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When Do You Let Your Kids Sit up Front?

I'm starting to see my daughter's (8) friends riding in the front seat all the time with their families. My daughter is about 4'10 and weighs about 70 pounds. So I'm not thinking she is big enough to sit up front. When did you let your kids sit up front for anything other than an emergency?

Added - I am in no rush, I thought it was a bit young and early, but I was wondering if I was a nut or the parents I see letting their kids sit up front. There are two vehicles I drive on a regular basis and both are large SUV's, so there are 6 seats to choose from in the back for each of my 3 kids...no need to sit up front. My 8 year old is no longer in a booster, but that's a new thing and the 6 and 4 year old are still. My daughter doesn't ask either, she more comments on how crazy it is that some of her friends do. And the air bags don't turn on in either SUV unless the weight is right, but still I'd rather hold off on moving any of them up front.

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My oldest is almost 12, and there is no good reason she needs to start riding in the front seat when it is clearly not as safe as the back seat. I see other kids her age in the front, but honestly, I do not care. Why risk it? Both my kids know it is non-negotiable, so they don't even ask.

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I don't. There is plenty of room in the back of the car. Wouldn't I feel AWFUL if we got in a car accident, the bag blows up and kills my kid when he would have been just fine in the back of the car. My kids don't get to annoy me into it. The answer is no is no is no is no.

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My daughter (7) does not even though she has seen a few of her friends do it. And my son (11) tries to occasionly and that is when I pull the visor down and ask him to read what it says. "The backseat is the safest place for children under 12". And he goes around and sits in the back.

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You aren't the nuts one. The front passenger seat is the most dangerous in the car. It's called the "death seat" for a reason. Most of the car accidents that happen, the front right seat is the one to get crushed.

My 14 year old son (5'5" and 120 pounds) only in the last year started sitting in the front seat. And that is VERY rarely. Not because he isn't "big" enough or "old" enough (I go by weight and height, NOT age), but because even I don't like sitting in the front passenger seat, knowing what I know about car wrecks.

Hold off moving them up front for as long as you can. It's a piece of mind like no other knowing that your child is safer.

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This is a very sore subject with me because I'm an insurance agent and know how many kids are in accidents and some fatal because of this very issue. In AZ it's "suggested" kids 12 and under are in the backseat only. Most kids by the time they are 12 are tall enough and weigh enough to be able to handle the airbag if it goes off. You know the saying "better safe than sorry"? Well this applies here and it could be a fatal mistake. Good luck.

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I am sorry but people who disregard the guidelines and let their 8 yos sit in the front are irresponsible morons-plain an simple. Why would you EVER risk your child for ANYTHING?? ESPECIALLY them begging to sit up there. Who is in charge anyhow? These parents are most likely going to let their kids drink at 18 yo because the 'want' to. And the thing about sitting in the front is the airbags! If for any reason they should go off and there is a person sitting there who is not big enough to abosrb their blow the result could be deadly. Besides that it is much safer to sit in the back seat-for everyone!

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I don't. There is plenty of room in the back of the car. Wouldn't I feel AWFUL if we got in a car accident, the bag blows up and kills my kid when he would have been just fine in the back of the car. My kids don't get to annoy me into it. The answer is no is no is no is no.

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My oldest is almost 12, and there is no good reason she needs to start riding in the front seat when it is clearly not as safe as the back seat. I see other kids her age in the front, but honestly, I do not care. Why risk it? Both my kids know it is non-negotiable, so they don't even ask.

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Well most 8yr olds still need a booster seat, so no they shouldn't be in the front seat at all. My son is 9yrs old, 80lbs and 4'6" and he still sits in the back seat in a booster.

The lap belt does NOT fit children, usually won't until around age 13 when the hip bones are more squared off and can hold the belt down. Little kids have rounded hip bones, the lap belt should be down on the hips, not up on the belly. i'm willing to bet the people who let their 8yr olds ridei n the front have ne ver heard of seatbelt syndrome, nor do they know (or maybe don't care) that the only thing stopping a lap belt from cutting their kid in half is the spine when its too high up on the belly.

Please, if your child is out of a booster, leave them in the back seat. Make sure your child passes the '5 step' test to be out of a booster. If you answer no to even ONE of these your child still needs a booster
1. does the shoulder belt sit across the chest and lay on the shoulder?
2. Does your childs knees bend at the edge of the seat?
3. does your childs back all the way back against the seat
4. feet flat on the floor
5. lap belt low on the hips, NOT up on the belly.

