The safety of children in the car is paramount. The installation of a car seatThe law does not prohibit travelling with a child in the front of the vehicle. Although the law does not forbid a child to travel in the front of the vehicle, it does stipulate that the child must be installed in a car seat adapted to his or her height or weight. You can therefore put a booster seat in the front of the car, but this is generally not recommended for safety reasons, particularly if the airbag is activated. For the baby cosyHowever, it is also permitted in the front, as long as the seat is positioned with its back to the road and the airbag is deactivated.
In this article, we look at the associated risks, the regulations in force and offer you some advice on how to install your home safely.
The Risks Of Installing A Front Car Seat
Airbags and their dangers for children
A car seat or booster seat should NEVER be used on the front seat of a vehicle with an activated front airbag. Although airbags are designed to protect occupants in the event of a collision, they can represent a major danger for children sitting on the passenger seat.
When an airbag deploys, the force exerted is considerable. When a child is sitting in the front seat, particularly in a rear facing car seatIn such cases, the impact of the airbag can cause serious or even fatal injuries. This is why many countries recommend deactivating the airbag when a car seat is installed on the front passenger seat.
Statistics on child safety in the car
According to a survey carried out by the Prévention Routière association in partnership with Bébé Confort, the situation regarding the safety of children in cars in France is alarming. Every week, one child loses his or her life and thirty others are hospitalised as a result of accidents as passengers. Despite awareness campaigns, two out of three children are still not properly restrained in the car, or are not restrained at all. Unfortunately, this figure has not changed since 2015. What's more, despite the advantages of Isofix car seats, which minimise installation errors, only 15% of the car seats observed in this study were equipped with them.
The survey also highlighted risky behaviour in terms of seat orientation and the use of booster seats. Barely half of children under the age of two are seated with their backs to the road, a position that is recommended for their safety. What's more, the car booster seat is often neglected from the age of five, well before the recommended age.
Car Seat Front Seat Laws
In Europe, there are strict regulations on transporting children in the front seats of vehicles. Because of the associated risks, most European countries recommend that car seats be installed in the rear of the vehicle. However, there are exceptions depending on the situation and the type of vehicle.
Car seats sold in Europe must comply with certain safety standards, often indicated by labels such as ECE R44/04 or R129 (i-Size).
- Positioning the car seat : It is strongly recommended that car seats are placed at the rear of the vehicle to ensure maximum safety for children.
- There is no formal ban oninstalling a car seat at the front : There is no law specifically prohibiting children from sitting in the front passenger seat, as long as they use the correct restraint system for their height and weight.
|Country||Age||Size||Back to the road||Sources|
|Germany||Up to 12 years||Up to 150cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.adac.de/|
|Austria||Up to 14 years||Up to 135cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/|
|Belgium||Up to the age of 18||Up to 135cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.police.be/|
|Denmark||Up to 12 years||Up to 150cm||Up to 15 months||https://fdm.dk/|
|Spain||Up to 12 years||Up to 135cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.race.es/|
|Finland||To be specified||Up to 135cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.liikenneturva.fi/en/|
|France||Up to 10 years||Up to 135cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.securite-routiere.gouv.fr/|
|Italy||Not specified||Up to 150cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.aci.it/|
|Norway||Not specified||Up to 135cm||Up to 4 years||https://www.tryggtrafikk.no/|
|Netherlands||Not specified||Up to 135cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.anwb.nl/|
|Poland||Up to 12 years||Up to 150cm||Up to 15 months||https://zachodniopomorska.policja.gov.pl/|
|Portugal||Up to 12 years||Up to 135cm||Up to 15 months||https://diariodarepublica.pt/|
|United Kingdom||Up to 12 years||Up to 135cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.gov.uk/|
|Russia||Up to 12 years||Not specified||Up to 15 months|
|Sweden||Up to 12 years||Up to 135cm||Up to 4 years||https://www.transportstyrelsen.se/|
|Switzerland||Not specified||Up to 150cm||Up to 15 months||https://www.astra.admin.ch/|
- Mandatory use of car seats: Most European countries require the use of a car seat or booster seat up to a certain age or height.
Exceptions to the Rule
Although it is strongly recommended that car seats be installed in the rear of the vehicle to ensure maximum safety for children, there are situations where exceptions may be necessary.
- Vehicles without rear seats : Some vehicles, such as two-seater sports cars or vans, do not have rear seats. In these cases, the car seat can be installed in the front.
- Vehicles with inadequate rear seats : Some vehicles may have rear seats that are not compatible with car seats or that do not allow safe installation.
- Emergency situations : In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to temporarily install a car seat in the front.
Where is the safest place to install a car seat?
According to various studies and statistical data, the safest place in the car for a passenger or a car seat is generally the back seat, particularly the middle seat. This central position protects the child more from potential side impact in the event of a collision. However, not all vehicles offer optimum securing in this position. It is therefore advisable to refer to your vehicle's owner's manual and the car seat manufacturer's recommendations.
Finally, it is essential to remember that a car seat must be correctly installed. Incorrect installation or the use of a car seat that is unsuitable for the child's size and weight can reduce its effectiveness in the event of an accident.
How To Fit Car Seat In Front Seat?
Installing a front-facing car seat requires special precautions to ensure your child's safety. Here are the steps and recommendations for the safe installation of a front-facing car seat:
- Check the regulations: First of all, make sure that your country's regulations allow the installation of a baby car seat in the front. In many countries, it is recommended, or even compulsory, for children to sit in the back.
- Deactivate the airbag: If you decide to install a car seat in the front, it is essential to deactivate the airbag on the passenger side. An activated airbag can cause serious injury to a child if deployed.
- Position the seat : Place the car seat on the passenger seat and make sure it lies flat and is stable.
- Fasten the car seat : Use the vehicle's safety belt or the ISOFIX system, if your car is fitted with one, to secure the car seat. Make sure that the belt or ISOFIX attachments are correctly positioned.
- Check stability: Give the car seat a gentle shake to make sure it is secure and stable. If the seat moves easily, check the fastenings again.
- Get the child settled: Place your child in the car seat, buckle it up and adjust the straps so that they fit snugly.
- Adjust the vehicle seat : If possible, move the passenger seat as far back as possible to keep the child away from the dashboard and windscreen.
- Check regularly : Car seats can become loose over time. Make sure you regularly check that the seat is still secure and that the straps are correctly adjusted.
- Consult the manual : Always refer to the car seat and vehicle owner's manual for specific instructions.
Although it is possible to install a baby car seat in the front, it is always safer to put it in the back of the vehicle. If you have no choice but to put it in the front, follow these recommendations carefully to ensure your child's safety.