Booster Seats/Sitting in the Car's Front Seat

[deleted account] ( 221 moms have responded )

I'm curious if others allow their kids to occassionally sit in the front seat. Seriously, be honest! My 6 year old is always seatbelted in his booster seat in the back seat. But the other day I had to switch out cars from the garage, and move them to across the street in the cul-de-sac. My son jumped in the front seat for the ride across the street. But like I said, he's always in his booster seat in the back, seatbelted. However I have been more and more aware on the road now and noticed that other small kids do sit in the front seat. I've seen the booster seats in the front seat. He's very tall for his age and in Kindergarten, but my state does not even have booster seat laws so there are times in my mom's car, with my nephews, that he's in the middle spot of the car and a booster doesn't fit. The light-weight nephew gets it. So who does allow their kids in the front seat of the car?

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Julie - posted on 03/28/2011

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I read a post saying if u are in an accident and your child was in th he front seat how bad would u feel if they were hurt...what difference would it make...front or back if u were involved in an accident...if u have a child in the car do people not crash into the back of the car..so how is it more dangerous for your child to be in the front..if a car hits you from behind your child will be injured just the same as if it was sitting in the front if the car was hit head on....u can't live life thinking what if...a back end smash will do as much damage as a front end smash x

Pia - posted on 03/25/2011

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I don't understand why the US doesn't have federal laws? Like Jodi said, everywhere in Australia a child has to be in a booster until 7, in the backseat.
My partner let my almost 3 year old in the front seat to ride to the postbox (about 40metres away) and I lost it. It is not okay at all for children to be in the front. It is irresponsible and dangerous. Those parents at the schools who let their kids ride in the front need a kick in the butt and need o be sat down in front of some YouTube videos showing children damaged by car accidents.

Amy - posted on 03/31/2011

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Here in WA, children under the age of 12 are not allowed in the front seat, unless there is no alternative. Car seats and booster seats are never allowable in a seat with an airbag.

I would never let my kids sit in the front seat, let alone drive/steer the car, regardless of what state I'm in. That's really irresponsible.

[deleted account]

NO way NO how wil my son be sitting in the front seat of my car. The front seat of a car should be reserved for adults ONLY! It is a privaledge that we get to sit there and one that should be earned only when you reach adulthood! Why would you want your kid there anyway? They'll only mess up your music!

Yvonne - posted on 03/31/2011

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putting your small kids in the front seat is irresponsible and plainly stupid. hello! laws for a reason. just because your kid is 12, doesn't mean they should be up there either, you should really go by height and weight on that. my ten year old niece is about 65 pounds soaking wet and tiny, think she'll be "big" enough to sit in the front in a couple of years? probably not. there are so many things that can go wrong while driving, even you are a most excellent and careful driver. besides airbags, what about other people driving badly or bad weather? and if you can turn off the airbag, how would you feel if God forbid something happened that day? anything can happen, even just driving down the street. i live five blocks from my son's school, and that's the last place i would want him in the front, those people drive like idiots. he can wait his happy little butt in the back seat just like i did. oh, and just because we didn't have car seats and all those laws thirty years ago when we were kids means nothing. thank God we're still here to have our own kids.

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221 Comments

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Sandy - posted on 04/02/2011

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I wouldn't allow my children to sit in the front seat. Our state does have car seat and booster seat laws, but not only that, but it is not safe to allow your children to sit up there unless you can turn off the air bag. And even then you should still have him in a booster at all times so that the seat belt fits him correctly. The laws and suggestions are in place not to be a pain, but to keep your children as safe as possible. and just because you notice other people allowing their children to do it, doesn't mean you should. I see little kids climbing all over the back seat when I'm driving, but it doesn't mean my three year old will not be buckled in every time!

A'Lisa - posted on 04/01/2011

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I am a pretty liberal-minded and somewhat laid-back parent...I am also the first person to admit being a "not-so-great" parent at times. :) However, I am very serious about following those carseat/driving rules involving children. All it takes is one time--no matter how careful you are, someone else may come along and hit you! How horrible would that be?! It's just not worth the risk. I am an elementary school teacher and it bothers me TERRIBLY to see kids getting in the front seat and/or not using a booster seat when they should. If there's one thing to be a stickler about...my opinion is that carseats/booster seat rules should be a top priority!

Faith - posted on 04/01/2011

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I don't ever allow my children to sit in the front seat unless we are going down the driveway. I am too worried that something could happen.

