How old does my child have to be to sit in the front seat?
Our auto attorneys answer the question about when it is safe to allow your children to sit in the front seat according to Georgia law. This includes both with and without a booster seat.
The following is a question I was recently asked by a family friend who has a child that really wants to sit in the front seat.
Question: My daughter is 7 years old, is she allowed to sit in the front seat? Is it safer for her to sit in a booster seat?
Answer: This is a great question. Our attorneys and staff get this question very often from parents who want to follow the law and also keep their children safe. Georgia laws are designed to keep your children safe. So, it is important to make sure you are not moving your child up to the front seat to soon.
According to the Georgia front seat law, all children under the age of 8 whose height is less than 57 inches must ride in the backseat of a car. Georgia experts advise that any child under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat. According to these experts, the back seat is the safest location for children.
Additionally, all children under the age of 8 must be properly restrained in an appropriate child passenger safety seat or booster seat.
The actual language of the law states that “every driver who transports a child under eight years of age…shall provide for the proper restraint of such child in a child passenger restraining system appropriate for such child’s height and weight…” (O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76)
Even further, if you can show your child’s height is over 4 feet and 9 inches, your child should be restrained in a safety belt as required in Code Section 40-8-76.1.
So, this arguably means that if a child is 8 years or older or is at least 4’ 9” or taller, then the child does not need to be in a child restraint system, and can sit in the front seat according to Georgia law. In this case, you are allowed to use a lap and shoulder belt.
Like I said, our lawyers get a lot of questions from parents about this issue. We often get questions about Georgia car seat laws as well.
I hope this helps!