Passenger protection act dictates a person must have 4 feet, and 9 inches in height to sit on the front seat. And everyone must wear a seat belt according to their height.

You might be wondering, how tall should I be to ride in the front? Different states have different car seat law on who can ride in the front seat regarding height, weight, or age in the USA.

For those that use height as a regulation, 4 feet, and 9 inches is the minimum for any person taking the front seat.

For instance, the minimum height is 4 feet 9 inches in Florida. Everyone, especially those traveling at the front, must wear a seat belt adjusted to their height.

how tall do you have to be to sit in the front seat

In Delaware, all children aged 12 and under 65 inches must sit in the back and be adequately harnessed.

Unless you are 57 inches, you must ride in the back in Georgia.

Texas law also requires anyone shorter than 4 feet 9 inches to sit in the back and be properly restrained.

In Minnesota, you must be 4 feet and 9 inches tall to use an adult seatbelt.

You must be wondering, I am an adult but am not 4 feet and 9 inches tall. Should I sit in the back?

Well, no, an adult’s bone structure is more developed than that of a child; therefore, if there were to be a crash, you would be more likely to survive, unlike a minor who might be taller than you but still, their bone structure is not fully developed.

It has also been noted that adults shorter than the required height sometimes use booster seats when driving, especially.

Seat belts are designed for a 150 pound and 5 ft male adult. Therefore, adults must be 4ft 9inches to sit at the front minimum to use it correctly.

Even though each state has different laws regarding who can sit in the front seat, they all suggest that the minimum height is 4 feet 9 inches.

Read on why do police touch your car here.

Asking how tall should my child be to sit in the front seat? We have established that the minimum required height is 4 feet and 9 inches.

An adult might be shorter and still sit at the front, but there are other requirements—age, size, and weight for a child.

US Child Passenger Protection Act dictates, they must be 4 feet 9 inches tall; however, the weight and age vary from state to state.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) proposes that any child under 13 sits in the rear passenger seat.

How they sit depends entirely on their age, weight, and height, i.e., forward-facing seat, rear-facing seat, or belt positioning booster seat.

If a teenager above 13 years is too small for their age, either shorter or weighs less than 150 pounds, they should sit at the rear passenger seat and properly strap the vehicle seat belt.

In Georgia, the national statistics show that 726 children died, and more than 128000 were injured in 2016 in a motor vehicle crash. These accidents could have been avoided if car seat safety had been imposed properly.

According to Georgia child passenger safety law, all children under eight and shorter than 57 inches should sit in the back. They are much safer there than in the front.

In Louisiana, children over six years and 60 pounds must ride in a belt positioning booster seat.

Children up to the age of 2 should sit on rear facing car seats or until they have exceeded the height and weight limit.

The AAP also suggests that those between 3 and 7 years should use a forward-facing seat.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s car seat recommendations states that a child should use a child seat until they are five years of age.

Even though some states do not specify the age, height, and weight requirements of sitting in the front seat, they specify that a child should reach 4 feet 9 inches before using an adult seat belt.

Read my guide on when do babies outgrow infant car seats here.

Now that you know the height, weight, and age requirements for sitting at the front, you might still wonder why my child is so dangerous to sit in the front seat? These are the potential risks for the child sitting at the front.

  • Injury From Airbag Release
  • Risk Of Being Thrown Out Of The Car
  • Seatbelts Don’t Fit

Injury From Airbag Release

Most car manufacturers design airbags to protect an adult, typically 5ft tall and about 150 pounds.

Airbags are deployed with an immense amount of force. It can cause severe injury upon collision, especially because children are much shorter than adults.

The bone structure is not fully developed so the impact would be much more fatal than to an adult of the same height.

Risk Of Being Thrown Out Of The Car

Sitting in the front seat increases fatality during an accident. If there is a head collision, the child will be thrown onto the dashboard and possibly through the windshield.

Even when buckled in, the rear passenger seat is much safer for the child than the front on the car safety seat.

Seatbelts Don’t Fit

Seatbelts are designed with adults in mind. Therefore, minimum height and weight recommendations are based on the average adult size. For this reason, they might not be able to restraint the child safely in case there is an accident.

Riding in the front seat is something every child looks forward to. But before you decide it’s time for them to sit in the front seat, let’s go over a couple of essential things to consider before allowing them to the front.

  • Safety
  • Proximity To The Dashboard
  • Can They Buckle Up As Required
  • Local Child Passenger Safety Program


Safety is the most important thing to consider. It is generally safer for the child to ride in the back seat until they are 12 or 4 feet 9 inches tall. It would reduce the risk of injury if there were to be an accident.

Proximity To The Dashboard

Children are generally very prone to distractions which will then lead to movement. Keeping the front car seat as far away from the dashboard is advisable.

This is because the airbag deploys very forcefully and can easily injure your child. The child is so close to the dashboard may also set them up for other injuries.

Can They Buckle Up As Required

Buckling up is half the job in car safety. Ensure that there are measures to ensure that the child is buckled up as advised.

Local Child Passenger Safety Program

What does the law dictate regarding who can sit in the front seat in your state? Make sure you check before moving your child to the front seat.

Read why do car seat bases expire here.

Sitting in the rear child safety seat is generally safer for the child. However, an age guideline is not enough to determine whether the child is ready to transition to the front seat. If the child must ride in the front seat, follow child safety procedures to ensure the child’s safety.

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