Did Bluey’s mum break the road rules? Drivers are divided - SUV VEHICLE

Did Bluey’s mum break the road rules? Drivers are divided

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In the latest episode of the ABC Kids series, seven-year-old Bluey gets to ride in the front without a booster seat. So, could her mum Chilli face a fine?

The popularity of Aussie TV show Bluey shows no sign of slowing down, with the series’ latest episode – a 28-minute extravaganza called The Sign – pulling in more than two million viewers in Australia.

While viewers have strong opinions about the plot, one particular scene has generated discussion among drivers for its portrayal of the road rules.

RELATED: When can kids sit in the front seat in Australia?
RELATED: Someone spotted the car from Bluey in real life

The scene sees Bluey’s mum Chilli hit the road with four kids in the car to find Bluey’s godmother Frisky. Chilli puts the three youngest kids in the back seat, and pops seven-year-old Bluey in the front seat.

Chilli does a quick Google search to see if the seating arrangement is legal before quoting a Queensland road rule: “If all the seats are taken a child older than four can sit in the front seat”.

After the episode aired, Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads took to Facebook to fact-check Chilli’s statement, posting: “Chilli has three children in the back seat and seated her seven-year-old, Bluey, in the front seat. Can Chilli get fined for this? For real life?”.

When can a child sit in the front seat of the car?

It turns out Chilli was right – seven-year-olds can sit in the front seat of the car if all other seats are occupied by younger kids.

Officially, the Australian Road Rules state: “Children aged four to seven years can sit in the front seat if all other seats are occupied by children under seven years old”.

“However,” Queensland’s state road authority added, “We advise that children under 12 are always safest in the back seat.”

Bluey fans were split over whether putting a seven-year-old in the front seat was a good idea.

“No, but did she need to take all four kids on that trip? Probably not. Yes, it was a super cute episode, but I’d still choose to not drive unless it was an emergency/urgent trip,” one commenter wrote.

Another said, “This was one of the highlights of the episode for me! Good to know it’s actually true!”.

Does a seven-year-old need a car seat in Australia?

Comments on the Facebook post suggested not all drivers and parents agree on the ideal age for children to sit in the front seat.

“What happens when [your] seven-year-old is taller than a 12-year-old? Shouldn’t it be based on height and weight not age? As every child is different!” one person wrote.

Others had questions about whether children in the front seat still needed to sit in a booster seat.

“Wouldn’t Bluey be required to sit in a booster if under the age of seven?” one commenter queried.

Children between the ages of four and seven must be restrained in a booster seat with either a seatbelt or an in-built harness, but children seven or older can either sit in a booster seat or a regular seat with a seatbelt fastened.

Before you take your seven-year-old out of their booster seat, you should ensure they are over 145cm tall and you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:

  • Can they sit with their entire back against the seat back?
  • Do their knees comfortably bend over the seat edge?
  • Does the lap belt sit low across the hips and touch the thighs?
  • Does the shoulder sash of the seatbelt sit across the middle of the shoulder, not on the neck or across the arm?
  • Will the child stay in this seating position for the duration of the trip?

Can you put a booster seat in the front of a car?

While it’s legal to fit a booster seat in the front seat of a vehicle, this can be difficult as front seats are typically not equipped with the top-tether attachment point required to safely and legally install a child seat.

As such, “if the vehicle doesn’t have a top tether strap anchorage point to attach the top tether strap, children can use only untethered boosters” in the front seat, according to Raising Children.

Even then, booster seats can only be used when a standard three-point seatbelt is available, and booster seats heavier than 2kg must be anchored to a top-tether point.

Additionally, if the vehicle has a passenger airbag, children can sit in the front row only if they’re old enough to use a forward-facing car seat. You must not use a rear-facing car seat in the front row if there’s a passenger airbag.

The post Did Bluey’s mum break the road rules? Drivers are divided appeared first on Drive.

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