PROPOSAL TO PROHIBIT CHILD PASSENGERS UNDER 13 IN FRONT SEAT

By Bob Katzen

The Senate gave initial approval to a proposal that would prohibit a child under age 13 from riding in the front seat of a car unless the motor vehicle does not have a rear passenger seat or the rear passenger seat is occupied by other passengers under 13.

    Supporters said that in 2014, 602 children ages 12 and younger died in motor vehicle crashes and more than 121,350 were injured. They noted that research and statistics show that the back seat is safer for kids 13 and under because until a child has a mature skeleton, the protection provided by a seat belt is not as optimal as it is for an adult. They noted the back seat is safer because it is furthest away from three things responsible for most injuries and deaths: the windshield, the dashboard and the airbag. 

   Some people say that the backseat recommendation is based on population studies, and is not always applicable to each individual or vehicle.

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