View Full Version : 11 y.o. wants to ride in front seat
01-10-2012, 05:21 PM
My oldest has been asking to ride in the front seat for a long time because he sees his peers doing so. I have always explained that it's safer for him to ride in the back till he's 12, so that's what we will do, regardless of the choices others make. Also, his friends are mostly riding in newer cars and they probably have the option of turning the airbag off. But now he is seeing his friends' little sisters riding in the front and it's driving him a little crazy! He wants to understand WHY it's safer to be in the back. Before, we've always told him it's because we can't switch off our airbag, but now that he's taller and heavier than me, he's not convinced that's a risk anymore. I told him the front seat is more likely to receive a direct impact in an accident (I think I've read that).
Last night, my husband let him ride in the front seat for a short ride and now he'd like to assume this is his new spot! So, I thought I'd just ask...how big of a deal is it? He is 11 years + 2 months, 5'3.5" and 130#.
01-10-2012, 05:23 PM
I'm not there yet but I just point to the warning on the visor that kids under 13 shouldn't be there when ds1 asks.
01-10-2012, 05:39 PM
Honestly if it were me and my daughters were at an adult height and weight like your son I would let them sit in the front seat, especially if there are smaller children riding with us who would benefit from the back seat. My state's recommendation is 12 yrs. old though. If you feel better sticking to your guns then stick to your guns. I'd be on the same page as your DH though so you might want to chat with your DH about.
01-10-2012, 05:45 PM
It isn't really a matter of height and weight though, iirc. It's bone structure and other things that don't happen till a certain age. Maybe I am wrong?
01-10-2012, 05:47 PM
I think his size and maturity are much more important than his chronological age. I agree with Annie that you and your DH need to be on the same page. That's where you need to start. Once that is settled, you can have a discussion with your son as to your (you & DH) decision.
From a safety standpoint, he probably is fine as long as he sits properly in the seat.
Perhaps you could set up a compromise in which he somehow "earns" the right to sit up front by demonstrating his maturity in some other area of his life.
01-10-2012, 05:51 PM
Your son is 4 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than I am. I'd probably let him ride up front for short, local trips but insist on the back seat for longer trips and on the highway until he's a bit older.
01-10-2012, 05:54 PM
I wouldn't put a child that young in the front seat because I do think it's more about skeletal development (age) than weight or height. At least, that's true for many aspects of carseat usage (rear-facing, especially).
Is there a passenger riding behind the front seat passenger? If not, if you and your DH decide to let him ride in the front seat I would move the front seat back as far as you can from the airbag. That's what they teach us to do if a child in a carseat needs to be in the front seat.
But the bottom line is that *everyone* is safer in the back seat. You are more likely to be further away from the impact in the most deadly crashes. (Of course, since you can't know what kind of crash you will be in you can't know for sure, but statistically that's the case.) So that is where I would want my kids to sit.
ETA: I doubt that his friend's cars allow for the airbag to be turned off. In the US it is almost exclusively pick-up trucks that have that feature.
01-11-2012, 08:43 AM
Here's the study that says through 14 must be in the back...even the most nervous of us have caved for our 12 and 13 yo's, though :innocent: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/06/06/health/webmd/main699982_page2.shtml
Right, your friends don't have airbags that turn off manually (most people don't care or know or even think about it, honestly, even the well educated folks I live among don't have a clue :( --those 9 college bumper stickers don't mean you've researched the number one cause of death to your children...sigh), only a few old trucks and 2 seaters have that option, but newer airbags are weight-sensitive and are supposed to deploy with less force if the child weighs too little (or go off completely under a certain weight, that's what my old 2003 airbag does).
I'd probably stand firm on this one, kindly and with facts, it sets a precedent for the future (you know, in case 'everybody else's mom lets them' bungee jump off bridges, you two will be able to research the dangers together so your child can make wise decisions when you aren't around).
01-12-2012, 07:08 PM
Thanks, everyone. Thanks for the link, Joolsplus2. And the words of advice. My boy is crushed by the news that he may need to be in the backseat till he's 15! But we are constantly telling him we don't do things just because other people do, and this is no exception. Safety first, even if your firstborn is sobbing in the backseat.
01-14-2012, 07:26 PM
Heh, show him this... he'll be happy he's not in a booster, much less in the back seat... http://carseatblog.com/5671/too-old-for-a-booster-says-who/
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