Do you know the law in your state about how old a child must be before he or she sits in the front seat of your vehicle?
Some of her friends regularly ride in the front passenger seat of their family vehicle. Some do not. Lately my tween has been asking to ride in the front seat.
Here's a list of front seat laws by state.
There are no laws on the back seat issue in Illinois, only laws that say "[a]ny person transporting a child under the age of 8 years shall be responsible for securing that child in an appropriate child restraint system, more commonly called a child safety seat."
The BuckleUpIllinois.org website says, "Back Seat is Best - Until Age 13" and that "[a]ll children age 12 and under should ride in the back seat." Some passenger safety organizations such as SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. suggest children should keep riding in the back seat until they are ready to drive themselves because it is twice as safe.
That did not make my tween happy and instead elicited that all too familiar tween scowl.
That look quickly turned to horror when I showed her that the website also notes, "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ride in a belt positioning booster seat until the safety belt fits as it would an adult – which could be as long as 12 years old for some children." It goes on to specify that "Safety belts are designed for small adults who are at least 80 pounds and 4 feet 9 inches tall."
She weighs less than 80 pounds, but she's in the ballpark and at a very average weight for her age. She's right at the height, just a few inches shorter than me. I worry that at this rate someone will tell me I need a booster. My tween's been out of a booster seat for two years now, per Illinois law, and she quickly noted that she doesn't know anyone who was in 4th grade last year who rode in a booster seat.
With this info, we agreed to compromise at backseat only, no booster. That may make me a bad mom, but I do note we're not breaking any laws. She thinks I am a bad mom for not letting her sit in the front seat.
Do you know tweens who regularly sit in the front seat? Is it reasonable to wait until 13, or even 16 to let them sit up front?
If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: Staying home alone: Is your Tween ready?
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