Is It Safe for Two Kids to Share a Seat Belt?

Seat belts are designed to safely secure one passenger in the event of an accident. Sharing seat belts is not an appropriate practice to keep children safe in a car.

It should be noted that all states and the District of Columbia have child passenger laws requiring children to be properly secured in either child safety restraints or seat belts while in a motor vehicle. Laws detail what types of child safety restraints are required depending on a child’s age, weight, and height. Most states allow children to use adult seat belts once they reach a certain age or at least 57 inches in height. Ages can range from 5 to 9 for children to use a seat belt without a car seat or booster seat.1

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Never Buckle Two Children with One Safety Belt

Taking those laws into consideration, buckling two children into a seat belt may be not only unsafe but illegal as well. Even if the children in question are old enough to be buckled in to an adult seat belt, the safety issues with having two children secured by one belt are potentially catastrophic.

Depending on the ages of the children and the availability of adult supervision, making two trips where all children can be properly and safely restrained is preferable to doubling up. Finding another adult who can drive some of the children is another responsible way to address having more kids than seat belts.

Proper—Individual—Restraints Are the Safest Option

The best way to keep children safe in a car is to have them properly restrained. Sharing seat belts is not a proper way to restrain a child, and it can lead to additional injuries if the car is involved in an accident. Plan ahead and avoid situations where doubling up becomes an option for consideration.

Shortcuts simply aren’t acceptable when it comes to safety. Stay up-to-date on the most current safety products and technology to keep your family safe on the road and at home. And check out our top auto safety tips for safe driving no matter where you go.

Related articles on SafeWise

Source

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, “Safety Belt Laws,” September 2021. Accessed October 21, 2021.

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Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help people find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She continues to report on local news as a volunteer with the community paper. For the last six years, she’s led a Girl Scout troop, teaching girls about safety and preparing for whatever life throws their way.

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