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Letting Children with ADHD Ride Shotgun

Do you allow your children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to ride in the passenger seat of the car?

One of my daughter Natalie’s main goals in life is to grow big enough to be allowed to sit in the front seat of the car. At age 9, she’s a petite, little thing, and my mama-law requires that she reach 5 feet tall and 100 pounds before risking the chance of facing down an airbag. I’m a stickler for enforcing this rule — no exceptions. But last weekend, Nat, who is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sweet-talked Daddy into letting her sit in the front seat of his vehicle while running some Saturday morning errands. Nat was ecstatic; she felt so grown up! Relegated to the back seat, I was less so.

It didn’t take long before Don was regretting his decision to let Nat ride shotgun, but not out of concern that she could be squished like a moth hitting a windshield, should the airbag deploy. No, his change of heart stemmed from Nat’s sometimes overwhelming ADHD-fueled impulsivity and curiosity. Sitting in the front opened a whole new world to her; one she just had to explore! She pushed every button, turned every knob, opened every compartment, and, best of all, discovered his stash of parking meter change — all the while asking questions: What’s this for? What does this do? What’s in here?

I think it’s safe to say that my husband, Don, will take a renewed interest in protecting his daughter from potential injury from an airbag — as well as in saving his vehicle’s controls from her busy, little fingers!

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