Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Get back

A recent survey for the National Safety Council's Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign confirms what I've known for some time: Large numbers of parents are allowing their under-12 children to sit in the front seat of the car, despite danger from air bags and in spite of the fact that kids are always safer in the back, air bag or no. I could have saved the NSC some serious dough and all that survey effort if they'd just asked me: I get more proof that parents are letting little kids ride shotgun every time my son whines about another of his friends, "But his mom lets him ride in the front seat!"

Because I am a mean cheerless mom who doesn't let my kids do things that every other kid in the world gets to do, I do indeed insist that my 10-year-old ride in the back seat. I also insist that he sit in a booster seat, which is about as popular. He's taken to sneaking in the back seat now and buckling up without the booster and hoping I don't notice. But the NSC says he'll need that boost until he's 4'9" -- which, I can't help but reflect, is only one inch shorter than my own short self. Personally, I'd be more than happy to sit in the back seat, far away from airbags that are no more made for diminutive 44-year-olds than for children under 12. If they can create all these fancy schmancy airbags and make all this big to-do about safety, surely they could make a car that drives from the rear? It'd bring a whole new meaning to back-seat driver.

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