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When do/did you allow your kids to ride in the front seat?


Just Kate
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I'm actually surprised at the general consensus here...

 

I honestly can't see a strong reason to let them into the front seat - as far as I'm concerned, if the back is safer, then why not have them stay there until they are a year or two before learning to drive?   Which in this jurisdiction is a couple of years before 17.

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When they are as big as me which is 5'0 and at least 100 lbs which happened at age 12 for both. Our state allows learner permits at 14 years old and I feel they both need/needed time in the front to pay attention to their surroundings on the road. Kids in the back seat tune out and aren't generally aware of the traffic, roads, lights, etc.

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as a 5ft adult, any kid has to be taller than me by at minimum an inch, if not more to sit in the front seat. I am short enough that I could have my airbag disabled if I wanted to. So, at my height, not allowed for a kid.

 

My older son is almost 15 and he started sitting in the front seat recently, so late 14 years old? He is a head taller than me now...not very hard to do, lol.

 

And, as the mother of petite children, height and weight matter more than age.  If a guideline says 12, then my kid would have to be height and weight of the average 12 year old. If that didn't happen until age 14, so be it. My kids were in a 5pt harness at age 8 because they still fit the seat in both height and weight. My 10 year old is still in a booster because he still fits.  Ok..he won't fit for long, but he still fits so he is still in it. I don't really care what the state says is 'old enough' to be out of a car seat. it's the size of the kid that matters

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Not unti 15. Per the links in other threads, human bones aren't dense enough until then. The idea of my children's bones shattering inside of them from the air bag is enough to make me be the "mean mom" and have them stay in the back. My son will be 13 in September and he doesn't ride in the front though his friends do.

 

However, if I mention this to people in real life they just roll their eyes at me.

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In general, not until age 12 or 13. However, for a special road trip that (I'm assuming) is supposed to be a bonding experience, I'd let my 11 year old sit up front with his Dad. There's a big difference for a boy to be sitting up front with his Dad and having a conversation between the two of you, and having Dad talk to a kid in the backseat, you know? From my perspective it's a major difference in the "tone" of the relationship and the trip, and I'd allow it as long as they took other precautions like pushing the seat all the way back, etc. I'm all for doing what you can to increase safety, but this is a once in a lifetime, father-son bonding kind of thing, and for me personally that would take precedence. YMMV, of course.

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Age 13 AND the child has to weigh enough to trigger the air bag sensor (it automatically sets to "off" between 15-ish and... 100? lbs).  One of my dc is old enough but doesn't weigh enough to trigger the air bag sensor, thus is banished to the back seat.

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I don't want them in the front seat. They drive me crazy. I do let them, though, when we're transporting a friend and there's no more room in the back. I think I started at about 10 years old, but my oldest DS is tall for his age, so it works.

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In general, not until age 12 or 13. However, for a special road trip that (I'm assuming) is supposed to be a bonding experience, I'd let my 11 year old sit up front with his Dad. There's a big difference for a boy to be sitting up front with his Dad and having a conversation between the two of you, and having Dad talk to a kid in the backseat, you know? From my perspective it's a major difference in the "tone" of the relationship and the trip, and I'd allow it as long as they took other precautions like pushing the seat all the way back, etc. I'm all for doing what you can to increase safety, but this is a once in a lifetime, father-son bonding kind of thing, and for me personally that would take precedence. YMMV, of course.

 

:iagree:   Though I would probably let them work it out since it is their trip.

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Not unti 15. Per the links in other threads, human bones aren't dense enough until then. The idea of my children's bones shattering inside of them from the air bag is enough to make me be the "mean mom" and have them stay in the back. My son will be 13 in September and he doesn't ride in the front though his friends do.

 

However, if I mention this to people in real life they just roll their eyes at me.

This for us. In our case there is no reason to have anyone sit in the passenger seat, because everyone fits fine in the back two rows.

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Not unti 15. Per the links in other threads, human bones aren't dense enough until then. The idea of my children's bones shattering inside of them from the air bag is enough to make me be the "mean mom" and have them stay in the back. My son will be 13 in September and he doesn't ride in the front though his friends do.

 

However, if I mention this to people in real life they just roll their eyes at me.

:iagree:

 

And people roll their eyes at me, too.

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When they reach near adult size, so for mine around 10/11.  My mother is 4'11" and allowed to drive so I figure 4'9, 4'10 and 80 pounds.  Usually DS who is taller then me rides up front, only occasionally does 4'10 100 pound DD ride up front.  

 

Yes, but at her height the airbag is a danger to your mom. I am only 5ft and I have been told that I am short enough to ask to have my airbag turned off. I haven't because we only have one car and I am not the only one who drives it. But I do try to keep as far back as possible and I sit on cushion to lift me up higher. But, I know I am too close.

 

http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/alcohol/Archive/Archive/safesobr/12qp/airbag.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/11/07/garden/the-dangers-from-air-bags-and-ways-to-avoid-them.html

The link above is to an old article. Since then, it has become possible to get an airbag turned off.

 

People taller than 6'3" are also at risk.

 

So, if you insist on having a child, especially a short one sit in the front seat, at least have them push their seat back as far as possible.

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OP, any and all threads about car safety inevitably devolve into two different groups of homeschoolers.  Tiers, if you will.  They are as follows:

 

Tier 1: My child is old enough to drive the car himself but I make him ride in the back in a rear-facing, five point harness carseat.  We removed the rear window so he can hang his legs out and now he's perfectly comfortable, I swear.

 

Tier 2: Sometimes the car gets a little crowded, so as soon as my infant can sit independently I strap him to the top with a few bungie cords.  We have to stop every hour or so to squeegee the bugs off his face, but he really doesn't mind.  My parents made me run behind the car smoking a pack of Marlboros while I carried their beer when I was a kid.  Uphill.  Through the snow.  And I survived just fine.

 

As I fall into Tier 1.5- maybe 1.6- I would probably just let my kid ride in the front, though I have a newer car and I can turn off the passenger side airbag.  Given his size, if he was my kid I'd feel awful making him ride in the back for that long if it's just the two of them.

 

Are these my only two choices? :tongue_smilie:

 

I guess I'm a 1.5 - the perfect spot, of course :D I'm just balanced that way.

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The law in my state is 12.  I have been known to fudge things sometimes (like letting my 9 year old in the dog park when the minimum age is 10) but not when it comes to actual laws.  I feel especially strongly about laws around driving because I don't want my kids to think they are negotiable once they are driving themselves.

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I have made my kids wait until 12.  When DH pushed the issue because our DC are all so tall I explained that it's the development of the cervical spine, not their height/weight that I was worried about.   He took it really well then, and he's the only one who has to deal with it. 

 

If I'm driving the Suburban without DH than no one sits in the passenger seat.  I value my sanity and the argument just isn't worth it when they all have room in the back.  

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Since so many have mentioned the laws in their states, I went looking. There doesn't appear to be great information out there on actual laws. I kept seeing it mentioned in several places that for Florida it was 13, but that actually appears to only be a guideline (yet stated in several places as law). I think the only law here is that they have to be over 6 years old.

 

Does anyone have a link to something that shows the actual laws by state? I'm curious now.

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My oldest is 12, and much to her chagrin I still don't let her ride in the front. All of my children are fairly small--height and weight--so I am going by that somewhat. But I'm primarily taking into account bone/body development. I previously told our children they could ride up front when they turn 13 but I may make them wait longer.

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