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12 year old safer in rear or front seat?

Lump

Active Member
Mar 31, 2013
2,617
2,399
So. Cal.
My boy turns 12 so he has been wiating to sit in the front especially since "all the other kids do it", historically the rear has been safer in ICE cars but with the MS & its crumple zone in the front its difficult to compare, we had a talk & I explained its safer in the rear seats & he is OK with that but wondered if anyone had any data or thoughts.
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,056
1,141
Charlotte, NC
Rear. The moose will kill people in the front seat,but might not make it to the back.

After watching MythBusters on this, I'm inclined to agree. I'd just add that him wearing a seatbelt is also a requirement, otherwise all bets are off!

I hope I don't offend anyone with this... I lost two family members in a bad car accident where the driver and front passenger were wearing seatbelts and survived, but the two family members in the back were not wearing their seatbelts and were ejected from the car. Stay safe and always wear your seatbelt!
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,319
2,667
Redmond, WA
It's been years since I've checked, but I looked in to government and industry data on accidents when I was shopping for cars to tote my kids around in. Rear seat seemed pretty clearly a winner; the most common and severe injury/death accidents are from the front so that gives them more crumple zone and softer surfaces.

Next consideration is being struck from the side. If there's only one kid, putting them in the middle of the rear seat is best if you can.

(Many people worry about small crumple zones from the back with 3rd-row seats, but most accidents at the rear have comparatively low speed deltas so that doesn't contribute much to injuries, so the 3rd row is probably roughly similar to the second row).
 

Lump

Active Member
Mar 31, 2013
2,617
2,399
So. Cal.
He is 60" tall & always wears a seat belt.

We live in Los Angeles, so no moose, deer or other large animals to worry about, most pets around here get carried in designer bags or sit on the drivers lap.

Cyclone, sorry about your family's loss.

Found the California code

Child Car Seat[/h]As of January 1, 2012, all children must ride in car seat or booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. In addition, all kids younger than 8 years old, must be secured in the back seat.

When a Child May Ride in Front[/h]Children may ride in the front seat of a vehicle, but only when:

  • There is no rear seat or the rear seats are either side-facing jump seats or rear-facing seats.
  • The child passenger restraint system cannot be installed properly in the rear seat.
  • All rear seats are already occupied by children under the age of 8 years old
  • A medical reason requires the child to ride in the front seat.
Some vehicles, usually those with no backseats, come with an airbag-off switch for this purpose.


 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
9,963
18,006
North Bay, CA
Lump, it's your call as a parent, but I would be quite surprised if there were any statistical difference in the risk at your son's age and size. And that's especially true for a Model S. I have let my 8 year old (in California) ride up front a few times. Once was en route to school on his 8th birthday, because he could, and most of his friends did the same. We rarely can break 30 mph between my home and school, and it's only a couple of miles.

And there's no question that staying buckled in, front or back, child or adult, is your best choice for survival and minimizing injury.
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,010
4,611
McKinney, TX
Whenever possible I have my daughter buckle herself into the middle in the back seat. I feel like that's the best protection from front and side impacts.
 

supratachophobia

Active Member
Sep 24, 2014
3,850
2,678
Columbus, Ohio
My boy turns 12 so he has been wiating to sit in the front especially since "all the other kids do it", historically the rear has been safer in ICE cars but with the MS & its crumple zone in the front its difficult to compare, we had a talk & I explained its safer in the rear seats & he is OK with that but wondered if anyone had any data or thoughts.

There is a weight requirement too, so the car can properly set the airbags. But what does the manual say?

- - - Updated - - -

Whenever possible I have my daughter buckle herself into the middle in the back seat. I feel like that's the best protection from front and side impacts.

Statistically, overall, the seat directly being the driver is the safest. EMT's call it the " survivor " spot for a reason.
 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
9,963
18,006
North Bay, CA
Statistically, overall, the seat directly being the driver is the safest. EMT's call it the " survivor " spot for a reason.

I think that's only in the case that the middle seat is unavailable. That is, assuming a 4 person loaded car. Statistically the middle rear seat is 25% safer than the rear sides.
 

