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8 thoughts on “Children under 13 must ride in the back seat, if possible

  1. I often wonder where the people who write these laws are thinking.

    ““If there are more child passengers under age 13 than there are rear seat positions, that also would be an acceptable ‘where practical’ example. Again, the provisions indicated in the above sentence apply.”

    If there are more children than seats, (assuming that “more” is not “one”, who could be in the front passenger seat, is not the vehicle overloaded? This is ok?

    There are times…


  2. I have a couple questions if you could do a follow up. The RCW does not define practical. What gives the police authority to define practical over the parent?
    Also I have an older extended cab pickup. It has shoulder belts in the back but no head rests so your head hits again the rear window. I consider this unsafe if there should be a collision and have my under 13 child ride up front. Do I not get to decide that this is practical?

    This RCW is government overreach at its best. There may have been a time, but modern cars have adjustable shoulder belts and air bags that automatically turn off due to weight and now apparently a good parent can’t define practical for all the situations that can’t all be written in a RCW.

    1. I really wish people would use more common sense and we would have fewer laws and regulations regarding parental decisions and what is and isnt practical. Let’s be serious here at the age of 13 I was over 6 ft tall. In the fourth grade I was 5’6 this is taller than a very large percentage of licensed drivers….I have 5 children and they are all going to be very tall and big. Why would they have to sit in the backseat until 13 when they are most likely going to be taller than most adults by the age of 10? This should be a height requirement and not an age…so stupid

      1. Bone ossification has more to do with seat placement than how big or tall someone is. Tall children are still children with unfused pelvises and cervical spine. This is why there are a number of factors to consider in seat placement and proper restraint – age, height and weight. Not every parent is going to know about the various factors (obviously) so there are laws that help keep kids safe.

  3. I’ve often wondered about motorcycle passengers. Many times I’ve seen a child riding on the back of a bike, hanging onto the driver. No rules for that?

  4. Here is something else to considers, Has anyone seen what most 13 year olds look like nowdays. They look like grown adults. So how can they make the determination that someone is 13. My 13 yr old is bigger than me. He is over 6 foot tall. Been like that for about 2 years. He weighs about 165 and has been shaving since the 6th grade. Along with most of his friends. Now my 15 year old is not even 5 ft yet and barely breaks 100 lbs. And I would like to mention the 13 yr old girls look like they are graduating high school soon. My daughter just got her license and she is not much bigger that my 15 yr old. she barely reaches the peddle, but she is legal to drive even though she looks 12. If you dont believe me about the boys then go to a jr high football game and take a look at those boys and for the girls just go watch one of their sports games and take a look at those girls. (I know sounds creepy). But all I am saying is in my opinion most 13 yr olds look like grown people. And most have the size to look it. While some older kids dont look it. So why not go by size and not age. Because it seems odd that my youngest gets carded going through the gates on Bangor because he looks like an adult, but yet my oldest look like little kids and they dont. Kids are growing different these days. Some slower than other and others who look like the drank miracle grow. So while the law might make sense, it just seems stupid.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. My children are huge and going to be very tall, why do they have to sit in the backseat when they are going to be taller than a huge percent of licensed drivers by age 10/11?

  5. Thanks for bring the under 13 law to my attention. I was well aware that children under age 8 should be in booster seats, but I had never previously heard about this rule. This is probably typical of most grandparents. I suppose the under 13 law was discussed in schools, but it was not spread to the general public.

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