View Poll Results: When do your kids ride in cars without booster seats and when do they sit up front?

27. You may not vote on this poll
  • No car seat/booster: Age 6

    1 3.70%
  • No car seat/booster: Age 7

    3 11.11%
  • No car seat/booster: Age 8

    8 29.63%
  • No car seat/booster: Age 9

    6 22.22%
  • Up front: 6-7

    1 3.70%
  • Up front: 8-9

    0 0%
  • Up front: 10 -11

    3 11.11%
  • Up front: 11 - 12

    3 11.11%
  • Up front: 13 and Up

    14 51.85%
  • Never!

    3 11.11%
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  1. #11


    My nine year old still rides in a booster. Legally, she could ride without one, but she's small and it doesn't fit correctly yet.

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  3. #12
    Senior Member Arrived TFZ's Avatar
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    When I was teaching there were 9 year old fourth graders that were taller and heavier than me. I think it's a height/weight thing in FL. But, then one of my friends would be driving her kids around from the back seat.
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

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  4. #13


    My state's law.....this is what I followed for my second boy, cause by the time the law was enacted my older was huge beyond the height-weight rules.

    Effective June 1, 2007, children less than eight years old must be restrained in child restraint systems, unless the child is four feet nine inches or taller. A child who is eight years old or older, or four feet nine inches or taller, must be properly restrained either with the motor vehicle's safety belt or an appropriately fitting child restraint system. Children under thirteen years old must be transported in rear seats where it is practical to do so.

    The fine for improperly restrained children in motor vehicles is at least $112 per child.
    Homeschooling two sons (14 and 16) from day one. Atheist.
    Eclectic, Slackschooler covering 8th and 10th grades this year.

  5. #14


    Can't vote. Clearly a height/weight thing primarily.
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  6. #15
    Senior Member Evolved
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    Sep 2013


    Actually, when it comes to the laws, the vast majority of states only have age requirements for booster seats. Mostly less than 4-8 or 5-8. The height or weight comes into play only when the child is of booster seat age, but taller or heavier than a max - mostly 4'9" or 65 pounds, exempting them from having to be in a booster seat.

    Most states don't have an explicit law on riding in the front seat. A lot of states that don't mandate seat belts in the back seat (which is most) don't have a law on 8-18 yos and rear seat belts. In other words, kids 8 and older aren't required by law to wear a seat belt in the back seat.

    Of course, the age base is probably just for the practicality of enforcing the law.

    Newer cars with air bags usually have a mechanism to disengage car does, so the airbag is not the issue with the front seat.

    I started thinking about this when I read the Freakonomics book (entertaining, anyways, though not the last statement) and it has a chapter on kids' safety and car seats - there's no data on whether car seats actually help - seems the main benefit of the car seat might just be that it's in the back seat, which is safer for everybody, adults included.

    And there's evidence that car seats might not provide as much safety benefit as we think:

  7. #16


    Our pediatrician likes to joke with me that my kids are going to go to prom in a booster seat... he might be right....

  8. #17


    It depends on the car and the seat. The backseat of my Suburban is smaller than the captains chairs, I just let my 8 year olds out of the booster when they sit back there because the seatbelt fits them well without a booster (hits at the right spots on the shoulder and hip, seat is narrow so legs fall at 90degree angle). They cannot sit in the captains chair without a booster because it's deeper and the seatbelts comes out much higher so it won't hit them right on the shoulder- my 11 year old is just now big enough to sit there correctly without a booster. I said 12+ for the front seat, because most 12-13 year olds are the size of regular adults- at least mine is.
    Mom to 5 great kids~

  9. #18
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    Jan 2016


    I doubt if my child will be out of a booster until he's 11 or 12. He's not particularly tall or heavy. They've got some great ones these days like the Incognito that just blend in with the seat for the older kiddos, so I'm not really worried. Considering I'll harness to at least 6 years old I can't personally imagine taking a kid out of all car seat options at 8. As far as sitting up front goes, do I have to? I mean I kinda like my peace and quiet up in the front.

  10. #19
    Senior Member Evolved
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    Nov 2012
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    My state law requires 8 years or 80 lbs. Car seat techs recommend booster seats until 57". DS just turned 8 and is not quite 52", so he's still in a backless booster in our cars.

    For the front seat, it would be legal to put him there now, but I won't until he's tall enough to be getting uncomfortable in the back seat--maybe 12, based on family members' growth.

    I see no reason to do it earlier than necessary, unless I was regularly transporting larger numbers of kids.
    Mama of one DS, class of 2026;
    recovering schoolteacher;
    lifelong bookworm

  11. #20


    Ours has to be in his until he is 8 or 57 inches. He's just 6 and 50 inches already so I'm thinking height may be reached before age is. I hit 5ft6in by the time I was 10, and he's following my growth curve so he's going to be super tall early.

    The being in the back doesn't bother me. The thing that bugs me is the HUGE number of ppl who scream that you should rear face until 4. Seriously. 4. My kid outgrew all the rear facing car seats 5 years ago when he hit 1 (the largest was 32 inches long then). by 4, he was well over 3 feet tall. I'm convinced safety laws are designed for short, round kids, and not for tall beanpoles.

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What age for kids to be out of all seat restraints and ride up front?