Kari - posted on 04/01/2011

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I have 2 boys that are 9 & 12 that are always asking to sit in the front seat, and as tempting as it is, I have always made them sit in the back. Recently (maybe the last 3 months) I have let my 12 yr old sit in the front, only because in my state, by law it is ok. I see many people that let their small children sit in the front, many times they are bouncing around with no seatbelt and to be honest it makes me really mad!! There are so many careless drivers out there that are not paying attention or have been drinking, and all it takes is once for something to happen. The kids don't understand the dangers of sitting in the front seat, so as parents it is up to us to set a good example and make them sit in the back and always wear a seatbelt. I know there are certain trucks and cars with only front seats, and that is different because there is no where else for them to sit. For something so small, I feel it is really not worth the risk.

Jenny - posted on 04/01/2011

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That's all well and good if you have the money to splash out on a new car!

Sandy - posted on 03/31/2011

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My daughter is only three, so I've never driven with her in the front seat. I've also never driven with any child under age 12 in the front seat. She's always belted into her car seat in the back seat.

However, I live in Japan which has only recently had a law about putting babies in a car seat. They usually hold their babies or let their children bounce around the seats. There are a few I've seen with babies in car seats in the front seat. Most Japanese let their children sit without restraining belts or children car seats much less booster seats. In fact, most of the time I see children in a car here, they're standing up in the seat or climbing around the car while it's moving.

Deanna - posted on 03/31/2011

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I only put kids in the front seat once they are over 10 and thier is no passenger air bag. Yes, we did it when we wre kids but there were no air bags. The danger is from the air bags more than the front seat itself. The air bag comes out at such force that it can kill a child.
As to driving with a child on you lap. That is just stupid. If you were an accident the force of your body would crush your child. Then how would you feel living with the fact that you killed your baby. I'm sorry but even a small jolt is dangerous.

Tove - posted on 03/31/2011

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if your can has an airbag that you can not turn off I wouldn't allow my child to even sit up there for a block. if the airbag goes off and hits your child the impact can snap their neck and BREAK IT!

Yvonne - posted on 03/31/2011

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i just want to add that if you have no room in the back because you have too many little kids or stuff in the, get a bigger car or get rid of some stuff! my friend wanted me to pick up her kids once and i told her i couldn't do it cause five car seats wouldn't fit in my suv. we just had to split them into two cars. i know gas cos a lot right now, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Emi - posted on 03/31/2011

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I did put my baby in a car seat in the front. I was easier to look over her while driving and the loved the view. Now I can't because of the airbags of the car I am driving at the mo.

Andrea - posted on 03/31/2011

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ok, the reason it is more dangerous for kids to sit in the front "these days" is because of air bags. if you willingly let your child sit in the front and do not have the air bags turned off... many kids have died or been seriously injured doing this. and really, you don't have to be going far or even than fast to set the air bags off. all you have to do is hit a bump the right way. please, please, please do not ever let your young children sit in the front, steer the wheel, or sit anywhere in the car without being buckled in. once you let them do it one time, they know it's an option and will hound you til you give in "just one time".

i am appalled at how many of you admit to this behavior. what's the point? are there enough other fun things for kids to do besides bounce around in the front seat? or are you just too lazy to buckle them in for the short trip?

sorry to sound so harsh, but this is so dangerous! if you are in the situation where all of your backseats are taken up by younger children, the only way you can legally and safely have a young child in the front is to have the air bag off and the seat pushed back as far as possible.

Brandy - posted on 03/31/2011

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My youngest will be 9 in a couple weeks, and he still sits in the back in a booster seat. He is small for his age, though. He doesn't care about sitting in it...no embarrassment here. He understands it's for his safety. I don't think I have ever let him ride in the front seat.

My oldest will be 15 in a couple months, but I do believe we were a little more lenient with him...letting him ride up front when he shouldn't be...but then the laws weren't as strict when he was younger, either.

Charlita - posted on 03/31/2011

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Also we can't keep harping on the fact that we used to sit up front when we were children. When we were kids you didn't have people on cell phones or texting while they drive. We also didn't have a bunch of people on the rode who think it's their right to drink and drive. You just don't want to take the chance that the one time you put your child in the front seat, will be the time that you are in a car accident. It's just not worth it!

