fronIn our prior post, we covered the essential Michigan car seat laws and booster seat requirements for infants and young. This time, our focus is on the laws pertaining to transporting children safely and lawfully in the front seat of a vehicle. Here are five questions parents most frequently ask regarding Michigan’s front seat laws.Do You Have a Case?
Michigan law requires children under the age of 4 to ride in the rear seat(s) of the vehicle whenever possible. However, if the available rear seats are occupied by children under 4, then a child under 4 may ride in the front seat. The proper car seat or booster seat should always be used, regardless of which row a child is occupying.
For children 2 and under, parents should use a rear-facing car seat, unless the child exceeds the height and weight requirements specified by the seat manufacturer. In addition, the airbag must be turned off any time a child is riding in a rear-facing seat.
According to Michigan law, children who are between the ages of 4 and 8 may ride in the front, providing they are in the proper car or booster seat for their age and height.
Children who are at least 8 years old or at least 4’ 9″ inches tall may ride in the front seat of a car. Like all drivers and passengers, children who have outgrown a car seat or booster seat should always use a seat belt.
Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 13 should ride in the rear seat of a vehicle – using the appropriate car seat, booster seat or seat belt – for optimal protection.
Children between the ages of 4 and 8 may ride in a booster seat or child seat in the front seat of a car as long as the child meets the seat manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
However, as mentioned above, Michigan front seat laws allow a child under 4 to ride upfront when all available rear seats are occupied by other children under the age of 4. Additionally, the passenger-side airbag must be turned off whenever a child rides in a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a vehicle.
While Michigan front seat laws allow children in front-facing car seats, booster seats or seat belts to ride in the front seat with the airbags on, it is not recommended. In a crash, airbags inflate quickly and forcefully. Therefore, small children could be injured if they are sitting too close to the dashboard. Therefore, the CDC and other traffic safety organizations recommend that children under the age of 13 should avoid sitting in the front seat whenever possible. If a child or teen must sit in the front seat, make sure they are using the appropriate car seat.
Those who have outgrown car seats and booster seats should use the vehicle’s lap/shoulder belt.
In the front seat of a car, Michigan law requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts, regardless of age. If a vehicle is pulled over, even for an unrelated reason, a police officer may issue a ticket if someone in the front seat is not buckled up.
Moreover, children and teens under 16 must also wear seat belts in the back seat(s) of a vehicle. Back seat passengers 16 and older are not legally required to wear seat belts. Nevertheless, passengers of all ages should always wear seat belts no matter where they are seated.
Yes, children can legally ride in the front seat of a pickup truck as long as all necessary safety precautions are taken. This means children should be secured in the appropriate restraint, whether it’s a car seat, booster seat or seat belt.
If you have a baby or toddler under 2 who meets the height and weight specifications for a rear-facing car seat, make sure the airbags are turned off.
Under Michigan law, children under 4 are required to ride in the back seat. However, many pickup trucks do not have rear seats or extended cab seating. Therefore, the law provides an exception for children who are riding in such vehicles.
In addition, children under 4 may ride in the front seat of a truck equipped with rear seating when other children under 4 are occupying the available back seats.
This is the case if there is no rear-cab or extended cab seating, or if all available seats in the rear of the truck are occupied by children under the age of 4.
When putting a booster or child seat in the front seat of a pickup, be sure it is properly secured according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
You might also be interest in this: Michigan Traffic Crash Facts for Children
The CDC encourages parents to set an example for their children by practicing recommended safety protocols.
Remember that a car seat must be properly installed in order to protect your child. If you need help installing a seat or determining which seat is best for your child, visit your local police or fire department.
For more helpful resources, safety tips and guides to a variety of topics, be sure to check out The Sam Bernstein Law Firm’s blog.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, contact The Sam Bernstein Law Firm today. Our experienced team of auto accident attorneys will guide you through every step of the process while we fight to win the compensation you deserve.
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