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SKL

Kids in the front seat of the car - what age?

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I don't think this is a law thing, but rather a guideline.  What age do you let your kids sit in the front seat of your car?  My kids and I have heard different viewpoints....

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Starting about age 12/13 my daughters were tall enough to sit up front.  However, I have a rule that if you are in the front, you can't be on you ipad or be reading a book.  So they still mostly sit in back and I'm the chauffeur (insert sad smiley here...)

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My DD 13 is one inch shorter than I am, and my DS 11 is my height.  So I figured if they were as tall as I (who is admittedly very short) am, they could sit in the front.  That's my arbitrary rule.

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It should be by height and weight as Melissa said, because of the airbag and so the seatbelt fits corrrectly. The back seat is generally safer, of course.

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47 minutes ago, SKL said:

I don't think this is a law thing, but rather a guideline.  What age do you let your kids sit in the front seat of your car?  My kids and I have heard different viewpoints....

 

According to my children EVERYONE is allowed to sit in the front seat EXCEPT THEM. This has been the case since approximately three years old.

My state guidance is up to 13 should be in the back seat, and the only reason it's not older is because the costs of forcing a high schooler to ride in the back seat, and disregard for the guidance in general if the law were too restrictive, would outweigh the benefits of lives saved by that guidance. However, back seat is safest because of bone density, maturity, and also, it's safest for everyone in most cases, but you need a driver.

@Karen A I love your rule. I'm totally stealing it.

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Thing is, our state used to say 10yo so I told my kids that ... then as my kids were nearing 10, the state guideline changed to 12yo so I told my kids that ... now the guidelines are saying 13yo ... my kid has been looking forward to being able to sit in the front seat on her 12th birthday, and she's not open to any more bureaucratic delays, LOL.

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I did prepare my kid for age 12-13 to be restricted, e.g., no freeway driving, and it would only work if she was the only kid in the car, which is rare.

I think it's a bit silly that the rule changes even though I'm still driving the same car.

Maybe I should just turn off the air bag, however that's done ....

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My 11 year old is adult-sized (She'll be 12 in a month). I let her sit up front when we've got an extra kid riding with us and there's not enough room in the back seat. (So...1-2x a month.) 

 

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The guideline here is 12.  It is not law.

I have had kids in the front seat as young as 8 when the car was full (city streets as low speeds).   biggest kid goes in the front with the seat pushed as far back as possible.

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My son didn't until he was 13+.  He was tiny for a long time.  My daughter really started to get tall and more adult sized at 12, so she was allowed the front seat sooner.  

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My youngest (by 3 months) is two or three inches taller than my eldest.  Putting the tallest in front is definitely not going to fly here, LOL.

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

Thing is, our state used to say 10yo so I told my kids that ... then as my kids were nearing 10, the state guideline changed to 12yo so I told my kids that ... now the guidelines are saying 13yo ... my kid has been looking forward to being able to sit in the front seat on her 12th birthday, and she's not open to any more bureaucratic delays, LOL.

The back is safer, so I would try not to make riding up front seem like the grass is greener type thing. I just signed up for a car seat tech class so I'm kinda a nerd and stickler about these things.

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1 minute ago, heartlikealion said:

The back is safer, so I would try not to make riding up front seem like the grass is greener type thing. I just signed up for a car seat tech class so I'm kinda a nerd and stickler about these things.

I know, but they get their own ideas about things.  It is true that most of her friends routinely sit in the front - I have seen them.  Obviously if they were going to jump off a bridge bla bla bla ... but really ... same car, different rule every other year.  Next year will they be saying 15yo?

At some point they need to be allowed in the front since they are eventually going to start driving.

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

I know, but they get their own ideas about things.  It is true that most of her friends routinely sit in the front - I have seen them.  Obviously if they were going to jump off a bridge bla bla bla ... but really ... same car, different rule every other year.  Next year will they be saying 15yo?

