How to Safely Put Car Seat in a Single Cab Truck: The Ultimate 2022 Guide

Although there's a common belief that you cannot really install car seats in trucks, it's not impossible.

However, the installation process might differ significantly due to the various types of trucks you own.

The crucial difference between installing a car seat in a single cab truck or a car is the tether. So, depending on the car seats and their design, you will encounter different procedures.

So, how to properly install a car seat in a single cab truck? Read below.


Child Seat Belt Laws & the Pickup Truck

In almost all US states, the National law states that a child must ride in the back vehicle seat, in child restraints - rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat, or a booster child seat.

However, you may encounter a problem with pickup tracks since not all of them have rear-facing car seats. Therefore, they are not convenient for a child's seat and maximum safety.

Of course, their child's safety is a top priority for all parents, and mistakes are not allowed.

So, here are a few tips & tricks on how to transport your child safely in pickup trucks:

1. Front Car Seat

car seat in a single cab truck

When installing a car seat in the front of your vehicle, make sure you disable the passenger airbags. This is crucial for your young child under two years of age.

So, if you use a rear-facing seat or a forward-facing seat, ensure the air bag system is off.

Many studies have shown that the air bag system can cause a serious injury and literally smash your child.

Don't forget that SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. claims that placing child seats in the front seat can increase the risk of death by 30% in a case of a car crash.

So, it might be better to follow the procedure and disable the passenger-side airbags.

2. Back Seat

If you have a child riding in the pickup truck, there must be a rear seat to attach your child's car seat or booster seat to.

Nowadays, various one-row trucks, extended cab trucks, pickup trucks, etc., have the LATCH installation system. So, you can easily install the age-appropriate car seat correctly.

However, if you own a smaller pickup, you will probably struggle with the car seat installation in your motor vehicle.

Many car seat manufacturers, CPSTs, and experts recommend that your car seat base must be 80%-100% in contact with the vehicle seat.

If, however, the car seat base crosses and hangs over the vehicle's back seat, then your car seat is not correctly installed in the back seat of the vehicle. Bear that in mind.

In addition, there is a high possibility that the child's seat (rear-facing seat) won't have a correct angle for the installation process in smaller cub trucks.

So, to avoid risks of accidents and severe injuries, the best solution would be to check the vehicle manual and the car seat instruction (owner's manual) and check what is right and what is wrong.

3. Side Seats

Side seats are considered the unsafest places to install car seats and let your child ride there, regardless of using a child's car seat or a vehicle's seat belt system.

Moreover, the side seats are not spacious enough to allow the child's seat to be placed and installed correctly.

So, in the case of a car crash, the children seated in the side seats will be injured not from the car collision but launched against the vehicle's interior.

Safety & Security Examinations

can a car seat ride in a single cab truck

Regardless of the motor vehicle you're using, it's crucial to remember that you must install the car seat properly so that it can fit your child's needs and growth.

Of course, if you're not sure how to properly install a car seat, whether it fits the vehicle's seat and right angles, and if the child overgrows it, you can always contact safety technicians to guide you through the process.

Also, you can take your car seats for regular checks and examinations to various hospitals, fire departments, and other car seat inspection centers to see if there are some irregularities.

You can find various options here.

Numerous Types of Truck Cabs

As you will notice, there are various cab types, so according to your needs, you can select the right ones:

  • Single cab truck: This type contains a single row seating and a single set of doors at each vehicle's side.
  • Extended cab truck: Extended cab trucks also contain a single row seating with a small space behind it, for usually one or two small seats.
  • Crew truck cabs: Crew cab trucks have two rows of seating with four doors in total. Therefore, they're similar to typical cars. However, each of these truck cabs will have different methods of installing car seats.

Is It Legal and Safe to Install Car Seats in Single Cab Trucks?

can a car seat be in a single cab truck

Reading legal issues, the correct answer is YES, it is legal to install car seats in cab trucks. However, you will have to follow the safety procedure to complete the process.

Firstly, your MV's seat must support 85% of the car seat base you're installing.

When you're setting up forward-facing car seats, then the truck should have a place for the top tether. The top tether is fundamental since it reduces the distance for the child's head excursion. So, the head will not travel, as the top tether will reduce the space by more than six inches.

