As my son gets older, he likes to ask "can I ride in the front seat?". That's a great question. I wasn't clear on the answer nor the legal repercussions.

He just turned 10 and I can remember wanting to ride in the front seat at his age. Truth be told, I was riding in the front seat when I was 5. Keep in mind, this was in the late 70's, one of our food groups at school lunch was lead paint chips. I loved riding in the front seat because I felt like a "grownup" and I could see the road coming at us.

When I asked my son why he wants to ride in the front seat or why he likes it (he's ridden to the store) he says:

I want to sit next to you, dad.

That works for me, however I need to be smart.

If you get pushback from your kids because you are trying to keep them safe, here are the guidelines in Michigan according to

The synopsis:

Children age 4 and up can legally sit in the front seat of a car in Michigan, but children between the ages of 4 and 8, and under 4′ 9″ in height, must sit in a car seat.

The full text of the law dictates that a child who is “less than 8 years of age and who is less than 4 feet 9 inches in height shall be properly secured in a child restraint system in accordance with the child restraint manufacturer’s and vehicle manufacturer’s instructions and [federal safety] standards”

The same law states that the only children who must be positioned in a car’s rear seat are those who are “less than 4 years of age”, and they must also be “properly secure[d]” in “a child restraint system.”

Arguably, that means that if a child is 8 years of age or older or is 4′ 9″ or taller, then he or she need not be secured in a “child restraint system,” but, instead, may use a “safety belt” as provided for in Michigan’s Seat Belt Law.

Although there doesn't seem to be a clear line in the sand, if your child is 8 or older or is 4'9" or taller, they do not need a child seat. Securing your child with a seatbelt is the most important thing. My son is 10 and is 4'9", I am comfortable with him riding in the front seat. Unfortunately he doesn't get the chance often because we tend to travel as a family.

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