Is it safe for my four-year-old niece to sit in the front seat of my car, where there is an airbag?

I'm a little confused by the information out there about whether a child can sit in the front seat of a car with an airbag. My niece is four. I have twin babies who go in the back in their car seats. My niece has a booster seat. Could she sit in the front seat of my car, which has an airbag? Could all three children go in the back? I only have a lap belt in the middle.

Asked on 30 July 2011 by LT, via email

Answered by Honest John
No problem. The airbag rule is for rear-facing baby carriers. If you sit a forward facing child in a front passenger seat (where legal) the airbag is more likely to save his life than cause him any harm at all. But wise to move the seat-back as far back from the airbag as you can. Some child seats require Isofix tethers. But a lap belt, or straps from the lap belt mounting are more effective in holding an ordinary child seat in place than a lap/diagonal inertia reel safety belt.
Similar questions
My daughter has a 2007 Mazda MX-5 and now has a 20-month-old son. She has been driving my Fiesta and I her MX5, but I need my car back. Should she keep the MX5 until he no longer needs a car seat? Garaging...
We have recently started a family and would like to buy a car where we have the ability to turn off the passenger air bag, but this seems to be a hit and miss. SEAT seem to be the only manufacturer who...
I own a Mercedes-Benz SL and when I needed a car seat for my grandson who is now eight years old, I was told by Mercedes I had to buy a seat to fit that also turned the airbag off automatically. The price...

Ask Honest John

Value my car