29 answers

WHERE To Place Car Seat?

Hi everyone...so it seems when I see people's toddler forward facing seats they are not in the middle seat. Is it safer to have the child sit in it near a door and not in the middle?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Some cars that don't have LATCH also don't have a shoulder strap for the middle seat, sometimes the seat just doesn't fit, sometimes it's laziness. It varies widely why people put their toddlers to the sides. The safest place to put a car seat is always going to be the middle.

Hey B.

The safest spot for any car seat, including a froward-facing toddler's seat is in the middle. But if you are like me and have 2 kids, you will have to end up putting both on the sides so you can fit two in the back. But since you only have one now, put him in the center.

cheers,
C.

The middle is the safest, but sometimes that's just not feasible. As mentioned below, many cars don't have a shoulder strap in the middle. My daughter sits on the side simply because I have a bad back and just wouldn't be able to get her in the middle. Plus, my dh is paranoid about something coming through the windshield in an accident, and she would not be protected then. We did get a mid-size SUV so we'd be a bit higher than a good number of bumpers in case of an accident.

More Answers

hi. safest spot is in the middle of the backseat. if you have questions on installation contact chp. they will be glad to help.

It depends on the type of car and carseat. Backseat middle is best, but not all vehicles have back seats...Even some minivans have captains chairs all the way back.

About the carseat, once your child graduates to a booster seat, it HAS to go next to the door because the seat requires the shoulder strap to be used appropriately. The only exception is that some of the new cars have shoulder belts in the middle seat. :)

Hope this helps!

The middle is the safest, but sometimes that's just not feasible. As mentioned below, many cars don't have a shoulder strap in the middle. My daughter sits on the side simply because I have a bad back and just wouldn't be able to get her in the middle. Plus, my dh is paranoid about something coming through the windshield in an accident, and she would not be protected then. We did get a mid-size SUV so we'd be a bit higher than a good number of bumpers in case of an accident.

I've always heard that it's safer to place the car seat in the middle. I have my child's car seat checked by SafeKids occasionally and they always say it should be placed in this position.

The safest place for any child in a vehicle is in the center. This provides the least chance for anything coming in contact with your child should you be involved in an accident.

a lot of cars do not have shoulder belts on the seatbelt in the middle. I put my kids boosters on the seat and not in the middle because they have to have the shoulder belt. As for kids in regular car seats, I'm not sure. It would depend on if there are rear bag airbags and such i guess.

If your middle seat belt locks than that is the safest place - - - if it does not lock than the drivers side back seat is the safest. The most dangerous(most fatalities) occur on the passengers side of the car.

I have my son in the middle...it's defintitely where I feel he is safer. I think the kids that are sat on the side is more of a convenience than anything. Some cars don't really accommodate a carseat in the middle either. I'm with you, though, in putting them in the middle. I feel it is much safer!

It is always safer to have the car seat in the middle. Regardless of the type. Many people use the spot by the door because it is easier to reach.

the middle is best but it depends on the car my carseat won't fit in the middle it leans to the side so in my case i feel it's safier on the side

It depends on your car and the amount of space you have between the front and back rows on each side. When we first turned my son around (and when he was rear facing) we drove a contour and had to put him behind the passanger seat. My husband is very tall, so he couldn't fit in the driver seat with our son behind him. In the middle, the drivers seat would still crowd the car seat, so behind the passanger was the best choice. Now I drive a van, so he can sit anywhere (beside the front!) See how the seat fits in the different positions and choose what's best for you.

Hope this helped, -J

The safest spot is in the middle in the back seat. However, I think people are lazy and put them in the side because you won't have to lean in. Or they didn't read their manual and don't know.....

I just went to the local CHP office (had to make an appointment) because they actually give you information and help you install car seats properly. First, I would suggest you do the same. VERY INFORMATIVE - and that's coming from a second time mom! What was most interesting to me was that the officer told me that while state laws require kids face backwards for 1 year and 20 lbs, that isn't neccessarily the safest for them. Germany just past a law that all kids under 3 had to face backwards. It reduces the chance of spinal injuries and death greatly!

I asked the same question about where to place the seat - I have a good sized car and can't fit the infant seat in the center when the booster seat for my 5 year old is in the back too. He reminded me that the center is ALWAYS the safest spot - but sometimes you just can't do it. If that's the case, the way you drive can be even more important than the car seat placement... DRIVE LIKE YOU HAVE PRECIOUS CARGO ON BOARD!

Anyway, call the CHP and make an appointment. It was worth the 30 minutes of my day and I feel confident that my 2nd kiddo will actually be safer in his car seats than my 5 year old ever was!

:) good luck!

