Sitting 10-year-old in front passenger seat - views please?

(30 Posts)
toolatetobed Mon 03-Feb-14 20:27:10

So 10-year-old is over 135cm tall but still well under adult height. How would you feel about sitting her in the passenger seat of a car which has an airbag? Would you avoid, even if this means turning down a lift and doing the drive yourself? Or is worrying about this scenario the equivalent of worrying about being struck by lightning if you step out of the house? Interested to hear the views of others!

Snowbell Mon 03-Feb-14 22:03:47

My DD is 12 and sits in front seat with airbag. We have the seat pushed as far back as it will go, have been doing this for about a year I think. She is quite tall but still only mini-adult height, ie. around 5 ft tall when we started. She only does this on local trips. If we are going on a motorway or fast A road she sits in the back. Hope this helps. If we are giving a lift to her friends as well I wouldn't let one of them sit in front, they will sit in back.

Ragwort Mon 03-Feb-14 22:07:59

I've never even thought about it to be honest blush. I am sure my 10 year old was sitting in the passenger seat.

MistletoeBUTNOwine Mon 03-Feb-14 22:08:28

Dd 130 cm been sitting in front for years... Didn't realise was a prob as long as not rear facing car seat blush

Heifer Mon 03-Feb-14 22:26:07

My DD (just 10) has been sitting in front seat for a couple of months - hadn't allowed her before then. She isn't the tallest (not sure exactly how tall) but I just felt the time was right to allow it. (she mostly travels in the back anyway as DH drives and I'm in the passenger seat grin

toolatetobed Tue 04-Feb-14 00:25:00

Thank you for the replies. I have a memory of watching a documentary a few years ago in which the presenter said that the legal test for airbags related to man-size crash test dummies, ie there wasn't a legal requirement to consider the effect on smaller people. The programme featured a tragic case from the US in which a girl (not a tiny tot, older than that) had been killed by the airbag going off. The accident that triggered the airbag was a minor bump, nothing more. It did say that airbags in US cars were bigger. I wasn't sure what other people's views were. I feel reservations about letting my 10-year-old DD (or her friends) ride in the front passenger seat. When there's room for everyone in the back that's fine, but it gets more awkward if it's a case of 4 kids wanting to go somewhere. I am a bit of a worrier so wanted to know whether others just thought this a ridiculous worry.

How about a booster seat? That would raise her to a height where her head would be where an adult's head is.

Dromedary Tue 04-Feb-14 22:59:52

Surely a very very low risk? If you're that worried about such a low risk, I'd be more worried about driving in the first place. My 9 year old always sits in the front seat.

My DDs are 13/16 and so just missed the car seat regulations been tightened.

They have taken turns to sit in the front for years. How else do you get DDs to tell you about their day or learn their tables.

And don't say at meals, believe me you do not want to eat with DD2, you lose the will to live.

cece Tue 04-Feb-14 23:08:20

I have not really given it any thought and my DC have sat in the front passenger seat from when they no longer needed to use a car seat.

My 10 yr old is the same height as some of the very short mums on the school run. So surely if he is too short so would these adult women?

The US have much bigger airbags because they are designed to save people who do not use seat belts. The height restriction is due to the height at which the chest strap of the seat belt sits, and nothing to do with the airbag. The RSPOA ( have I got that right?) recommends that children remain on carseats until they are at least 150cm tall. I think you have to use your judgement as to your child, the driver, car, journey and road conditions. My 10 yr old DD sits in the front on local, low speed, short journeys but always sits it the back for motorway journeys. As for parents of friends, if I am in anyway concerned that she would be put in danger sat in the front, I would question why I felt that way and whether I felt the other parent was not responsible.

There is simply no one answer... Trust your own instincts and only do what you are comfortable with.

(I am far more fearful of the day she gets driven by one of her friends - suddenly 17 doesn't seem old enough to drive!)

Poppiesway Tue 04-Feb-14 23:21:57

What about side impact protection air bags?
I always worry about them going off and pushing my dc head together in the back with some force..

If needed can't use fur. The front airbag off for such journeys?