At some point they need to be allowed in the front since they are eventually going to start driving.

they shouldn't be driving til 15 (earliest), so I think 13 is not that unreasonable/close to driving age.
As for the bolded, teach them. Learn about it yourself and teach them. My son knows it's safer for him in the back. It's safer for him to continue using a booster. He'll turn 10 this month and uses a HBB despite being tall (he actually dislikes the nbb style). We are both fully aware that other kids his age do different things, like not use a booster or possibly ride without a seatbelt at all, etc. I don't let him ride with other people usually. If I do, he takes a booster. I am constantly justifying myself to others. My kids will grow up understanding the safety concerns (like littles not having a fully developed spine) and hopefully not succumb to peer pressure later about doing unsafe things.

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I let my 9yr ride in the front for most around town driving.  Not generally on the freeway.  The airbag in the van is already off...was when we bought it.  I minimize our risks in other ways by just not driving much, not driving at night, driving at posted speed limits its.  

You may all gasp and throw flames and tomatoes now lol

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My 12 year old is taller than many adults, including me.  He usually rides in the back, but if I have to put a child in the front, he is the one I choose. 

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Well ... my kids were happily compliant at 10yo also.  They will be in 7th grade when they turn 12 and are well into puberty.  One of them is as tall as many adults.  I can't find statistics that tell how 12yo is different from 13yo as far as this goes.  I would really like to see something more specific than "kids 12 and under bla bla bla" as that includes toddlers etc.  It also includes kids who are not wearing seat belts (as is the case in the linked video).  I wish I could see the actual incremental risk between a 12yo girl, in a seatbelt, sitting in the front seat versus the back seat.

Mostly I am annoyed that they keep changing the guideline.  I have educated my kids for years about the front seat age limit, but I have lost credibility since they have moved the age at least 2x over a few years.

Anyway, lucky for me I have 2 kids and I can say they need to sit together back there so I don't have to hear any fusses about whose turn it is to sit up front.

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If I am remembering correctly (it's been a few years), the CDC recommendation is 13 years old and at least 4'9" tall.

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Just now, Joyofsixreboot said:

I go by height. My 10 is 5'6". I let her sit in front.

She is 4.5 inches taller than me

Just now, Selkie said:

If I am remembering correctly (it's been a few years), the CDC recommendation is 13 years old and at least 4'9" tall.

A few of the people I graduated high school with hadn’t even reached 4’9” by high school graduation. 

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Our state law is 8 yrs old or 57 inches tall.

I let my ds start riding in the front set when he was 6. That was the law at the time and, honestly, I stuck with it after the law was changed a few months later. 

I wouldnt tell others to do the same. It just worked for us.

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In california I have seen 2nd graders ride in the front seat of the car. So, I checked the DMV manual and it said 8 years or older can ride in the front seat. I do not let my DS ride on the front seat still and he is older than 8 and surpassed the height requirement a few years ago.

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My rule is 12 years old and 5 feet tall. My youngest has pretty much stopped growing; she will be 12 this summer and was worried for a while that she would never reach 5 feet.... but she did, barely. 

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In general I choose to assume laws are lax regarding safety/bare minimum so I don't put too much stock in them. I don't know if there's a significant difference in bone development (spine or whatever) between 12 and 13. I can possibly get some info on that. 

You can't always base things on height/weight either because you have to consider maturity. Also the 5 step test. If they didn't pass the 5 step test for the backseat, they sure as heck don't need to be in the front. And before anyone says it, the 5 step test doesn't apply to adults because our spines are more developed (ie. "well I can drive but I'm short"). Of course, that's my opinion. Each parent has to make that decision. 

https://csftl.org/the-five-step-test/

As for the 12 vs 13, well, the best I found out (from my car seat tech friend) is that air bag manufacturers say 13. That's probably why they updated the law from 12 to 13. 