Again if you say no t oeven ONE of these, get your child back in a booster.

Here are some video's of an airbag deploying. They deploy around 350mph, like a bullet coming out of a gun. I odn't think anyone wants their child in front of this, please use common sense. A child should be over the age of 13 before sitting in the front seat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Av0WGrlTGY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2fAgW_1nD0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1o8WGB1I9Q&feature=re...

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My son (8) is about the same height and weight as your daughter, he rides up front sometimes, usually if there is no room in the back, or if we ride in the truck. He no longer has a booster seat, and I would let him ride up front more, but he is very distracting!

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You are definitely not a nut! There's no argument that the back is the safest place, so why rush things? Especially if your daugher's not asking to move up front. My son is 13 and still shows no interest in sitting up front, so I haven't mentioned it. I'm thankful that he's content back there. But my 10 yr old daughter is a different story ... she sees it as 'cool' and can't wait to move up front. I think she just wants control of the radio and other 'fun' buttons up front, so that scares me even more (distraction)! So I've made it clear that she's not allowed to ride up front until she's of age and size. Honestly though ... I don't know what the legal requirements are for MD! (shhh) But I'm certainly not letting her sit up there until she's at least 13 yrs and 80 pounds (maybe even later!). That's just my rule for my family :-)

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Safe Kids USA's policy is that all passengers - but especially children under age 13 - should ride in a back seat with properly fitted restraints appropriate for their weight and height.

I let my 8 yo ride in the front seat for short trips, not on busy roads, highways, etc.....

But the "laws" are very vague. It's "legal" but not "optimal" to have them sit in the front once they've outgrown their boosters.

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I don't remember what the age is... they keep changing the law. It's always ALWAYS safer for a child to ride in the backseat, that much I do know. Look into your local DMV website; they should have it on there somewhere.

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My daughter (7) does not even though she has seen a few of her friends do it. And my son (11) tries to occasionly and that is when I pull the visor down and ask him to read what it says. "The backseat is the safest place for children under 12". And he goes around and sits in the back.

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I just read the brochure by CHOP (Children's Hospital of Pa) and the research said age 13. that surprised me because my older kids were small at age 13 and you would think it would go by size more than age, but also some research said something about the body changing as it goes thru puberty, muscle mass etc The brochure is interesting and contains data about fatalities due to kids under 13 sitting up front

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My kids are 6 and 7 - so not yet. I will keep them in the back as long as possible. It is safer in back, so why move them to the front? Don't worry about what other moms are doing. Good luck!

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Around here it's based not only on size but age. It's a law that a child 13 and older who is also more than 4'9" (57 inches) tall may sit in the front passenger seat of the car with an adult seatbelt.

Between the ages of 8-12 and less than 57 inches may use an adult seatbelt but must sit in the back seat.

I see that you're in Maryland, so if your profile is accurate this is what your state laws say:

http://fha.maryland.gov/ohpetup/kiss/mdlaw.cfm

"Does Maryland Law prohibit children from riding in the front seat?

Maryland’s child passenger safety laws do not prohibit children from riding in the front seat. The exception is placing a rear-facing child in the front seat with an active air bag. If a driver is unable to turn off an air bag, it is a violation of law (as well as a terrible danger to the baby!) to place a rear-facing child in the front seat.

**Please note: KISS and other child passenger safety experts strongly recommended all children under age 13 ride in the back seat. Research conducted and published in a report by Partners for Child Passenger Safety clearly shows that children are 40% less likely to be seriously injured when properly restrained in the back seat. For more information on safe seating positions, click here to view the report. "

That really shocks me, to be honest. It sounds like Maryland is behind the times in regard to child car safety issues.

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My kids are older, so the laws were different back then..

But.... there was always an argument on who got to sit up there... ("My turn! You got to sit there last time!") so I made it "by invitation only" ..... it was much safer in the back, and was just better all around if they all sat in the back.

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When they weigh as much and are as tall as an adult.
This will vary a lot age wise because kids grow at different rates.
My son is 12 1/2 and 5'6" and he just started sitting up front this year.
He's already eye-ing up the car keys but he knows he can't get a learners permit till 15 1/2.

