If you are the parent of a little one, you have likely wondered about when your child should transition to the front passenger seat of your vehicle. If you attend California Traffic School, you will obtain some valuable insight regarding this quandary. Enrolling in an online traffic school will also help you determine the appropriate time to move your child out of the rear seat and up front. Yet the answer to this question usually differs by the nuances of a parent’s opinions and a child’s physical size.
Why Some Kids Should sit in the Front Passenger Seat and Others Should Not
Though state laws regulate when a child can legally cease riding in a car safety seat or booster and make the move to the front passenger seat, many parents claim that these are not the safest guidelines. Plenty of states have requirements pertaining to a child’s positioning in the front passenger seat as well. However, many parents disregard these laws out of concern for their little one’s well-being and/or for the sake of convenience.
Those who adhere to the law put their faith in the state to instruct parents when it is most prudent to transition a child to the front passenger seat based on his age, height and even his weight. As an example, a number of states permit children six years and older or those over 40 pounds to use a regular seat belt instead of a booster seat. However, those who peruse the web for advice on this controversial topic will find a myriad of websites that promote safety guidelines that take more than a child’s weight into account. According to these sources, a child’s height is of critical importance. Many claim that a child should be a minimum of 4’9” tall and weigh 80 pounds or more to sit in a vehicle without the booster. Yet the American Academy of Pediatrics argues that this decision should be strictly based on the child’s age. This group states that those between 8 and 12 years old should still be in booster seats.
The Centers for Disease Control is adamant that no child should sit in the front passenger seat until he is a teenager. Their logic for such a statement is that the front passenger seat’s airbag has the potential to kill a child of diminutive physical stature. If the air bag’s inflation does not kill your little one, it could result in serious neck or head injuries. In general, the back seat of a vehicle is the safest seat. Strapping a child into the back seat decreases the odds of him being killed by 33 percent. If your child is positioned in the front passenger seat and a head-on collision occurs, he might be launched through the vehicle’s windshield.
Buckling your child into the front seat will not always suffice. Studies have shown that kids who are secured in the front passenger seat with a seat belt are subjected to an exorbitant risk of being hurt by objects that make their way into the vehicle during the accident. This is precisely why some authorities even recommend keeping the child in the back seat until he is of driving age. If you have no other choice but to put a child of small stature in the front passenger seat, manually disable your vehicle’s air bag with its on-off switch. If your vehicle is not equipped with such a switch, it won’t cost too much money to have one installed. It is also possible to deactivate side air bags to further decrease the odds of your child being harmed in the event of an accident.
The Bottom Line
It is always better to be safe than sorry. Do not put your child at risk by allowing him to sit in the front passenger seat until he is the same size as an adult or until he is of driving age. Though he might detest riding in the back seat up until the high school years, doing so just might save his life.