Tuesday, August 07, 2001

Get back!

There's a commercial for a restaurant chain that's been running constantly on the radio station I listen to lately, and it involves children squabbling to see who gets to sit in the front seat. And I have to tell those advertisers, this never makes me want to run to that restaurant. What it makes me do is think: Are they nuts? Who lets children sit in the front seat anymore?

Apparently, a lot of people. I was shocked to read of a recent study that found a third of kids in cars riding shotgun. I thought the advent of airbags had put an end to that sort of thing. I thought everybody stowed their rugrats in the backseat, further away from a front-end collision. I thought wrong.

Now, of course, I certainly did sit in the front seat when I was a kid. This was way, way, waaaaaaaaaay before airbags, and before cars that were built like soup cans. And even much more recently, when we first adopted our kids, I remember having my littlest one's carseat in front, because how would I get to him if he started crying and he was behind me? I'm not sure when we made the switch, but I certainly do remember him being behind me, and how I would hand french fries over my shoulder one by one to give him a snack on the way home from his Early Intervention sessions. Seemed like a pretty good way to have an accident right there, but at least my guy would be properly seated for it.

I guess I'm just a conformist, doing what the Powers that Be tell me, ignoring my children's pleas for front-seatage. I thought those labels on the visors of front seats, with the warnings to seat kids in back and the drawing of a car-seated baby being knocked about by an airbag, were convincing enough for anyone. I didn't believe my daughter when she swore that every other kid her age gets to sit in the front, and only mean moms make them ride with their little brothers. Who knew?

I'll keep my kids in the back anyway, of course, because then, if I roll down the windows and turn the stereo up real loud, I can't hear them fight. But when I really think about it, it does strike me that since my daughter, at age 11, is now a good three inches taller than me, she can probably sit in front of an airbag more safely than I can. Perhaps she should be sitting in front, and I should be sitting in back. She'd love that, alright.

But no matter how many studies she shows me, I'm not letting her drive.

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