I will join the group of morons. . . my 8 yo sits in front with the seat all the way back. I know the recommendation is 13 yo and I do know it is due to the air bags(though my husband will not believe this - lol!). Not optimal and I am not 100% comfortable with it. but my 4 yo kept reaching over and unclicking his brother's seat belt. ALSO unsafe!! Yes, I explained to 4 yo it is unsafe, yes, he got a "pull to the edge of the road pop on the bottom" yes, he had to go back to his 5-point and guess what - he still unclicked his brother's seat belt (over, and over and over and over. . . .)

So now on key occassions, not because my child asked, I allow him to sit in the front seat because it is safer, in my mind for this instance.

I am sure there will be a time in the near future where this clicking fascination will end and both boys will go back to the back:)

I let my 8yo ride up front with me all the time. He was also 5' tall and 85 pounds. We also have 2 cars. One a SMALL car, with adjustable belts that would have the belt under his armpit at it's lowest setting so we keep it somewhere in the middle, and one that's a jeep wrangler (non adjustable belt) that had the belt 'perfect' from the time he was 7yo. In my mom's car at 5' tall he'd STILL be sliding around, because the seats are ginourmous. So he doesn't ride up front in that car.

I let him ride up front with me many times before that, starting as a toddler in a convertible car seat that popped his head up to even with MINE (and I'm 6' tall) because it was the safest thing to do or the only thing to do (equipment in the back seat, or no back seat). I just put his carseat up front which brought him to the appropriate height.

((Our state has a line in the law which states children need to be in the back "whenever practical". It's not practical if there is no back seat, or if there is dangerous equipment in the back seat, or if there is anything wrong with the seatbelts, or if you are transporting more children than there are backseats))

LOL... I was pulled over twice (seat related). Once by a rookie when I had no backseat (Poor guy was really embarrassed. "Sir? Where do you suggest I put him?" glancing back into the bed of the truck. His training officer didn't do a great job of concealing his laughter as coughs)... and once when I had my infant in a forward facing seat in the backseat. I had a note ("common sense exemption") pinned to the seat by the local seat inspector at the fire department. My son was too big to be rear facing, even though he was only 7 or 8 months old when I was pulled over. We had the biggest infant seat at the time, and he was over both the height and weight for it, so the fire department gave us the written pass to have him forward facing even though it was technically against the law.

For me, I've learned to follow 'common sense' ever since I had my baby in a seat that would have snapped his spine had we been in an accident. (oy!) In fact, I got chewed out by the fire department for having him in that seat, even though it was the largest on the market. "You need to listen to the SPIRT of the law, young woman, not the letter."

Okay. Duely received.

I'm reading all these responses of people saying they won't let their kids sit up front until they are 13 or 14....WHAT? They will be DRIVING at 15 (with a permit) and be driving the car without a parent or anyone at 16. Don't you think they should have more than a year or two of watching a driver drive before they drive themselves? My kids are little so this isn't a concern yet... I'm just astonished to see parents would have their children practically go from back seat to drivers seat.... I think it's important for a child to sit in the front seat and see the way people drive... to see their parents get cut off, to see people speeding, watch traffic signs... etc. In the back seat they don't even notice the road. Driving is not just about operating a vehicle--- the more familiar you are with the roads and the way other people drive, the safer you will be....

There is "no law" that requires a child to be of a certain age or a height in VA...however, I would ensure that my child is at least 5' tall and weighs at least 80#s - so God forbid there an accident - they won't get killed by the air bag deploying..

Updated

There is "no law" that requires a child to be of a certain age or a height in VA...however, I would ensure that my child is at least 5' tall and weighs at least 80#s - so God forbid there an accident - they won't get killed by the air bag deploying..

My oldest has been sitting up front since he was 11. He was 100 pounds and 5 ft. I figure he is as big as some adults. My 8 year old is almost 5 ft and 100 pounds. I might let her sit up front. I guess it should really go by height and weight. I know adults that are smaller than average and no one tells them they cant sit up front.

When I got sick of saying no. :p Seriously 8 or 9 for my son, my daughter was 10. I know there are guidlines but it is more an issue of weight and size than age.

Pretty much if the sensor doesn't disengage the air bags they are big enough. Of course if you have the car that disengages the air bag it isn't really an issue anyway. :-/

In VA they recommend you be at least 4'9" and 90 pounds.

I used 100 pounds as a guideline.

When they're 12 or 5 ft tall and 100 lbs.

Call your local fire or police dept for the laws. Im not even sure what they are here. My oldest is 6 and shes tiny, I cannot imagine her sitting up front in two years.

No, but my daughter is only (almost) 22months so wouldn't happen period! Now if she was eight, I would still say no.

