Child Seat Laws

sminnjFebruary 4, 2009

So SD8 asked me if she could ride in the front seat when I picked her up from school today. I said of course not and she got in the back. We went home, then back out to run some errands. Again she asked me if she could ride in the front seat. I told her no and asked her to stop asking because it is illegal in our state for children under 12 to sit in the front seat. Her response:

"But my Mom lets me ride in the front seat all the time and her friend who is a police officer told her it is ok!"

A friend of mine got into an auto accident with her short statured 11 year old in the front seat. The airbag went off and popped right in her face since she was so short. The chemicals from the airbag burned her skin and she had to have surgeries up until she was 14 to correct the scarring on her face.

I took my SD back into the house and dug up the old photos I had of my friend and I and her daughter. I explained to her why the law was in place and even let her look up and read the law for herself online.

I told my DH so he called ex to let her know that it's not ok for her to ride in the front seat. (He was actually pretty tactful and non accusing, something he's been working on when talking to her) She started screaming at him on the phone telling him she will do what she wants and how dare he tell her how to be a parent and it's not illegal and blah blah blah. DH told his DD to not ride in the front seat of her Mom's car. But we feel like she's going to do it anyway if her Mom lets her and just not tell us. She "hates sitting in the back with her annoying sister and loves the seat heaters that are up front".

Anyone else have this problem? DH is a worrier and now I know this is going to bug him.

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I would also stick to the law so I agree with you Sminnj!

However, unfortunately you can't influence BM or her actions. If she chooses to have SD in the front than there's not a lot you can do about it. And no matter how nice and non accusing DH brings it to BM, he is still telling her what she can or can't do so BM gets upset.

It's frustrating but you can only influence what happens at your place, not at BM's. It's BM's risk to take.

When I was 11 I got to sit in the front seat, the law in Holland was that kids under 12 yrs of age had to have the seat belt only across the belly, not over the shoulder (Choking hazard when car stops abruptly). I suffered from pretty bad car sickness, always throwing up after as little as 10 minutes in the car. Sitting in the front helped me a lot. Could it be possible that there is some kind of similar exception in regards to seat belts/airbags etc where it is possible for BM to do this legally? But even then, it's not the point. The point is that you can't stop BM either way. I know what it's like to have to sit and watch BM do stuff you don't agree with, so I hear you!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 10:29PM
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We actually have it stated in our parenting plan that all parents will abide by state and federal child seat laws for this very reason.

If it is illegal she could be fined. I find it hard to believe an officer told her otherwise. I know it sounds drastic, but perhaps a call to the police department is in order. I don't don't mess around with safety, I don't care who's house or who's time it is. It's the child's life we're talking about here.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 11:59PM
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In our state it is only legal for a child under 12 to sit in the front seat if the back seats are already full with even younger children. If there is an empty seat in the back then she must sit there or risk a ticket. I believe her police friend told her that she didn't need to have a booster anymore. Because 8 is when that is true. But she is either lying or just got what he said confused. Either way, I assumed it was pretty much common sense to not have a child in the front seat. She has never complained to us about car sickness. Either in her Dad's boat of a car or in my little coupe. I think it's more of she gets to do something her sister doesn't and she feels more grown up up there.

It's not uncommon for us to pass her on the road w/ the kids. We all live around each other in a small town. SD knows this so DH told her if he ever caught her sitting up front she'd be in trouble.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 7:22AM
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I am in the same boat as you. BM in our case only sees the kids maybe once a month. But she does not follow safety laws either. She does not have a booster seat for my 6 yr old skid. And she makes my 12 and 14 year old skids share a seat meant for one and wear no seatbelt. It is because she has 3 kids with my dh and 3 kids with her new bf and drives a vehicle that only seats 7. So with her and her bf up front, 3 car seats for her 3 little kids in back that only leaves 2 seats for my 3 skids. Drives us insane!!! I can only hope that she starts getting pulled over and fined for this and stops doing it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 9:08AM
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Tough one.

However much the law may be explicit, and even if the police are called, there's no guaranteed way of MAKING BM abide at all times, unfortunately. I think all you can really do is attempt to discuss it with BM in a way that tries to minimize a judgmental/condemning tone (even if you understandably feel like judging/condemning her for putting the child at risk) and instead attempts to appeal to her good sense as a mother. This way she is more likely to actually listen instead of immaturely rebelling against the law simply because you, as SM, happen to be the one bringing it up. Tell her about your friend's daughter and say there are risks that she just may not have thought of. Tell her it doesn't mean you think she's a sh***y mother, but that something tragic happened to someone you actually know and you thought she would benefit from being told what the risks actually are.

I don't blame you in this instance if you want to call the cops, but it just might not be a very long-term solution. Plus, you don't want to open a big "tit-for-tat" drama can of worms. You can only do what a person can reasonably do when they are not present to control everything that happens when the kid is outside their care. After that point, there is always a risk that something could happen because of someone else's irresponsibility. Unless you're with the kid 24/7, you'll never avoid this risk 100%.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 9:16AM
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My X used to allow DD to ride on the front seat. It took me several arguments with him to stop it. yes like serenity said unless you are with them 24/7 you can't always guarantee safety of your children. Even if parents still married, one parent might still do stupid stuff.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 11:39AM
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