At What Age Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat of a Car in St. Louis, MO?
Ryan Bradley | November 24, 2023 | Missouri Law
Parents would do almost anything to keep their children happy and healthy and spare them from harm. With careful planning and understanding of child safety laws, you can do a lot to ensure the well-being of kids in your care.
Unfortunately, you can’t always control the situations you find yourself in. Even if you’re an alert and cautious driver, you could be at the mercy of inclement weather, poor road conditions, and the folly of other drivers.
We all know car accidents are a possibility when we leave our homes and head out into the world, so you want to do all you can to keep your kids safe. This starts with understanding and following Missouri laws related to child safety seats. When are children allowed to hop out of their car seats and into the front seat?
Missouri Child Passenger Restraint Laws
Infants, Toddlers, and Small Children
Children must be secured in an appropriate car seat if they are under the age of four or weigh less than 40 pounds. Children between ages four and eight who weigh at least 40 pounds must be secured in a suitable car seat or booster seat up until they weigh 80 pounds or are at least 4’9” tall.
If children are over the age of eight, weigh 80 pounds or more, and are 4’9” or taller, they must be secured with a safety belt, although they may continue to use a booster seat, as well. So when can kids move to the front seat?
Recommendations For Front Seat Passengers
Missouri has no legal age requirements, which means that children of any age could be placed in the front seat as long as parents follow requirements for appropriate child passenger restraints. That said, law enforcement authorities recognize that it is safer for kids to be seated in the back of the vehicle and recommend that children under the age of 13 not sit in the front seat.
Penalties for failing to comply with child passenger restraint laws in Missouri are relatively mild. In cases where there is no car seat or booster seat, simply purchasing an appropriate product before a hearing may lead to charges being dropped.
The penalty is no more than $50 plus court costs if you’re convicted of a violation. However, the real-world consequences of failing to properly restrain children in a car could be much more serious.
Why Proper Child Restraint in Cars Is So Important
Child safety is the main goal of car seats, booster seats, and child passenger restraint laws, but they’re only effective if you use them correctly. When car accidents occur, children who are not secured in properly installed car seats or booster seats could be at higher risk for head, neck, and spinal injuries.
Studies reveal a conservative estimate of 46% misuse of car seats, including issues like:
- Incorrect recline (rear-facing)
- Loose harness
- Loose installation
- Improperly secured harness (child’s arms or legs not secured)
This also includes misuse of booster seats, mainly through improper positioning of lap or shoulder belts. Kids placed in a seat belt before they reach suitable height and weight could face injuries to the neck, chest, and internal organs.
Children riding in the front seat are susceptible to airbag injuries. If safety is your top priority, you must understand and follow proper child passenger restraint laws at every age and weigh the risks before allowing them in the front seat.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm For Help Today
For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
St. Louis Office
1430 Washington Ave Suite #226 St. Louis, MO 63103
Kansas City Office
1509 NE Parvin Rd, Suite A., Kansas City, MO 64116
Or if you would prefer to reach out to us online, please visit our contact us page.