Installing a new car seat can often feel like rocket science.
It’s not quite rocket science, but close.
You probably have a lot of questions when it comes to car seat safety.
We’re gonna tackle one of those today.
Where should you position baby’s seat in your car?
The choices can seem overwhelming — especially if you have more than one child.
There isn’t a cut and dry answer, but there are some guidelines that can help you figure out the best spot.
Where is the safest position for a car seat?
Statistically, the rear middle seat is the safest place for a baby’s car seat.
In fact, according to a recent study, the rear middle seat is actually 43% safer than other positions in the vehicle.
This is because there are no passenger airbags in the back seat and in a collision, the car seat won’t take a direct hit from any direction.
That doesn’t mean you can’t safely install a car seat in the rear passenger or driver’s side seat.
In fact, the rear passenger seat is a popular choice.
This is, in part, because the rear passenger seat gives parents a better view of baby in the backseat.
Car seats should not be installed in the front seat. This is unsafe and not recommended.
No matter where you install your little one’s seat, the most important factor is that it is installed according to manufacturer instructions.
One factor to consider is where the seat fits best in your car.
This will be different for every seat and every car, but there are times when you can’t get a good install in a certain position.
If that’s the case, try other positions until you find the best fit.
What if I have more than one child in a car seat?
If you have more than one child in a car seat, it makes installation a bit more difficult.
You have to figure out where the car seats fit best, if your child is wearing a puffy baby coat, and also the positioning that works best for your individual situation.
If you have a newborn, you may not want to reach over a toddler to put them in the middle seat.
Or, if you have a child in a booster seat who can get in and out independently, you may consider putting them in a position where they can help a younger sibling with their buckles if needed.
If you have a small backseat and three kids in car seats, you’ll find you need space-efficient seats in order to fit everyone safely.
Every family is unique and sometimes arranging car seats can feel a bit like playing Tetris (remember that game!?).
But when you find a setup that works for you, it’s worth the relief knowing you’ve done everything in your power to ensure your kids are safe in the event of an accident.
What if I have a third-row vehicle?
If you have a van or SUV with a third row, the same points as above still apply.
One thing to consider is that if you’re buckling and unbuckling a baby or toddler, the third row will make it harder to get to their seat.
You can put kids who are a bit bigger and more independent in the back and keep younger kids in the middle row and it will make life a bit easier on everyone.
Either way, third row or not, always follow manufacturer instructions when installing your child’s car seat.
What is the takeaway?
Here’s the bottom line.
As long as you’re following the car seat manufacturer instructions and referring to your vehicle manual, you can rest assured that your car seat is installed properly.
If you have specific questions or are struggling with installing your seat(s), get in touch with your local CPST. You can find one through Safe Kids Worldwide or in Canada search cpsac.org/findatech
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