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Old 09-22-2013, 05:42 AM   #1
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Car Seat Placement in Car?

I assume I'll need to check my car seat manuals to see whether this is possible for our cars, but is it safer (if you only have one) to keep the car seat in the center seat position? We have a Subaru outback and Volvo XC70 and Britax convertibles in each.

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Old 09-22-2013, 05:44 AM   #2
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Center is safest ad long as it's allowed by the car manufacturer

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Old 09-23-2013, 05:07 AM   #3
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Re: Car Seat Placement in Car?

No, center seat is not the safest place in the car although most believe so. If we look at all factors the safest place for a rear facing child is actually front passenger seat with deactivated airbag. This is not possible in most US cars so not applicable in this situation. This position is for example used extensively in Sweden where car seat safety is 30 years ahead of US an other countries.

Rear center is not any safer than the outer positions when we look at all factors. Preferred place is behind passenger seat. Avoid position behind drivers seat if possible since entering and entering in traffic is not a good idea.

Using center position usually works poorly for practical reasons. Fit is often far worse and parents also buckle their kids in more poorly.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Adventuredad
No, center seat is not the safest place in the car although most believe so. If we look at all factors the safest place for a rear facing child is actually front passenger seat with deactivated airbag. This is not possible in most US cars so not applicable in this situation. This position is for example used extensively in Sweden where car seat safety is 30 years ahead of US an other countries. Rear center is not any safer than the outer positions when we look at all factors. Preferred place is behind passenger seat. Avoid position behind drivers seat if possible since entering and entering in traffic is not a good idea. Using center position usually works poorly for practical reasons. Fit is often far worse and parents also buckle their kids in more poorly.
Our US curriculum and studies would disagree, as do I.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:57 PM   #5
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A couple friends are fire fighters and they both have said the back passenger right side is the least safe due to left hand turns.
Also those that say the middle is not safe must also think that rear facing isn't safer than forward facing- we all know rear facing is safer because it puts the baby's (head and spine in alignment) head closer to the center part of the car so how would the middle seat be less safe if it puts baby more in the middle of the car?

I have my baby in the middle in my car
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:14 PM   #6
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A couple friends are fire fighters and they both have said the back passenger right side is the least safe due to left hand turns. Also those that say the middle is not safe must also think that rear facing isn't safer than forward facing- we all know rear facing is safer because it puts the baby's (head and spine in alignment) head closer to the center part of the car so how would the middle seat be less safe if it puts baby more in the middle of the car? I have my baby in the middle in my car
While I'm sure your friends are well meaning, the statistics we have tell us there's no difference in safety when talking about driver vs. passenger side. We do have data indicating that the center has an increased measure of safety, however, a proper install always trumps seating position in the car. Logistics and convenience will come into play and what works for one family may not work for another. I am most concerned about making sure the car seat is installed and used properly and less concerned about where it is in the car.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
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Re: Car Seat Placement in Car?

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Originally Posted by Sarah-B View Post
A couple friends are fire fighters and they both have said the back passenger right side is the least safe due to left hand turns.
Also those that say the middle is not safe must also think that rear facing isn't safer than forward facing- we all know rear facing is safer because it puts the baby's (head and spine in alignment) head closer to the center part of the car so how would the middle seat be less safe if it puts baby more in the middle of the car?

I have my baby in the middle in my car
If anyone bothered to look at the guys siggy who made the front seat comment, you would notice a link to a site that advocates rear facing & that his 3.5 yo is rfing still. So making the assessment that he wouldn't care about that is kind of off base.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Hum Bums

If anyone bothered to look at the guys siggy who made the front seat comment, you would notice a link to a site that advocates rear facing & that his 3.5 yo is rfing still. So making the assessment that he wouldn't care about that is kind of off base.
Lol
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:22 AM   #9
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Re: Car Seat Placement in Car?

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Lol
Lol indeed. I was only talking about RFing, not that they should be in the front seat. I also think that sounds crazy. Not just from an accident standpoint. I would imagine that it would be extremely distracting to the driver..
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:04 AM   #10
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Re: Car Seat Placement in Car?

AdventureDad's well meaning reply is based on European vehicles in Europe and is not relevant to North American vehicles in North America. We have the statistics to back up the fact that the rear center seat is the safest for a child seat provided you can get a proper install in that seating position. It is VERY difficult to get a waiver to have your airbag deactivated in the US, and even more difficult to find a shop that is willing to take on the liability associated with disabling an airbag. You have to have a very good medical reason to get NHTSA to consider issuing such a waiver.

*FOR LURKERS OR ANYONE CONSIDERING PUTTING A CHILD IN THE FRONT SEAT* An airbag sensor is not a reliable way to keep your airbag from activating in an accident. A simple electrical malfunction can cause your airbag to deploy in an accident. Frontal airbags kill rear facing children. The head does not always stay on the dummy when they're crash testing this. Do not ever put a rear facing child in front of an active airbag.

Back to the rear center seat: many vehicles/car seats do not allow you to borrow the outboard LATCH anchors to install a car seat with LATCH in the center. Please read your vehicle's owners manual to see where your lower anchors are placed. If LATCH is not available for that seating position, you will need to use the vehicle seat belt to install the seat. Make sure you lock the seat belt or use a built in lockoff. If your car is MY 1997 or newer, your belts lock in some way. Your vehicle owner's manual should be able to tell you how to lock the seat belt. Your car seat owner's manual will tell you how to install with a seat belt.

As far as one side over the other in the rear, the difference in safety of one side over the other is statistically insignificant.
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