Can You Put A Carseat in The Front Seat of A Truck?
If you own a single cab truck and have children, you are probably curious to know if you can legally use a car seat in 2023. Most people assume that this isn’t possible, but there are ways that you can install them safely and following Michigan laws.
The United States Department of Transportation states that you can legally put in a car seat in the front of truck that has only a single cab. You can by law put a car seat in the front of a single cab truck as long as the width of the back seat or bench can support 85% of the child safety seat. While federal law doesn’t dictate whether the seat be facing forward or backwards, Michigan law is a bit more restrictive.
Michigan car seat laws state that the child can only be in the front seat of the truck if it’s a single cab vehicle or if all the rear seats are being occupied. If you must use the front seat, the airbag MUST BE DEACTIVATED. This is crucial as the airbag can serious injury or death to the child if you are in a vehicle accident.
Is It Legal To Put a Car Seat In a Single Cab Truck?
This depends on the state where the vehicle is driven. Is it not legal to place a child safety seat in the front of the vehicle if a rear seat is available in any state. The issue with trucks is that some are single cab and don’t have backseats and the seat belt is configured differently. For this reason, there are exceptions which will allow you to place the child seat in the front. Some of the most important factors when installing a car seat include:
The overall condition of the airbag
The purpose of using a car seat in the first place is to provide safety and protect your child in the even that you are in an accident. Airbags are also a very popular safety feature, but unfortunately they are designed to work with an adult and not a child. A child does not have the structural integrity to withstand the impact of an airbag deployment. If the airbag deploys while a child in the vehicle, rear-facing car seats can lead to serious injury and quite often a fatality.
This is why deactivating the car seat is crucial when placing a car seat in the front of a truck. A scary statistic is that in accident where child seats were in the front, only about 50% of airbags were shut off.
Some vehicle has an automatic shut off when a certain weight is on the seat and other vehicles you must remember to manually turn on the airbag. Make sure that you know with 100% certainty before you place a child in the front seat of any vehicle.
How big the seats are and how much space is available
Trucks come in all different shapes, sizes, and configurations. A truck with full size rear seats is the safest as you can simply put the car seat in the back and they fit accordingly without any issues. Trucks also come in both single cab and also half size. The half size is really where uncertainty starts to creep in. It is a 2 door vehicle but still has seats or a bench in the back that is smaller than usual.
As mentioned previously, the bench or seat of the truck must accommodate 85% of the car seat to be used safely. You will have to check your owner’s manual or vehicle specifications to ensure that you can legally use the back seat of a 2 door truck.
The vehicle make/year/model and Seat Belt
How you install the child carseat will depend on the vehicle make and model. If you have a forward facing car seat, yo will need to utilize a top tether anchor. Most of the newer models come with this top tether anchor installed, but there are many models that don’t and you will have to figure out a way to install it yourself. Please don’t skip this step as the safety of your child is at risk.
The installation features that come with the particular vehicle in question
You will need to fully know what seat belt features your vehicle is equipped with. Using a rear facing seat or forward facing car seats will depend on numerous factors. Car seat installation is the most important step and you need to ensure that your doing it correctly. A truck typically has one or more of the following options factory installed:
- A Top Tether Anchor
- Lap and Shoulder Belt
- Lower Anchor or LATCH System
If your vehicle does not have a top tether and you can’t find a way to install one, you will have to use a rear facing car seat as long as they not beyond the limit for rear-facing seats. Check with your vehicle manufacturer to make sure you use the correct seat.
Does the owner’s manual include any safety instructions?
The best way to ensure that you child is protected, is to read over the owner’s manual for your vehicle. It is the best resource for determining how to safely install a vehicle seat or passenger seat. Pay particular attention to the amount and types of seat belts as every model is different. If the area you are planning to place the car seat only has a lap belt, you should avoid that location. It should also tell you what to do about a booster seat.
Lastly and most importantly, the laws in the state that you are driving
The state of Michigan has laws that mimic the federal safety standards. If the vehicle has a back seat, you must use it for the child car seat. If other children occupy all the available seating in the backseat, you can then place the car seat in the front if and only if the front passenger airbag is deactivated. Once again, be absolutely certain that it is turned off. It is the matter of life and death!
What Are The Different Styles of Truck Cabs?
Truck manufacturers build pickup truck and cabs in all different sizes and styles to meet the varying needs of their customers. The purpose of the truck will determine what type the buyer wants. Here is a short list of the different style cabs that are available.
Regular Cab (AKA Single Cab Trucks) – This is a simple 2 door configuration. There is only one row of seating and there is no back seat. It gives the truck more bed space, but you give up seating space. This is typically best for towing and hauling.
Extended Cab – This is either a 2 door or 4 door truck with two rows of seats. The second row is usually smaller and much less legroom. You will need to look closely to determine if 85% on your child seat will fit in this space as not all extended cabs will fulfill this requirement.
Crew Cab (AKA SuperCrew or Double Cab) – The cab will be 4 doors and has much more rear seat room compared to an extended cab truck. This style of truck should have no problem accommodating a front facing car seat but you should still check with your owner’s manual.
Extended Crew Cab – This is essential a crew cab style but also has a longer bed.
Contact The Clark Law Office For Any Questions Related To Car Seats
Our attorneys have been specializing in car accident law in Michigan for over four decades. We know the laws regarding car seat safety and child seat belt laws. We can help you and your loved ones stay safe. Call us today at 517-347-6900 if you’ve been involved in an accident involving a child or simply have any questions! We offer free consultation and charge no fees unless you win your case!
Yes, children are allowed to legally ride in the front seat of a truck as long as all the safety precautions are taken. They need to be in the proper restraint and the front airbag should be deactivated. The best locations for a child seat is in the back seat furthest away from air bags. It the seat is in the front seat, the air bag can cause serious injury or death. Always deactivate the airbag if the front seat is the only option. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front. If you do, make 100% sure that the airbag will not deploy as it will cause serious injury or death.
Can You Put a Carseat In The Front Seat of A Truck In Michigan?
Where Do Put an Infant Car Seat in a Truck?
Is It OK To Put a Car Seat in Front?
Yes, children are allowed to legally ride in the front seat of a truck as long as all the safety precautions are taken. They need to be in the proper restraint and the front airbag should be deactivated.
The best locations for a child seat is in the back seat furthest away from air bags. It the seat is in the front seat, the air bag can cause serious injury or death. Always deactivate the airbag if the front seat is the only option.
Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front. If you do, make 100% sure that the airbag will not deploy as it will cause serious injury or death.
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