Front seat or back?

Where’s the safest place to carry children in your car?

You've bought the best child seat you can afford and you’re confident it can be fitted securely in the car, but where's the best place to put it?

  • Up-front with you where the child can see what's going on, or
  • Behind you in the back seat?

The most common crash involves an impact to the front of your car which means that the back seat is usually a safer place to travel. So, children are best carried in the rear.

Baby child seat front or back

The centre-rear seat is the safest place of all for a properly restrained child, because they’re furthest away from any impact and less likely to hit or be hit by deforming, intruding structures.

One adult, one child

If it's just you and one child in the car then you might like your child to ride up-front with you, properly restrained. The closer contact may be::

  • More reassuring for your child, and 
  • Less distracting for you

 And therefore help reduce the risk of an accident.


If your child’s still in a rear-facing seat, you’ll have to use it in the rear if the front passenger seat is protected by an airbag that can’t be switched off.

  • An active airbag will cause severe injury or death to a child lying with its head so close if it fires in an accident.


For a forward-facing restraint on the front passenger seat, check your car handbook for advice first.

If there’s no specific advice, then in general we’d recommend moving the car passenger seat well back on its runners to increase the distance between your child and the airbag.

8 February 2017

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