What Is the Age a Child Needs to Be to Ride in the Front Seat?

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The age a child needs to be to ride in the front seat legally varies from state to state, explains the Governors Highway Safety Association. Children ages 12 years and under need to ride in the back seat of a motor vehicle, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children in a motor vehicle are most safe when properly buckled in the back seat, states the CDC. Older children may need booster seats to wear adult seat belts properly, since the belts are designed to fit people who are at least 57 inches tall. As of June 2015, 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico mandate use of booster seats or other devices for children who are too small to use an adult seat belt properly, notes the Governors Highway Safety Association. Florida and South Dakota do not have booster seat laws.