Lump

Active Member
Mar 31, 2013
2,617
2,399
So. Cal.
There is a weight requirement too, so the car can properly set the airbags. But what does the manual say?
He weighs 100 lbs so meets all of the requirements but he will stay in the rear seats, he knows safety was one of the top reasons I purchased a Tesla so he understands the situation.

Page 34 of the manual...

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 8.51.48 AM.png
 

supratachophobia

Active Member
Sep 24, 2014
3,850
2,678
Columbus, Ohio
I think that's only in the case that the middle seat is unavailable. That is, assuming a 4 person loaded car. Statistically the middle rear seat is 25% safer than the rear sides.

Yes, true, but if you look at the statistics of crashes overall, specifically the fact that there are more front end collisions than t-bones, by the numbers, the seat behind the driver is safer for some reason.

In other words, if you has one wreck of each type, middle seat is safer. But if you had 100 of one and 10 of the other, the stats start to get skewed in favour of the behind driver seat.
 

green1

Active Member
Mar 25, 2014
4,548
1,121
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Statistically, the safest would be the rear facing seats if he fits, then the back seat, and the front is the least safe, but it has nothing to do with his age or size, it's just that the safest way to ride in any vehicle is facing backwards, and then as far away from the front or back of the vehicle as possible.

If he meets the appropriate height and weight limits, then he's no less safe in the front seat than any other adult is, so no reason to "penalize" him by forcing him to ride in the back.
 

jsm

Member
Jul 15, 2015
104
16
Northridge, CA
My son just turned 12 - he is 61", 117lbs. I prefer him in the back, but am letting him sometimes sit upfront. He does enjoy the middle seat in back, he can see everything from there, but prefers the front seat. He researched the CA laws and told us that he is now allowed to sit upfront.....
 

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,674
1,484
Huntington Beach, CA
I think that's only in the case that the middle seat is unavailable. That is, assuming a 4 person loaded car. Statistically the middle rear seat is 25% safer than the rear sides.

Bear in mind that those statistics include all cars, most of which perform poorly in side impact collision. Tesla's outstanding side-pole impact performance (9" intrusion, IIRC) and side curtain air bags would probably reduce that to 5% or so. Presumably the behind the driver statistic comes from moose-through-the-windshield types of accidents.
 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
9,963
18,006
North Bay, CA
Bear in mind that those statistics include all cars, most of which perform poorly in side impact collision. Tesla's outstanding side-pole impact performance (9" intrusion, IIRC) and side curtain air bags would probably reduce that to 5% or so. Presumably the behind the driver statistic comes from moose-through-the-windshield types of accidents.

Yeah, I mostly stick to my first comment, which was that in the Model S, the statistical difference is likely small between the seats. And if you're actually doing risk assessment, you need to multiply by the low risk of actually being in an accident. P(front seat safety | accident) is much different than P(front seat safety & accident). Not to say that the difference shouldn't be considered, of course.
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
5,738
6,977
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Rear. I'm just guessing but I would bet that statistically there are much less high speed rear collisions. While a high speed rear collision can happen, I would bet that they are rare compared to high speed front end collisions.

You are the parent, so make the decision that makes you feel the most comfortable.

I point this out all the time but the most dangerous thing that any of us do on a regular basis is drive a car. As a good philosophy for teaching your children is to never make a hobby out of something where the end result is death. My best friend came to that conclusion when his friend, a parachutist, had a failure and died. As human beings, we make mistakes. If a mistake can lead to death and something you do on a regular basis has a result that can be death then you raise your possibility by doing it regularly by quite a bit.

Sorry for the rant. It just makes sense when considering safety. Cars feel like safe environments since we are enclosed in them. The reality is that they are very heavy machines moving at very high speeds amongst other heavy machines moving at very high speeds. There is a lot of energy involved in even very low speeds. Luckily, a Tesla is about as safe as you can get.

Good luck.
 

AuKirk

Member
Aug 16, 2015
28
0
Baltimore, MD
It is always safer to sit in the back... I even tell my wife she should sit back there. However, realistically, we don't drive around with adult passengers in the back and your son is going to want to sit up front. As long as he is large enough and tall enough to be properly restrained by the belt in the front, I don't think it is necessary to keep him in the back just because of a slight safety difference. When we have self-driving cars, we can all sit in the back, then that's where the kids will want to be.
 

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