Q&A: Can a Child on a Booster Seat Travel in the Front?

The Question

I have four children all under the age of 12 years old. The oldest child is 10 years old. Am I allowed to put the eldest child aged 10 in the front seat of a car with a booster seat? If not what are the regulations in this instance?

The Answer

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 seat, and if so, what type of seat they will need.

The Restraint

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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Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2017.