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is what I did legal?

A friend picked us up to give us a ride over to my husband's parents house. This guy has a truck but there was no way my son's car seat was going to fit in the back seat because it was to close to the front for it to recline properly (my son rides rear facing), the seat belt was not long enough to install it properly and the vehicle seat was way to short for the entire base to fit on the vehicle seat. We really needed to get a ride, so since there was no air bag I put my son in the front side passenger seat and used a locking clip to install it because he had those ancient non locking seat belts. I was just wondering if that was illegal because there was a back seat available. I live in California if that makes any difference.


Asked by Anonymous at 3:51 AM on Oct. 18, 2009 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • In California, since January 1st 2005 children must be secured in the back seat of the vehicle until age 6, but there are exceptions, one of which is that if the child passenger restraint system can not be properly installed on the rear seat. If there was an active passenger air bag it would have been illegal, though.


    Answer by Anonymous at 12:24 PM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • I don't know CA's laws but I am pretty sure that as long as he is in a car seat it's ok for him to ride on the front as long as the car seat is properly installed. He does not HAVE to ride in the back (at least in Ohio) if there is no airbag in the front, but it is recommended.

    Answer by Tashwitz at 4:22 AM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • Its usually only illegal when an airbag is there. But if you say there wasnt then dont worry about it. Everyone got there safe and as long as you dont make a habbit of this then I really wouldnt worry about it :)

    Answer by Steph319 at 6:38 AM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • I agree with Steph319, in thinking that it's only illegal if an airbag is there. If you want to be sure, you could always call your local police station, anonymously, and ask them.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 7:51 AM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • It wouldn't have been here because there was a back seat available. But you'll have to check with your local laws. better to have just called your local police department and ask them rather than post here. More reliable information.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:59 AM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • Not illegal in NC either (not sure about your state tho) since there was no airbag in the front. My MIL has a 2 seater Mercedes and she bought special magnetized car seats that deactivate the airbag so my child can go places with the front seat of course since there is no back seat. You sound like you are doing the best you can, you got there safely, no worries mommy. You could always check your local laws as others have mentioned, so you don't have to worry about getting in trouble next time around.


    Answer by momjoy1027 at 8:28 AM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • Your fine thats legal. As long as the seatbelt is locked and you used the clip so thats fine. And there are no airbags then your fine. I did the same thing when i had to use my dads truck i also did it using my moms car i had to turn off the airbags because you cant get a carseat in the back of her car. So your fine dont worry about it. You did everything right.

    Answer by Shelii at 8:38 AM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • i have no idea. i'd call the police and see but i wouldn't worry about it as long as you don't do it all the time. i know here in mo you have to have a child in a car seat in the backseat in a car and van but in an suv or truck there are diff rules. the air bag is a scary thing with small kids but it's all good now. if it's something you may have to do frequently i'd call the police dept or health dept and ask. i know they have brochures

    Answer by mamakat12 at 9:20 AM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • It would have been illegal if they were full backseats. A lot of pickup backseats are just the small ones which you cant install carseats on anyway...

    So Im guessing you are in the clear.

    Answer by MarchMarie at 9:29 AM on Oct. 18, 2009

  • I've seen people mention it being illegal if there is an air bag there, but at least here in Florida that only applies if the air bag cannot be shut off. I've put my son in the front seat of my father in law's Ford Ranger. It has an air bag, but it also has a key switch to shut the passenger side air bag off.

    Answer by LokisMama at 9:31 AM on Oct. 18, 2009