Can a three-year-old be driven in the front seat?

Edmunds Ozolnieks, an expert of our Safe Driving School, answered questions about the safe transportation of children on the portal

When a baby is born, it is customary to place the baby car seat in the back seat of the car. However, as the baby grows or the second or third child in the family is born, the question arises - can the older child be seated in the front seat of the car? If so, how safe is it and should the airbag be deactivated?

Edmunds Ozolnieks answers: "From the point of view of the law, children can also be seated in the front seat of a car if they are in an age-appropriate car seat. "However, the expert emphasizes that there are some nuances that parents need to know about."

When can a child sit in the front seat?
"There is no one-size-fits-all algorithm for transporting older children when the child is seated facing the direction of travel. Any rapid braking or extreme braking puts the child at risk of injury.

For a child under 5, the head is the heaviest part of the body. In the event of rapid or extreme braking, the head bends forward, creating a risk of neck and head injury.

This is one of the reasons why it is not recommended to put children facing in the direction of travel, ”says Edmunds Ozolnieks.

Should the airbag be switched off if a child is sitting in front?
If the chair is placed facing the direction of travel, the airbag does not need to be locked, but there is one "but". "The airbag inflates in the event of a collision at a pressure of 300 pascals, which is equivalent to a speed of 70 km / s. The function of this cushion is to pick up the body and prevent it from hitting the front panel. In children, the bones of the face are not so strong, they are weak, and yet, under certain conditions, a blow to the airbag can have cosmetic effects on the child's face. The question arises - should the child really be transported in the front seat? It is quite clear that a front airbag is needed, it saves lives. It is wrong to take them out or turn them off, but for children, this is a moment that can have certain consequences, but that does not mean it will happen, ”the expert emphasizes.

He points out that there is an option to pull the front seat as far back as possible so that the airbag comes out softer and the impact is less severe.

Important! If the child seat is facing away from the direction of travel, the airbag must be deactivated when the child is placed in the front seat of the car!

Where is the best place to put a baby in the car?
Sometimes parents wonder where the best place for a child to drive is. If there is one child in the family or usually only one child travels, this is an issue worth discussing. "From the point of view of logic - in extreme moments, everyone has an instinct to save their life, and the driver tries to avoid a collision based on his sitting position. Therefore, it is relatively safer to put a child behind the driver. However, there are those who believe that the child will have a safer position diagonally from the driver, because this will make the child more visible and accessible to the parent, ”says Edmunds Ozolnieks.

With two children, children are usually placed in the back, but with three children it is more difficult to move, the specialist points out and continues: “However, I want to encourage adults to remember how important it is not to distract from the road. If a child starts crying or asking something and the parent turns to the child, it is one moment when the driver loses vigilance, his foot is removed from the brake pedal and the car may hit the car in front, ”Edmunds Ozolnieks urges to be careful.

All parents, grandparents, adults and children themselves need to know:

Children must always be transported in car seats that are suitable for their age and height!

The child may be transported in the front seat of the car, however, if possible, it is recommended not to place children in the front seat of the car, regardless of the direction in which the child is being transported.

If the child is transported in the front seat of the car in a chair facing away from the direction of travel, the airbag must be deactivated! When a pillow fires in the field, it not only throws the chair out of its position, but also causes significant damage and injures the occupant.

A child without a special pad or chair can and should be transported safely when the child has reached a certain length of 150 centimeters.

Only young people with a height of 150 cm may sit in front of the car and anywhere else without a suitable chair. If the height is smaller, then a chair is needed.