Know the Road with the CHP: When can children legally sit in the front seat?

Saturday, July 3, 2021
Know the Road: When can children sit in the front seat?
When are children legally old enough to sit in the front seat?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- How old does a child have to be before they can legally sit in the front passenger seat of a vehicle?

"Now legally, you can move your child to the front seat at the age of eight in the state of California - however we don't recommend this," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol.

"Most newer vehicles are equipped with front airbags in the event of a frontal collision. It doesn't take much for those airbags to deploy," he said. "Depending on the manufacturer, the airbag can deploy in as little as 10 milliseconds. That's hundreds of miles per hour that airbag comes out."

"Studies also show that your child's skeletal structure is not fully developed until after the age of 12. And for these reasons, it's not recommended that your child sits in the front seating location until the age of 13," Pennings added.

To learn more about safety seats for your child before they're old enough to sit in the front, click here.

For other answers from the CHP, go to

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