I’m 5 feet 1 ½ inches … Am I tall enough for the front seat?”

That was the heartfelt question posed to us from 10-year-old Maggie – a plea I’m sure all parents receive on a regular basis from school-age children wanting to ride shotgun like their friends.

Despite the fact that most parents know their children are safest in the back seat until they reach an appropriate age, height or weight, studies show as many as 73 percent of 9-to 12-year olds are allowed to ride in the front seat on a regular basis.

But is it safe? Not before age 13, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and other car seat safety advocates.

It’s not easy saying “no” to kids like Maggie, especially when they see their friends doing it every day at school drop off and around town. And it doesn’t help that different states have different requirements.

But, according to the experts, front seat safety has everything to do with age, and little to do with height or weight. One reason is that before the age of 13, children’s bones are more vulnerable to the potential impact of deployed air bags.

So before giving in to a begging child, ask them if it’s really worth risking their safety so they can be cool in front of their friends. Below are a couple of links to videos and information to help you talk to your children about front seat safety.