Reading a rear-facing seat, you need to fulfill some extra safety steps. Thus, you must never install a rear seat with an active passenger airbag system in the front seat.

So, if you want to obtain or already own a truck with a low seating row, pay attention when installing rear-facing seats.

As you can find various trucks with active airbag systems and low seating options, think twice before your final decision.

Tether Anchor Points in the Truck

If you're not confident where the tether anchor is located in your truck, look for it in the vehicle manual.

Still, all vehicles produced after 2001 will have the tether anchor located somewhere behind the back seat cushion.

Thus, you will find various installation positions:

1. Behind the Seat Anchors

Numerous trucks have their tether anchors behind the rear seat. This way, you need to fold the seat down and reach the tether anchors.

Although the installation process might take your time, you undoubtedly want maximum security and stability for your child, so make sure you set up the seat correctly and find the proper tether anchor.

2. Webbing Loops

You can find the webbing loops behind the seat's headrest.

To install your car seat using this device, you will have to pull the seat tether through the seat loop behind the headrest and attach the tether anchor to the webbing loop behind the middle seat's headrest.

3. Behind the Seat Loops

can car seat go in single cab truck

Since these loops differ from the ones in the particular vehicle you're using, you need to check the vehicle's manual to follow the safety procedure and correctly place the child restraint system.

In most cases, the car seat tether will be pulled through a webbing loop and then attached to a seat loop directly behind the vehicle seat and connected to the circle behind the center seat or the adjacent outboard position.

The middle seat might be more shallow than the outboard seats, so check that the system fits the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

After you've attached the seat to your vehicle, the remaining setup process is quite similar to installation in every other car.

However, if you're not confident when placing the seat, you can consult CPSTs. Find reliable experts here

Law and Regulations Regarding Car Seats and Trucks

Even though the rear seat seems to be the safest option for your child, not all parents have that option.

According to the National law, if you must install the child restraint system in the front seat, you must ensure the proper seat fit and make the passenger airbag in the off position.

So, below you can find various car seat laws regarding Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and Texas.

Arizona Car Seat Laws

can a child ride in a car seat in a single cab truck

As the law states, all children under eight years of age must use a proper seat. For children under the age of three, the recommended seats are rear-facing.

The law claims that children must ride in the back seat.

However, there is nothing wrong if they ride in the front, as long as the passenger seat fits them and the active airbag system is OFF.

Florida Car Seat Laws

Regarding Florida, it's a fundamental rule that children under five must be restrained in the harness car seat, following their growth and development.

All children under twelve should be in rear seats, but if your trucks don't have these seats, children can sit in the front of the middle seat if you turn off the airbag system.

Indiana Car Seat Laws

According to Indiana authorities, all children under sixteen must be adequately restrained in vehicles. In addition, all kids under the age of eight must be in the rear, forward-facing, or booster seats.

Regarding the single cab truck, the rule is the same - turn the airbag OFF.

Texas Car Seat Laws

Concerning this state, there isn't a precise regulation on where the children should sit. But, when in Texas, make sure your kiddos use proper seats and turn off the airbags.


You can find the laws for all US states on the following link.


Can you put a baby in a car seat in a single cab truck?

Yes, you can. However, experts and manufacturers do not recommend it since keeping your children in the back seat is better.

But you can as long as the airbags are off.

Can you put a carseat in a two-door truck?

Yes, you can install it in the front as long as you don't activate the airbags.

Can you put a carseat in a single cab truck in California?

can you put an infant car seat in a single cab truck

Yes, you can, if you don't have a back seat, so it's legal to do so.

At what age can a child sit in the front seat?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children under the age of thirteen need to be restrained in the back seat, with a proper head restraint, shoulder belt, lap belt, etc.

Of course, they need to use appropriate car seats if they're younger.

Final Words

I hope the article helped you find the necessary info about installing the seats in the trucks so that you can do it properly. However, if you're not confident, please, contact the CPSTs to help you.

However, you may find that your vehicle's manual doesn't permit seat installation, so you must choose some other transport vehicle. You will avoid fines, severe injuries, and fatal outcomes.

Make sure the airbags are off, and the seat is thoroughly examined and installed to travel without worries.

Avatar of Kathy Warner

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

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