Charlita - posted on 03/31/2011

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I've never put any of my children in the front seat. I did allow my 12 year old to sit up front until they went and changed the laws on us again. I don't want to tempt fate or take the chances of getting a ticket. My children's safety is just to important to take a chance like that.

Erin - posted on 03/31/2011

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It'a against the law for a reason. HIGHLY unsafe! You would never forgive yourself if you had an accident while your child was in the front seat. The safest place is in the back. ALWAYS!! I'm surprised by all the people who allow their kids in the front seat. Do you really need your state telling you it's unsafe? Erica, you need to buy a bigger car.

Ronni - posted on 03/31/2011

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Never, never, NEVER do I allow my children to ride in the front seat. My husband once took my son out to make donuts in an empty parking lot, and let my DS sit on his lap and "steer". I gave him the business about it and it's never happened again. An airbag deploying can break a child's neck, or nose. An improperly restrained child can torpedo through a windshield. It's not a risk worth taking.

Leslie - posted on 03/31/2011

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Only my two oldest children are allowed in the front seat and they are 14 and 17. There was previously a law prohibiting any child under 12 in the front seat. It's gone now, but I'm not taking any chances with my baby, who is 11 and small for her age.

[deleted account]

I let my kids in the front if there's not another adult with us and only for trips in town (to school, to the grocery store). Mine are still small enough to see it as a privilege, and some days for them its better treat then candy!

Carol - posted on 03/31/2011

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I almost died from an airbag injury and I'm a 5'6" adult. My son is not getting in the front seat until he is 4'9" as required by my state AND is sitting where the airbag can be turned off. Kids bodies are not made to withstand the forces put on a front-seat driver during a car accident. I say never let your son in the front seat unless it's an absolute emergency.

Tracy - posted on 03/31/2011

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My boyfriend allows his 6 yr old son (48" tall) to sit in the front seat in his booster sea...as long as the seat is pushed back far enough to wear an airbag would not hurt him. I'm not comfortable with it as I don't think I'd let my 7 yr old in the front seat just yet. If she can't see over the dash without a booster, no reason for her to be up there. IMO

Bethany - posted on 03/31/2011

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Great way of putting it, Robin! Our vehicles are a 90, and 93, so there are no airbags in that era. I know PA state law says nothing against kids being in front seats, as long as properly restrained, and the car doesn't have airbags. It varies state to state, I know that.

Robin - posted on 03/31/2011

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I don't let my kids in the front seat since I drive in a vehicle with air bags. The owners manual states that hitting a curb too hard could possibly set off the air bags and that they can be deadly for children under 13 if deployed...Don't know if you've ever been in an accident where they have gone off but it is very scary and burns. The owners manual also says if you have to have the child up front---put the seat back as far as it will go. I would pay more attention to the owners manual of your particular vehicle when making this choice rather than what the laws say as the laws are really just to cover the general population but doesn't take into account your particular situation.

Dorine - posted on 03/31/2011

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If he still needs a booster seat, he still needs to be in the back, period.

Joanne - posted on 03/31/2011

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The only time my 10 year old every rides in the front seat, is if I'm putting the car in the garage or moving it in the driveway. He's tall, but not all that heavy. It's just easier for him to always be in the back seat. That's the rule and there's no argument about it.

Brandi - posted on 03/31/2011

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I have had a 94 two door cavalier with three kids in the back seat with three car seats very tight fit and very had for me to put them it there but i did make the effor to put my children in the correct carseats in the back of the car. The poset about not having money to have the best cars I have not the best cars with the kids but I do make every effort to put them in the back or just not go. I may even drive my family memebers nuts with how I check the carseats when my kids go with them

Bethany - posted on 03/31/2011

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With the one car we have, yes I do! It's my husband's work car, before you guys flame me. And it doesn't have air bags because of the age of the car.
Sometimes my vehicle does need to be worked on, you know!!

Kristi - posted on 03/31/2011

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I actually wasn't talking to you "Missy". I just read the original question and posted my reply. I hadn't read anyone else's response. I just read through some of the other responses to this question. It seems you get very defensive with anything anyone else has to say... perhaps this is because down deep you feel you should be doing something different, I don't know. I did however read that if you are going "any long distance" you make him sit in the back. Why? If he is perfectly safe to sit in the front for short trips, why is he not for longer ones? Also, statistically, most accidents happen within a few miles of our homes.
Lastly, it is not a "personal choice decision" as you say. That would be something more like what school they go to, what kind of clothes they wear, how much TV to let them watch etc. Keeping our children as safe as possible for as long as possible is not a choice, but our responsibility as parents.
I just pray that none of us have to go through an accident that injures any of our children.

