At what age/weight/height can a child legally ride in the front seat - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-17, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question At what age/weight/height can a child legally ride in the front seat

Simple question. I know this varies by province but if someone can provide an answer or point to a source I would appreciate it. PLEASE note I am looking for the legal answer not the moral one. Keep in mind that modern cars have air-bag deactivation sensors. What about those instances? What about rear seat side air bags that are not deactivated? They say move the car seat away from the deployment zone. I.E. the center seat. So by my math most modern cars can only safely hold a single child!

I thought I had this figured out years ago.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-17, 06:34 PM
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I researched this a few years and I could find no legal answer. At least in Ontario. There was rules regarding baby seats and how big you had to be to leave a booster seat but nothing regarding when it was legal to sit in the front seat.

I set an arbitrary age of 12 for my kids. I figure by that time they will be both tall enough and large enough that an accidental deployment of an air bag won't kill them.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-17, 10:35 PM
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It's not a law. If you had a two-seater, how old do you think they'd have to be? And the passenger front seat usually has a sensor so the airbag won't deploy if the person sitting in it is not heavy enough.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-18, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Good you have confirmed what I found so far. In vehicles without the air bag sensor the age is typically 12. At least in my vehicle it is printed on the sun visor. But that is just a recommendation. No law as far as I can find.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-18, 08:32 AM
 
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There are "rules" (I'm not sure if it is an actual "law" )in the province of Ontario. I have downloaded this from the Ontario government website and hand it out to my patients. It goes by height and weight rather than just age. You might try finding it on their website. I'm sorry that I don't have a copy at home. If you haven't found what you are looking for, please PM me on Monday at my office:
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-18, 09:53 AM
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Here is the info for child seating in Ontario (my emphasis added):

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/faq/safety.shtml

Quote:
Where is the safest place in the vehicle to put a child car seat?

MTO recommends that children under the age of 13 years be placed in the back seat of the vehicle and away from active front air bags.
There are also laws and fines for not using Child Car Seats based on height, weight and age.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-18, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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DocTed, Dr.Dave, Hugh and wprager, Thanks for your information. I have found a wealth of information on the internet and I think it should be sufficient. In the end a call to the local police answered the question I have asked here. Other than following the car seat "type" recommendation there is no aspect of the law that deals with positioning. Government and advocacy groups make recommendations but they are not the law.

There are some instances where transporting 3 children occurs. Two in the back and 1 in the front. Or maybe one adult in the rear with a fussy infant and a child in the front.

By far the best source I found was the Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Seats Safety Regulations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (of which Quebec and Ontario Highway Safety acts and regs reference).

http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/reg...r-2010-90.html
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-18, 08:04 PM
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I don't understand MTO relying on age as the guideline. With an airbag it's all about height and weight.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-18, 11:25 PM
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Would going by the age/weight at which a child no longer requires a booster seat be the answer?

I know at some point air bags have been an issue for very short or light adults. I think i recall a story on a news program where an petite woman was having issues getting an air bag removed from her car as it was considered a hazardous safty device for her weight and height.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-19, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr weather View Post
I don't understand MTO relying on age as the guideline. With an airbag it's all about height and weight.
Is it though?
(mental)age is also an important factor..
You need to ensure the child understands not to lean over the air bag, to sit upright, and not have anything on their lap in between.
I'm sure there may be some very large and smart 8 year olds who listen to what parents say, but there will also be some large 8 year olds who do the exact opposite of what they're told. That makes it dangerous for them to be in an air bag zone, despite being tall enough and having enough mass to be considered 'safe' for air bag deployment.

At least by 12 the majority of children will be large enough and hopefully listen enough to ride in a safe manner
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-20, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by recneps77 View Post
...snip...

At least by 12 the majority of children will be large enough and hopefully listen enough to ride in a safe manner
Thanks for the laugh
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 2010-09-20, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recneps77 View Post
I'm sure there may be some very large and smart 8 year olds who listen to what parents say, but there will also be some large 8 year olds who do the exact opposite of what they're told.
Agreed. But I've known some adults do pretty stupid things too around airbags. The most common are the ones who like to relax by putting their feet up on the dashboard.

And when the airbag deploys and drives their pelvis into their abdomen, they'll be good and relaxed for a long time...

I guess government needs to set a number and 12 seems reasonable.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 2012-03-23, 01:42 PM
 
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In an older vehicle without airbags, what would be the safest option for transporting my 7 year old:

1) Booster seat in rear with only lap belt
2) Booster seat in front with shoulder + lap belt

TIA
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 2012-03-23, 03:02 PM
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I saw this chart:
http://www.safekidscanada.ca/profess...ationchart.pdf

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 2012-03-23, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Edvale that is an interesting dilemma. I would say the back seat in a booster. My 7 year old is 53 1/2".
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