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My oldest started riding up front at 11 years old. She was 4'11" and about 90 pounds. She was on crutches and the front was easier to get her in and out of the car. I have 3 kids so they sit 3 across in the back seat which was difficult with her knee.  Middle got to sit up front at 11 1/2. She was 5' and 85 pounds. Youngest might not ever reach 4'9" or get anywhere near 100 pounds. She's 11 and still in a booster. At the rate she's growing (or not as the case may be), she will go from the backseat booster to driving in one swoop. I actually liked having them up front for a couple/few years before driving because I started to point out how to react to things, where things are located, etc. 

Editing to add: there is no law beyond 8 years old/booster in my state.

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We did 13 because of the law, but I know a lot of people who didn't wait that long.

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DS is 11 and he’s still in the back.  I left it up to his pediatrician, who happily gave his  “not yet” diagnosis, saying his 13 and 14 y.o. were still in the back.  DS was bummed but accepted the doctor’s decision.  I didn’t have to be the bad guy.  

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We mostly take the bus or walk, but when we do take a car I didn't let the kids ride in front until 12. (And even then, it rarely happens - if we take a car it's usually car service, and everybody sits in the back unless we have more people than seats.)

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minimum 5' tall and 100lbs.   that's a safety thing due to airbags.  even then - i prefer bigger.

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I went with 11. My older dd was adult-sized at 11. I don't remember that being way below the age recommendation at the time--maybe 12 was recommended? We do mostly in-town, lower-speed driving. Front seat is certainly easiest for dropping kids off for activities.

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Hmm, now that I think about it, with advancing puberty, maybe my kids won't want to sit that close to me anyway ... if today is any indication LOL....

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As long as I can hold them off. The front passenger seat is for my purse and my spouse. I like to keep all of the kiddy jibber jabber as far away as possible. That said, DD sits there when every other seat is occupied by younger people.

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12 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

The front passenger seat is for my purse and my spouse. 

I hadn’t thought about this aspect until you posted, but yes!  I actually get annoyed when my husband is a front seat passenger and I can’t put my purse on the seat.  LOL  Putting it in the backseat is so inconvenient.

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Dd started sitting in the front when she was almost 14. DS is 12.5 and just started sitting in the front sometimes. 

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Mine started sitting in the front around 10/11. They were both taller than me by then and I'm 5'4".  

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When there is nowhere else to sit.  Ds11 is nearly as tall as me.  I managed to keep him in a booster seat older than the legal 7 but at about 8 he was too tall for his backed booster and too heavy and wide for the half boosters I could find.  Ds9 is still in a backed booster and if he has to sit in front he uses tbat there too.

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Honestly, I let them starting around age 10 or 11 whenever we had a packed car. It's only been after about age 13.5 that they've been routinely riding in the front seat though. At this point, they're tall enough.

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I think figure size is another factor. Tall doesn’t mean you can handle an air bag. Not that I ride in the backseat, just thinking about young bodies, not fully grown. 

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What do you mean by figure size?

What about old people, and otherwise fragile people? 

Pubescent kids are pretty tough by most measures.

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18 minutes ago, SKL said:

What do you mean by figure size?

What about old people, and otherwise fragile people? 

Pubescent kids are pretty tough by most measures.

I know when we’ve had this discussion in the past that someone posted an article about some bone maturity that happens around 13/14 years that makes it a little safer regardless of size.  

My dd isn’t 5’, she’s never going to be 5’ tall but she sits in the front now with the seat as far back as it can go. 

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Found this article that says the safety of a kid age 9-12 is about the same sitting in the front with a seat belt & air bag as sitting in the back.

The main risk seems to be sitting in the front without a seat belt.

Most of the data I could find is 10+ years old and shows that there was a peak of child deaths in the 1990s which went way way down.  The number of kids killed or injured while wearing a seat belt in front of an air bag was extremely small even 10 years ago.

Still looking for more specific info for kids above 10yo.

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Please read this and/or watch the video.

https://saferide4kids.com/blog/keep-kids-in-the-back-seat/

Common sense will tell you that if most accidents affect the front seat then the back seat takes less impact and thus is safer (usually). That thing you read sounds very misleading IMO. And to be honest I’m confused what you want... permission/blessings to put your kids up front? Or facts about where is safest. 

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