At What Age Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat of a Car in Illinois?

As a parent, keeping your child safe is your biggest priority. There are few places as dangerous to your child as your vehicle. According to 2021 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 42,939 traffic fatalities that occurred that year, 1,184 were children aged 14 and younger. An additional 162,298 children were injured in wrecks that year.

Placing your child in an age- and size-appropriate safety seat is one way you can protect them from injury in a car accident. Another way to safeguard your child is to make sure they do not sit in the front seat until it is safe for them to do so. 

Knowing when it is safe for your child to make the transition from the back seat to the front can be confusing. Sometimes, advice and guidelines seem to conflict with one another. However, Illinois offers some helpful guidelines for parents.

Illinois’s Child Passenger Protection Act

The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act requires that children riding in passenger vehicles be transported in an appropriate safety seat that is installed correctly. This means:

Children Less Than Two Years Old

If your child is younger than two years, you must use a rear-facing child safety seat or a convertible seat that is installed rear-facing in your vehicle. A child must remain in this type of seat until at least age two, but it is recommended they ride in it as long as appropriate. 

Do not transition a child out of a rear-facing seat until the child is at least 40 pounds or 40 inches tall. This type of seat should never be placed in the front seat of your vehicle.

Children Ages Two To Four

Once your child outgrows a rear-facing seat, you should transition to a forward-facing child seat with a harness restraint system. This seat should also be placed in the rear of your vehicle. Keep your child in this type of seat until they outgrow it, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Children Ages Four To Eight

When your child outgrows their forward-facing car seat and harness, begin using a booster seat along with a lap and shoulder belt. Even at this age, your child should remain in the rear of your vehicle and not sit in the front. If the rear seats of your vehicle do not have a shoulder and lap belt, then your child should use the lap belt without a booster seat.

Children Ages Eight To Twelve and Beyond

When your child is too big for a booster seat, you can transition them to using just a lap and shoulder belt. While they remain under twelve, you should have your child continue to sit in the backseat. Once your child is older than 12, they can begin sitting in the front of your car or truck.

Keep Your Child in the Rear of the Car Until They Are 12 or Older

The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act requires that you use car seats that are appropriate for your child’s age, size, and weight. The law does not state a specific age at which your child is legally allowed to ride in a front seat. However, Illinois recommends that you keep your child in the back seat until they are 12 years old, no matter their height or weight.

Additionally, you should always follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions and other safety recommendations to help prevent a serious injury to your child.

Contact Our Chicago Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Chicago, Illinois, and need legal help, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Cook County and its surrounding areas:

Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers
134 N La Salle St #2160
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 929-2884