I don't want a heated argument either...
I take the nephews on rides around town once in a while, but I'm super cautious about things with a kid in the vehicle since there is so little protection, and the vehicle wasn't built for kids.
The one they like to ride in is also a '73.
One thing to remember, in '73, the 'Jeep' was still a 'Utility Truck' and was exempt from even the 'Passenger Car' regulations for safety.
The only 'Safety' features my '73 CJ have are the sport bar, seat belts and collapsible steering column.
The sport bar *Might* save you if you turn over gently, but we've all seen what happens to them when they impact sideways with a good amount of force.
Seat belts will do a lot to keep you in the vehicle, but with no shoulder straps, they wouldn't do much for a kid,
And they would do nothing for a side impact.
You have to remember, in '73, back seat belts were optional (along with the back seat).
'73 has low back buckets, no head rests, no whiplash protection. I've been whiplashed a couple of times in my current '73 in the past 6 or 7 years (mostly backing into things I shouldn't have, or playing 'Bumper Tag' with my buddies)...
It doesn't take much of a jolt from the rear to REALLY shake your world up with those low back buckets.
'73 still has a hard steering wheel, not a collapsible steering wheel like the newer models.
I wouldn't want to take that hard steering wheel with no center padding to the face in the event of a front end collision...
I personally (opinion, so don't flame me) don't think the older CJ's are safe at highway speeds, just too much metal and too many things that can go wrong.
There is a reason the older CJs because the 'Wide Track' and longer wheel base versions we have today.
Between steering problems, short/narrow wheel base, and lack of padding/safety features I'm VERY aware of the stuff that can go wrong.
I don't subject kids to high speed traffic in my Jeep, and anyone that puts a kid on the passenger side without a full cage and safety seat sized for a kid is just asking for trouble.
Nothing wrong with taking a kid wheeling, I'm not saying that.
I'm saying if you spend $2,000 on tires, gears, chrome,
Why not spend a few bucks on the cage, reasonable seat with some side protection and kid size belts,
And at least a biking helmet for the kid...
Little heads/necks with developing brains are MUCH easier to damage than some thick skulls and fully developed necks most of us have...
(And there are some SERIOUSLY thick skulls in the group that wheels around here
I see it every holiday weekend in the off road parks around here,
Kids bouncing around in the back seats, no roll protection, no helmets, no seat belts...
The trail patrol (usually with a deputy sheriff in the vehicle) has to take drunken wheelers off the trail and tell people to strap their kids in just about every day.
Folks letting their kids go ripping around on bikes and 4 wheelers with no helmets exceeding the speed limits, jumping crossings of trails, coming at you the wrong way on the trails around blind curves, ect.
The other thing about driving such a narrow Jeep is people don't think they need to cross the center line when they pass you,
Many times I've had people, from small pickups to tractor & trailers pass me without getting over the center line.
I get crowded off on the shoulder or in the grass to get away from them.
Since I'm not using but about half the lane, they think the other half of MY LANE is free to pass me in...
(Same deal when riding my motorcycle).
People pull right out in front of you since you are 'Small' and they think you can slow down or stop because you are 'Small'...
It's up to you, what you think is safe, but if it were my kids, anything other than rides around the farm or the occasional ride in the Jeep around side streets in town would be ruled out since I don't want to be responsible for a kid getting hurt, even if we ruled out the drunks, stoned, people that ignore stop signs/lights, ect.