Originally Posted by AnnieA
Current research suggests that kids should not ride in the front seat until they are 15 yrs old. It has nothing to do with the height or weight of the children but more to do with the fact that their bodies are chainging so rapidly due to puberty and the force from the airbag or a crash has different results on their bodies. See this link
and this link
. For the second link, click on "Boosters and Belt Fit" and then scroll to the bottom. You will see "The back seat is the safest part of the car for all passengers. Recent research shows that children should ride in the back seat until they reach age 15."
ETA: My DSC will not be riding in the front seat until they turn 15. The risks are greater than the benefits IMO.
I find it interesting that this rule has to do with "rapid growth" yet it doesn't distinguish between teen girls and teen boys. Many girls are finished growing by 14, while boys tend to stop growing much older. I was fully grown at 16, while my brother didn't stop growing until around 20. At age 15, I was nearly my adult size and growth had slowed down quite a bit. My brother was still waiting for his big growth spurt, which occured while he was already old enough to drive!
My general rule is that I won't allow teenagers in the front seat of my van unless the van is full and there are no other available seats. In those situations, the biggest or oldest teen goes in the front.