In Europe (specifically in Germany), the law is that kids 12 and under sit in the back seat. It is much safer there, and I plan to do the same with my kids, no matter what other people around here do!

My 8 year old rides in the front seat on "neighborhood" trips if we are going out of our neighborhood onto any major roads he rides in the back. He is nowhere near the size the of your eight year olds, He is maybe 41/2 feet tall and hasnt even hit 60 pounds yet. My front air bag does not turn on when he is in the seat because he doesnt weigh enough and the seat belts are adjustable. If we leave the neighborhood I stop so he can climb in back

Both of my kids WANT to sit up front (one is almost 13, one is 10). I began allowing my older one to sit up front when he was the only other person in the car with me, occasionally, when he was about 11 1/2. Until then, both kids were pretty much in the car with me at all times. My younger one STILL is not allowed to sit up front with me when it is just the two of us. It is just safer in the back. The "recommended" age is 12. If my child were heavier and taller than "average" that would factor in. But she is not, so I will probably wait until she is closer to 12.

Generally, I have tons of my own "stuff" (purse, kindle, tissue box, etc). in the front seat, so I don't like the hassle of moving it all into the floorboard- and then feet get put on it. So I prefer they sit in the back most of the time anyway.

But, when it is only me and my son (the 12 yr old), and he is in the right mood (where I can have some quality talk time with him) then I enjoy having him sit up front with me.

oh... and my 12 (almost 13) year old is 5'1" and 117 lbs. (midway through hitting puberty and his growth spurt!).

My neice (age 9) sat on a booster seat up until a year ago. I am not sure how tall she is nor her weight, but she's probably taller than half of her same-aged peers and she's not heavy in the least. She has NEVER sat up front.

My friend's daughter is 12. She rides up front all the time. And she weighs about 75 lbs, maybe 5 foot tall. Granted, there are 4 other kids in the back seat of the van, so for the 12 yr old to ride up front may be so the other kids have more foot room and not because she's "supposed" to ride up there.

Is your d asking to sit up front? Don't change your ways b/c of what everyone else is doing. There are laws about how tall/weight of the child. The AAP has just recently changed their "recommendation" as well, wanting the kids in the back seat even longer.

is MD Maryland? If so, here ya go: http://fha.maryland.gov/ohpetup/kiss/mdlaw.cfm

I don't have a child old enough to make a call on my own, but I am kinda weird about the front seat. I watched my friend's kids one weekend so I had 4 boys with me ages 10, 7, 5, and 3. I had the 3 year and 5 year old in boosters and the 7 year old in the middle (it has a shoulder strap) and the 10 year old rode up front. Their mom lets the 7 year old ride up front, but I was adamant that the largest child rides in the front. I don't know if I would have forced him to ride in the back or not if there had been room. I'm 5 ft tall and the 10 year old is as tall as me, so I felt comfortable letting him ride up front. I would like to keep my son in back as long as possible. Since he is an only child I still have his booster in the middle of the seat when there are no spare kids.

I liked what K.M. said about pulling down the visor when the kids argue about it. Good way to put your point w/out looking like the bad guy. I do have to say there are times I am truly appalled when I see little kids who don't look borderline in size riding up front. I think when they reach a certain size it's kinda a judgement call, but I also remember that vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in children.

Good question since it's a mixed topic with mixed ideas and I enjoyed hearing what other moms had to say about it. :-)

my neice was 4 without a carseat. she's 17 now though so that was a while ago. most of the people in my area that have older children, let their younger ones ride without a car seat at 4 and sit up front more often than not. my younger niece is 4 and she sits up front in her car seat. but her mom has 2 monsterly huge car seats in the back for 2 other kids. i've let my 4yo and 7yo sit up front very rarely, but only because my air bags don't turn on until it senses a certain weight. and not on highways either. i think it's what you feel comfortable with.

I think I've heard that the kids have to be 12 years old to sit up front. I could be wrong though, because they do seem to change it. I don't have to worry about it yet because my kids are only 4 and 6. I remember when I was a kid I was riding in the front seat when I was 5!

the recomendation is not before age 14 or 12 i can't remember which. my 6 year old is stillin a 5 point harness and has never sat upfront my 11 year old has sat up front when i was carrying more kids than would allow her a backseat or when i was hauling a van full for a yard sale. i wouldn't do it as a reward or for fun but if there was a need and she couldn't fit in the back then i'd say at her age those times would be the exception.

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