Back in the day, you could see kids riding shotgun in cars all the time. No seatbelt, no booster seat, heck you might've even found them sitting in mom or dad's lap while they drove. In 2023, things are a bit different. Now there are all kinds of suggestions on how old, how tall, and how much a kid can weigh before riding in the front seat. Some states have even created certain laws on when kids are allowed up front.

What are the rules here in Iowa? Are there any?

Unsplash - Alvin Mahmudov
Unsplash - Alvin Mahmudov

Iowa Front Seat Law

Children riding in the front seat in Iowa is actually pretty straightforward. According to Iowa Code 321.446 - Child Restraint Devices

  • Infants under 1-year-old and under 20 pounds must be in an infant rear-facing car seat
  • Children under 6 years old but older than 1 and over 20 pounds must still use a child restraining system in the form of a front-facing car seat or a booster seat
  • Children ages 6 to 18 must use booster seats or seat belts

According to Driving Geeks, there isn't anything against the law about children riding in the front seat, at any age, as long as they are properly restrained in a car seat or booster seat.

Now, is this the smartest or safest place for a kid to be in a car? No. Driving Geeks recommends that children should remain in the backseat until they are at least 13 years of age. Even if your child turns 13, that doesn't necessarily mean it's completely safe to be upfront.

Your child may be 13 and under the height of 4'9. This height is when a person/child is tall enough to properly fit in a standard seatbelt.

There are a few reasons why the backseat is the safest place to put your child when riding in the car. The number 1 reason is because of head-on collisions. These types of car accidents are the deadliest types of car crashes, according to Driving Geeks.

The second reason is that safety devices installed to protect passengers are designed for adults. If an airbag deploys and hits your child, it's possible the airbag will do more harm to them than the accident itself.

It's important to remember to always use your best judgment when deciding your child is old enough, tall enough, and big enough to ride up front in your car.

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