three exceptions in which minors can travel in the front seat, but always with the appropriate child restraint systems, since if this is not the case, the penalty will be imposed in the same way.

Exceptions to the law on where to put children in the car

The law contemplates 3 exceptions:

  • In the event that the car does not have rear seats, for example a two-seater car or a van that only has three front seats.
  • In the event that the car does not have rear seats in which child restraint systems can be installed. There are cars in which this type of device can only be placed in the passenger seat, so the child can go in the front seat of the car.
  • In the event that the rear seats are already fully occupied by minors with the same characteristics. If you have to travel with four children who measure equal to or less than 135 cm (or three, in the event that only two adapted child restraint systems fit in the rear seats of the vehicle), one of them must travel in the front seat, with the appropriate child seat or child restraint system.

How should a child travel in the front seat of a car?

In the event that the child must travel in the passenger seat, there are some details that you must take into account. First of all, you have to place the child restraint system in the front seat, you cannot travel only with the seat belt, since it is not adapted to your measurements and will not be able to protect you adequately in the event of an accident.

In the event that it is a retention system of group 0 or 0+, which includes from 0 to 13 kilos, you should know that it is placed in the reverse direction to the march, so do not forget to disconnect the airbag from the passenger seat before to boot. If your airbag cannot be automatically deactivated, you will have to go to a workshop to have it done.


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