I've seen boy in a&e who's drunk driving father crashed into a wall.. The airbag went off and hit boy as he was in front, I think he was about 9/10.. He was blinded due to force of airbag going off in his face.
Made me think..

SavoyCabbage Tue 04-Feb-14 23:35:15

I don't let my dd (10) sit in the front unless I absolutely have to after I witnessed an accident where the car in front of me crashed into the car in front of them and the child in the passenger seat was killed.

I didn't have children of my own at the time but I was working as a nanny and I had that child in the car with me at the time. She was seven and she wasn't in a car seat (it was in Australia) although she was in the back.

CrabbyWinterBottom Thu 06-Feb-14 10:19:03

My DD (10) has sat in the front for years, although I do have the passenger seat pushed right back. She's tall too - just over 5' so as tall as many adult women and no one would expect them to sit in the back! YY to US airbags being much larger due to seatbelt wearing being not so prevalent as here - much more dangerous for children in the front.

shallweshop Thu 06-Feb-14 10:24:15

My kids take it in turns to sit in the front but my car has the option to switch the passenger seat airbag off so I always make sure I do this. Problem is, I sometimes forget to switch it back on when there is an adult (me or DH) in the passenger seat - not ideal!

toolatetobed Thu 06-Feb-14 23:59:02

Thank you all for the replies - interesting to see quite a range of views.

Ixia Mon 10-Feb-14 01:53:16

My car manual gives a height restriction for sitting in the front seat, I think it's 140cm, but would have to check. Also the seatbelt should sit correctly, not across their abdomen or neck, this can vary from car to car.

It really pisses me off how lax parents are about this kind of thing, my daughter is 8.5 and still in her high back booster. A lot of her friends (who are same height or shorter) don't have any booster seats at all, because apparently they are babyish.

Pinkpartysprinkles Mon 10-Feb-14 03:38:29

It's not simply a height restriction/measure it's also to do with the weight of the child. A 10yo might well be 5' but an adult woman of 5' is likely to be much heavier.

Ixia Mon 10-Feb-14 12:31:22

Car manual (saab) says 140cm, but a leaflet updating the manual says 150cm.
But unless you have 4 kids, there's no real reason for a child to be in the front.

gruffalosmile Sat 22-Feb-14 22:42:41

I have to say I often have DD in the front as she gets car sick. She does use a booster and the seat is pushed back. She is tall but skinny and light. I just know how awful car sickness is, especially on winding country roads like the ones around where we live.

Theas18 Sat 22-Feb-14 23:04:29

I don't have anyone in the front passenger seat if I can help it , not even the grown up ones. It started with " well it's not safe " when they were small and I just got used to it. I actually don't much like having a from passenger at all lol

Disclaimer. The back legroom is loads even for DS who's over 6 foot! The girls are petite and 5 foot , so actually probably safer in the back'

tess73 Sat 22-Feb-14 23:14:05

I let my Dds (8 and nearly 10) sit in the front on short local journeys on a booster.
It's important the seat belt sits on their shoulder and not on the neck
The airbag going off in their face is the risk at this size, so the booster lifts them sufficiently.
I don't let DDs friends sit in the front, I wouldn't know if their parents are happy with it
I do allow DD to sit in the front of her parents' friends cars, on a booster, as she often feels ill on car journeys.

Procrastreation Sat 22-Feb-14 23:16:07

Our airbag can be turned off via a key switch in the glove compartment

MargotLovedTom Sat 22-Feb-14 23:42:51

If we go out as a family of five then the three dc sit in the back, H and I in the front. If it's only dc and I then dd (9.5yrs) sits in the passenger seat. She is tall for her age, and sits on a booster cushion with the seat pushed back as much as is comfortable for her sibling sitting behind. She also has the seat pumped up as high as it goes, I'm 5"6 and my head just about touches the ceiling with it like that.

They tend to bicker and shove eachother round so much when they're all in the back that it becomes very distracting for the driver, I feel safer when they've got a bit of space.

ouryve Sat 22-Feb-14 23:46:14

We divide a long journey with me and 10 yo sitting in passenger seat for half the journey each. Less distracting for DH than the two boys fighting and screeching in the back when patience wears thin, between them.

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