When Can My Kid Safely Ride in the Front Seat of the Car?
Most of the time the answer to this question is not until he or she reaches the age of 13. However, in some areas it’s as early as 12. There are even some organizations which recommend keeping your child in the back seat until they are driving them self.
What is the reason for this you may be wondering? The answer is simply that riding in the backseat is safer than the front for anyone of any age. Even after safely “graduating” from a seat belt positioning device, buckling a child into the back seat rather than the front reduces their risk of death in a collision by a third. Head on collisions are the most common and sitting in the back protects them from being thrown into the dash or windshield as well as protects them from objects intruding into the car.
Additionally, many cars have air bags in the front seat which when deployed can cause severe head and neck injuries to children. If for some reason, you MUST sit your child in the front seat, check and see if the air bag has an on-off switch that you can turn off. If you don’t have an on-off switch, have your largest and tallest child sit in the front and move the seat as far back from the dashboard as possible.
Remember, your children are your most precious possessions, responsibilities, loved ones, etc. Please don’t risk their safety to stop any “begging to sit in front” or to “give them a special treat”. We all grow up and get to sit in front soon enough. Patience is a virtue!
For more on how to ensure your child has a safe ride in the car, check out:
– Car Seat Confessions: Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know