Over the last several months, Alfs has been moving to the front seat of the car. It happened a little slowly. There was a day we had the car very full of kids and it was the only place for him to sit – and we were only going a couple miles on side roads.
As a parent who has been consistent and insistent about car seats and booster seats for much longer than many parents, this has been an adjustment. At first it seemed just plain wrong. But then I checked the guidelines, and he’d outgrown all the height and weight guidelines – just not the age guideline, and we were within months of that.
On the edge
Car seat and booster seat guidelines vary by state. What’s legal in one state might not be across the border just a few miles away. As such, I tend to go by the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. In addition, my own experience with seat belts (rather, lack of a seat belt) when I was in a car accident in high school means I strict, strict, strict about this (let’s just say I was extremely lucky).
Sunshine is still in a full car seat. By age and weight she could move to a booster, but her car seat still covers her current height and weight, so I see no reason to change yet. Woody at 9 just graduated out of his last booster and the regular seat belt fits him just fine. He’s still in the back seat – with a seat belt – all the time, though.
But with Alfs right on the border, I find myself in a new gray area. Also since he’s bigger than some of his friend’s mothers who are driving him around – well, I think that the occasional front seat ride might be okay. I still insist he sit in the back when we hit the highway or will be on busier roads outside of our smaller suburb, but most of the time he’s up front with me.
I’ve found that I really like having a front seat rider. After my initial discomfort and adjustment, it’s kind of fun. He’s responsible for the music now, helps with navigation, chats more…and I feel less like a chauffeur. I’ve made sure his seat is set as far back as possible, just like guidelines suggest, and he always wears his seat belt, of course.
Moving to the front seat has been a real rite of passage for Alfs – and for me. Before I know it, he’ll be learning to drive and I’ll be in the passenger seat (stomping an imaginary brake pedal on the floor). Hopefully not too soon, though – he has lots of music to introduce me to.