One of my kids is no longer required by law to sit in a booster seat. That's great, but there's no law indicating when it's safe to sit in the front seat of a car with airbags.

Is there a good rule of thumb on child airbag safety?

EDIT:I got the information I needed, but please answer for any location that's missing so people can find this info in the future.

asked 29 Apr '10, 19:26

John%20MacIntyre's gravatar image

John MacIntyre
accept rate: 0%

edited 30 Apr '10, 20:28

To be honest, your question doesn't state a moving car, so if the car is stationary, I think any age is safe ;-)

(01 May '10, 14:56) Yuval

Ah, good point. On that basis, we allowed my son to sit behind the wheel when he was three.

(02 May '10, 20:40) Kyralessa

where do you live? That will likely impact the answers :) I live in Ontario, here 12 is the magic age (transport canada).


answered 29 Apr '10, 20:22

Krista's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%

I also live in Ontario. Thank you very much Krista. My kid is going to be very disappointed. :-(

(30 Apr '10, 01:50) John MacIntyre

In Australia, there are no specific laws regarding airbags but Kidsafe (Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia) quotes this:

Airbags are designed to cushion adults in an accident; they deploy at 320km/h to an adult’s chest height.

In the USA, passenger side airbags have been implicated in the deaths of 21 children, including six infants in rearward facing child restraints.

KidSafe recommends that children under 12 years of age should not sit in the front seat with an airbag

I guess the important thing to think about is that chest height for adults is usually head height for children


answered 30 Apr '10, 13:51

Lin's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

edited 30 Apr '10, 23:35

BTW, timeframe not specified for the 21 deaths

(30 Apr '10, 13:53) Lin

+1 Thanks for the Ausie info Lin.

(30 Apr '10, 20:27) John MacIntyre

AFAIK, in Israel a child is allowed to sit in the front passenger seat at the age of 14.


answered 01 May '10, 14:57

Yuval's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

In Sweden you have to be 140cm to sit in the front seat if there is an airbag.


answered 01 May '10, 17:30

Idstam's gravatar image

accept rate: 22%

In NZ there is no law regarding this but on the NZ Transport Authority website it says the following:

  • It's important that you never put a child, in a rear-facing child restraint, in the front seat of a car that has a passenger airbag. The child could be seriously injured or killed if the airbag is activated.

  • All child restraints, including forward-facing restraints, are best installed in the rear passenger seat (not in the front). If you must use a forward-facing child restraint in the front passenger seat (eg because there aren't any rear seats), please refer to both your vehicle and child restraint manufacturer's instructions to establish whether your child restraint can be fitted in the front seat of your vehicle (eg it has the required anchor point for the tether strap).

Provided your child restraint is able to be situated in the front passenger's seat, it is recommended that you move the passenger seat back as far as it will go (if using a booster seat, ensure the diagonal part of the safety belt crosses the child's shoulder and breast bone). If you can switch the front passenger airbag off in your vehicle then do this, but remember to switch it on again when the seat is used by an adult.


answered 19 May '10, 02:42

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

Does your car have a switch to turn the passenger airbag off (often key operated and found in the glovebox)?


answered 18 May '10, 10:48

Mungo's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

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Asked: 29 Apr '10, 19:26

Seen: 7,651 times

Last updated: 19 May '10, 02:42