[deleted account]

@ Kristi,
Most safety regulations suggest to have a child sit either behind the passenger or the driver, due to the fact that most older vehicles only have a lapbelt in the center seat in the back, for the very reason you described. Newer cars have 3 point belt systems in all seating postions in the vehicles now.
My car has the 3 point seatbelts in all seating postions, as well as thether and achor systems in all 3 seating postions in the back. Enough, this is getting monotonous, and repetitive.

Kristi - posted on 03/31/2011

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NEVER! I am not a parent who has ever kept their child in a carseat/booster and buckled because it was "the law". My children have always been safely restrained in our vehicles because I love them and want to keep them safe. Even when we have been moving cars around in the driveway, they are in their seats. My husband was once going to let our son sit in the front because he was just "backing out of the drive and parking in front of the house". As I pointed out to him, you never know when an accident will happen... a child could be fine in a small fender bender, but the problem is if the airbag is deployed, the force from that could kill them. Is it worth taking that chance? My mom has a client who's child was older, but should have still been in a booster seat. They were rear ended at a light, not too bad, but because their daughter was not properly restrained, (she was just belted with a lap belt in the middle), the force of the collision forced her body forward, stretched out her spine and she will now be paralyzed for the rest of her life.
I may be over protective, but I would MUCH rather be that and make sure my kids are safe than have something happen and have to deal with the "should have done it differently".

Janet - posted on 03/31/2011

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@ Missy

He's 10, and sounds as big as me. What you've done sounds totally reasonable for your situation. You kept him in a booster until 8, so good for you! Our babies have to grow up sometime and it sounds like he fits the size criteria I've always heard. If they can sit with their rear all the way back in the seat and have their knees bend over the froont of the seat, they are big enough for a regular seatbelt. My best friend (42 yo.) is 5' tall and 85 lbs. and yes she sits in the front seat and DRIVES a car. I don't see the difference. It's not like you said you put your 2 yo. in a seatbelt in the front seat. We all have to make the best choices for our situation and unfortunately we cannot all afford to have the newest safest vehicles, older cars don't have all of the bells and whistles. great job mothering!

Brandi - posted on 03/31/2011

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I agree my children need to grow up and I am there along the way to help, protect and guide them. All three of my children are in the back seat have sit in their carseat longer than the law says have never had an issue with it and never complained about it. that is just how things wereto them. They are all very mature children, very independent, speak very well--my son is nine and we have conversation about everythign going on in the world, and have tons of friends. So I think that I will continue to protect them when it comes to cars and carseats there have been several child fatalities in our area due to the child not being in the carseat or in the correct position. It is sad that the goverment needs to make these laws for parents to actually do what they need to do.

[deleted account]

Yes as a mother I would do anything to protect my child, but consider this, the back seat of my car offers only the protection of the seatbelts, that are set at a non adjustable height, where as the front seat offers and adjustable height seatbelt, as well as side airbags that come out of the sides of the seats for head protection, which he is tall enough for, he sits as far back as the seat will go in the front. My back seat of my '06 Focus has nothing but the seatbelts for protection. I do protect my child, but I can not keep him my little baby forever, he has to grow up, I love my son, and I can see that this is going to be one of those mother bashing mothers for personal choice decisions. Have a nice day everyone.

Janet - posted on 03/31/2011

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My daughter just turned 10 in February and STILL sits in a no-back booster. She actually prefers it. We do not require her to take one in other people's cars for carpool but in our family car she still sits in one. We do allow her to ride in front seat of my husband's car on occaision (to grocery store around corner) but the airbag has a weight sensor and turns off automatically if under 100 lbs. My 7 yo. sits in a highback booster (in our family on your 8th birthday we move you into a no-back) and my 3 yo. is in a 5 pt. harness. NC law is 8 yo. OR 80 lbs. All of mine sat backwards in a convertible 5 pt. harness until 2 yo. and they didn't know any different so it was never an issue. Same with the boosters, in our cars they ride in them without complaining and until this yr. my daughter took one in carpool cars. Didn't think anything of it.

We'll stay out of front seat until age 12 like the huge yellow safety sign on our cars' visors recommend, unless just staying in the neighborhood.

