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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Children and passenger safety
Secure your kid Ė even if he revolts
Published Thursday, April 19, 2012 7:12 am
by Wesley Carter

Every time we get in the car, my twelve-year-old son and I argue because he wants to sit in the front seat. He jumps in the front seat every time we get in the car. What can I say to convince him to sit in the backseat?

David in Raleigh

Wesley Carter


It is a mixed blessing that your son does not recognize safety risks. The more we keep our children safe, the less they understand the safety implications of their circumstances. Your job is to continually educate him on safety until he begins to make responsible decisions.

Your son, like many children, feels entitled to an equal say in adult decisions. However, children do not have the maturity to make adult decisions. In addition to being illegal, allowing children under the age of 13 to sit in the front seat is very dangerous. Your son does not have to agree with your decision. But, he must comply with it.

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury in children. Children weighing less than 80 pounds that sit in the front seat are more likely to die in a car accident from the impact of the airbag deploying in the front passenger seat. Your sonís safety should be paramount.

Children taller than 4-feet-9-inches and between 8 and 12 years of age are not required to sit in a booster seat. However, the must sit in the backseat with a seatbelt strapped properly across their upper thighs, shoulder, and chest. At age 13, if a child is taller than 4-foot-9 they can lawfully sit in the front seat.

Children less than 4-foot-9 tall that weigh between 4 and 8 years of age should be strapped into a forward facing booster seat, in the backseat. The seatbelt should be placed across the upper thighs and shoulder. In the event of a car accident, being strapped in a booster seat reduces the chance of injury be over 50 percent.

Infants should be placed in the back seat and buckled into rear facing child safety seats until they reach 20 pounds and at least one year of age. Children under 4 years of age and weighing between 20 and 40 pounds should be strapped in a forward facing child safety seat in the backseat.

This will not be the last time your son will challenge your authority. This dilemma presents a great opportunity for you to exercise your right and responsibility to protect your son. The solution is simple, refuse to move the car unless your son is safely strapped in the backseat.

As the mother of adult children, experience has shown that children rarely agree with the safety sanctions we impose as parents. However, after children reach adulthood, they often thank their parents for raising them with structure and limits.

Love your son enough to keep him safe even when your decision causes him displeasure. Do not expect a 12 year old to understand or value automobile safety. Instead, pat yourself on the back for being a good parent.

WESLEY CARTER D.Mgt. provides parenting guidance to committed parents. Email your questions/comments to wesley@kidsbycarter.com Visit www.kidsbycarter.com and follow on Twitter @kidsbydrcarter







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