It is safest in the middle, I think some people just get lazy and put the seats by the doors because it's easier to get your child in and out.

I had the fire dept put my carseat in, and because of the way my seat is, it was safer to put the carseat on the sides (it's behind me) because in the middle the carseat would wiggle more then the allowed 1" . Good luck, just go to the fire dept, they put them in for free. good luck

I have heard that it is safer for the child to sit in the middle, but it all depends on your car seat as well. Some require for you to put it on a shoulder strap seat belt. Look at the requirements for your car seat.

M. *~

B.,

I had my car seat professionally installed and the installer said the safest place is absolutely in the middle rear facing. He also said that even though the books say that babies can turn to face the front at 1 year, that it is ideal for them to stay rear facing for longer (preferably until around 15 months)

A side note: I didn't originally have the infant seat professionally installed and I am so glad that I did when we moved to the next seat (Britax Boulevard) We could never have done it ourselves and I learned a ton about the angles and height adjustment. He even hooked up some tether strap from the back of the seat to the floor of the car. I would have never been able to figure that out. I definitly have peace of mind knowing that the car seat and my baby are NOT GOING ANYWHERE. It was worth every penny of the $35!

Best of luck with Austin and baby number 2!
K.

Hi there! It's always safest for the carseat to be in the middle, but as your child gets heavier (and squirmier) it's almost impossible to get them in the seat if it's in the middle. Some people opt to put it on the side to save their backs or to make it possible to even get your little person in the seat! Hope that was helpful!

Safe Kids installed my car seat and they said the safest spot is in the middle. My doctor and all the books I've read seem to agree. Now, you said that you are pregnant, so am I, so unfortunately, I will need to move her to the side because I won't be able to have them both in the middle. I hope this helps.

Hi-

Everything I've read says to keep kids in the middle but I know some cars seats, when put in the forward-facing position don't fit on the seat as well so they need to on the sides. When we had our second son, the infant seat wouldn't fit next to our older son's booster seat properly so the baby had to go on the side. If you have to put your older son's carseat on the side, I'd reccomend putting it on the passenger side so if you park at the curb, then you're not getting him out of the car in traffic. I've always gone to our local CHP when I need to have carseats in stalled....they do it for free but you have to make an appointment. Check w/your CHP & see if they can help out. Refer to the directions of your toddler's carseat & also check out the web site. Good luck! Congrats on #2!

B.,

They are safest in the middle but it depends also on how well the carseat fits where you place it and if it is installed tightly and correctly. My older son always rode in the middle until we had our younger son. Now they both ride on the sides because the seats won't fit next to each other - and we couldn't put them both in the middle anyway.

I think the reason most folks put the seat by the door is because it is more convenient and easier to get the child in and out of the car. I actually moved my older son's seat to the side when I was about 7 months pregnant because I couldn't lift him into the middle anymore.

T.

Hey B.

The safest spot for any car seat, including a froward-facing toddler's seat is in the middle. But if you are like me and have 2 kids, you will have to end up putting both on the sides so you can fit two in the back. But since you only have one now, put him in the center.

cheers,
C.

We have our daughter's car seat in the middle, because if you are in an accident and hit from the side the child will be as far from the point of impact as possible. It also keeps her from playing with the windows and possibly getting fingers caught

I say the middle is the safest. Only because if you get hit on the side the child will get hit, and if the window is up at the time the glass can shatter and hit him. Just the impact alone will hurt him. Thats all I am going to say so I dont scare you. The middle if you can, I think is the best.

The safest place is where you can get a good tight fit, no more than an inch of movement side-to-side for front-to-back at the belt path(where the seatbelt or LATCH straps go through the seat).

We(car seat techs) recomend that it be placed in the middle of the back seat since that is furthest away from the impact. HOWEVER, if you cannot get a good tight installation there, then any other position(except the front seat) is fine.

http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/lockincss.aspx

The police department will say, children under the age of 1, must be rear facing. All other children should face forward and be in the middle seat. However..... it really depends on the car you drive, I feel. I mean if you drive a SUV, it may actually be easier to put the carseat next to the door, so you don't have to jump in and out to get your child. If you have a van, something. If you have more than one carseat --- well, one has to be by a door. Just do what you are comfortable with.

Hope that helps.
Tammy

Some cars that don't have LATCH also don't have a shoulder strap for the middle seat, sometimes the seat just doesn't fit, sometimes it's laziness. It varies widely why people put their toddlers to the sides. The safest place to put a car seat is always going to be the middle.

Hello! The safest place is definitely the middle.

Congrats on your new pregnancy!

I was told by my daugter's doctor, it is suppose to be in the middle.

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