Brandi - posted on 03/31/2011

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ok for all of you all out there that are breakig the law with the car seat thing, driving, and putting kids in te front seat what kind of message are you sending your kids and what other laws are you willing to let them break?

Brandi - posted on 03/31/2011

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but as a mother dont you want to do everything in your power to protect you child if there is a way to do so?

Brandi - posted on 03/31/2011

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Totally think that if you do not allow them to start something that they cannot always do ten you will not have any fights later down the road on this issue. My children are always in the correct car seat for their age in te back seat and they will continue to stay there until they are learning to drive. That way there will be no issues of mom can I cuz the know they don't even gotta ask.

[deleted account]

I understand about the car accident senario, I was in one before airbags came out and my seatbelt saved my life, but as I said, my airbag does not engage under 80 lbs. and he is about 5 feet tall at 10 yrs old(soon to be 11), and my husband has no choice but to put him in the front seat since he has a truck, but like I said he turns it off. My son has not fit into a booster seat for about the last 3 yrs. and I agree I would not wish an airbag deployment of anyone. If I am driving any long distance, he does sit in the back, even though it is usually just myself and him in the car. If we are going somewhere as a family together, he sits in the back.

Sheri - posted on 03/31/2011

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After being in a car accident and have the airbags go off, I would sayNO! My son who is very tall for his 7 years was in the back seat in his booster with a seat belt still hit the back of the seat in front. I will not let him go through what i did with the pain of that airbag.

[deleted account]

My son has been sitting in the front seet for about 3 years, he is 10 now, I used a booster seat in the front seat until he was almost 8. But the passenger seat in my car has what they call a front passenger sensing system, which is anything under 80 lbs. and the the airbag does NOT deploy on the passenger side, which is why they do not want children in the front under a certain age, airbags can be deadly to a child. My husband has a truck and whenever our son is in the truck with him he turns off the passenger airbag because of this.

Halee - posted on 03/31/2011

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My daughter who is 8 yrs.old does ride in the front sometimes. But only when I am in the neighborhood. My older son is 10 he has also been in the front for the same reason. My husband has let my daughter (8) go in the front on main roads. Lets just say I was upset when I saw that he did it. My other two are in carseats.

Eliza - posted on 03/31/2011

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Yes I let my kids sit in the front sometimes. Like you said just going across the street. Never for a long period of time except on occasion. I have 4 boys and a 4 door sidan which seats 5. Now there isn't enough room in the back seat for all 4 of my children so the biggest gets to sit in the front when this happens. Hope this helps.

Tammie - posted on 03/31/2011

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I never allow my son to ride in the front seat. Our state law requires children 8 yrs and under to be in a child safety seat/booster seat. Also. Children under 12 yrs are required to ride in the back seat. My sister & a friend of mine got warnings for having an 8 yr old and a 10 yr old in the front so they must watch pretty close. Also I have seen what an airbag can do to a childs face and would not want that to happen to my son. Our state seems to have tougher laws than most. They seem to watch it pretty close too, so I put him and my nieces when in the car with me in the back.

Elisa - posted on 03/30/2011

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Front seat is a BIG NO for kids under 12....even though I admit letting my 8 and 10 year old nieces get shotgun on they way to the store around the corner....but even that feels wrong so I've been stricter about them riding in the back seat. Just think about it... if you get into an accident (most of the times you won't see it coming) how much safer are they in the backseat...preferably in a carseat/booster seat! Take good care of the ones u love, better safe than sorry!!!

Lucia - posted on 03/30/2011

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hi sharon, i wouldnt recomend it even if in a booster. i think its too exposed for a child. i wont allow my children sit in the front. seeing the damage sitting in a front seat can do to a child my neighbour has her child sittiing in a booster in the front was in a horriffic car accident (not her fault) she also had another child in the back seat the child in front is now in a body cast pf plaster so that she cant move until shes healed it starts from her arm pits right through to bothe her legs (with a hole cut out so that she can go to the toilet) every bone in her body was just about broken or fractured, she even lost part of her tounge due to the force from sittingin the front seat and it being more open and from the front window. while her brother got a few scraches from sitting the back. (this little girl is only 6 and just started school)

Dale - posted on 03/30/2011

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I live in Australia and we have VERY strict car child restraint laws, and they are being constantly made even stricter, a child under the age of 7 is not legally allowed in the front seat of a car, nor are they allowed to travel in a motor vehicle without a specific type of booster seat and restraint for their weight

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