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29 Jun 2020

Can My Child Sit in the Front Seat?

Our favourates . Written by Parent Village

One of the most popular questions parents ask is “can my child sit in the front seat”, so let’s settle this... once and for all.


By law, children may sit in the front seat from 8years, and only if a seat-belt is worn. Before 8, they are only allowed in the front seat if no rear seats are available, either due to the style of car, or because other, younger, children are already occupying rear seats. However, experts are clear that it is always safer for children to sit in the back seat, and a size appropriate child restraint should be used until age 11, or until the child is at least 148cm tall.

What the NZ Law Says

The law is clear on child restraints, but a little vague on sitting in the front seat.

Ages 6 and Under

All children under 7 must travel in an approved* child restraint, with very few exceptions (Such as public transport).

Age 7

7 year olds must use an approved* child restraint if available, or else be secured by a safety belt.

Ages 8-14

Must use a safety belt if available, or else sit in the back seat.


What the experts say

Experts agree that all children under 148cm should be secured in a size appropriate child restraint. They also recomment that children remain rare facing until as long as practicable, or at least 2years of age. Furthermore, it is always safer for children to sit in the back seat. The research is clear, certified* rear facing child restraints, secured in the back seat, is the safest place for your child in the event of a crash.

For quality guidance on which seat to purchase, and for help with securing the seat to your vehicle, contact a Certified Child Restraint Technitian.


*Approved Child Restraints

Not all child restraints are created equal, and quality restraints do save children’s lives. Ensure your child-restraint is certified for use in NZ, and installed correctly.

For more information, visit



Author: Parent Village aims to provide relevant, useful, and research based information to support parents in making the best decisions for their tamariki.