32 answers

Which Side to Put the Second Car Seat?

I have a two year old now in a forward facing seat in the middle. Next year, we will have baby #2 and the infant seat will have to go in the middle (the only way I can fit a rear facing seat in my Jetta), so I can't decide which side is best to put the toddler seat. Do any of you have any definite preferences (and maybe reasons why) to choose one side over the other?

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I chose to put the infant in the middle and the older one behind the passanger seat. That way if the older one needed anything, I could still reach her...and see her better.

I personally would put it on the side opposite of where the gas tank is in case there is an accident involving that side where the possibility of a fire is more likely.

Like other posts, I have also read that children are safer behind the driver because the driver will instinctivly swerve to protect her side of the car if about to be involved in a wreck.
I do not think that it is a good idea to put the child behind the passenger seat for ease of passing things back and forth to the child. Drivers need to focus on driving and train children to not distract the driver by asking for things to be passed back and forth.

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I put it on the passenger side of the backseat. It was easier to check on him or hand him something. It was nice having him next to the baby to give him back a pacifier or something. Something I'd wished I'd had when he was a baby!

1 mom found this helpful

Ok, if I have this right, a jetta is kind of small, so I'd put the baby in the center and the toddler on the passenger side. Here's why. You can get the infant seat in and out from your side of the car. Load the baby into the stroller, etc. if you need to without getting toddler out and without walking around the car (you won't be able to get infant out of the car from the side your toddler is on weather or not he's in the car or not.) Then, once you've got the baby loaded, you get the toddler out and you can hold his hand from the beginning. If you get the toddler out first, you'll be asking him to stand next to you while you get the baby out and hope that he doesn't wonder for the few seconds it takes you to get the baby out (it takes both hands). It's a safety thing. When you get the infant out first, you can set the infant seat on the ground right by your feet so nothing happens to him and get the toddler out without worrying that the baby will run away!

Next reason is so when you are out with just the infant, it's easier to do everything from 1 side of the car.

Last reason for this set up would be that you can hand the toddler things from the front seat easier than if he's behind you. For instance, you have his sippy cup, you stop at McDonald's and want to hand him a fry...you can just reach back and he can grab it. You can have extra pacifiers for the baby that you can hand to the toddler and he can then put in the baby's mouth while you are driving if you need him to.

1 mom found this helpful

Like other posts, I have also read that children are safer behind the driver because the driver will instinctivly swerve to protect her side of the car if about to be involved in a wreck.
I do not think that it is a good idea to put the child behind the passenger seat for ease of passing things back and forth to the child. Drivers need to focus on driving and train children to not distract the driver by asking for things to be passed back and forth.

When I had 2 around that age, I put my oldest behind the passenger seat, so he wouldn't kick the back of my seat. I could move the passenger seat forward enough, so he couldn't reach it. I didn't want him to damage the back of the seat with his shoes.

Hello S.,

Lots of great responses. I just want to add that whichever side you choose, change your son to that side a few weeks before the baby is born so he doesn't feel like he lost his spot. Good luck and congrats! ~C.~

Hi S. - have you thought about a bigger car? The Jetta is a great little car but things are going to get really cramped in that back seat fast if the baby goes in the middle and the toddler to the side!

my older is higher maintenance than my younger; believe it or not. my infnnt was a sleeper in the car; so i put my toddler in a position that i communicate with her while driving (passenger side). i guess it depends on the kids and who is more high maintenance! good luck!

I like the passenger seat...it made it easier to hand things over to her and to turn to see her. I couldn't see either of them in my rear view mirror so I liked being able to turn my head and see both of them!

I like the toddler on the driver side. First, if you or your hubby are tall, then the infant carrier takes up more room behind the seat. But (and I have 3 kids, so I know how this is!!), you'll want to get your toddler in first, and out last. So having the baby on your side makes less running around the vehicle. Unless you think you can get them both in on one side (totally doable) then lifting the carrier over the toddler seat and snapping it in place works well. Congratulations on Baby #2!

The advantage to the driver's side is that (last I heard, anyway), you are statistically more likely to be hit on the passenger side. That said, I preferred placing my forward-facing daughter on the passenger side because I had easy eye-contact with her and could pass things to her (e.g. a pacifier for the baby) more easily. A less-distracted driver is a better driver! You may have to try different configurations to see what works best for you. Best of luck!!

Behind the driver seat because you can see him in the rear view mirror. IF you put him behind the passenger seat then you are in his direct line of sight, you may have to reach around the carseat to touch him to comfort him, and you will constantly be looking back while driving instead of the mirror while looking forward.

I work with a girl who is a carseat inspector. She says behind the driver is the best. If you are in an accident you are both on the same side of the car and your instinct is to swerve to protect yourself (therefore the baby too). Also, having the baby behind you decreases your turning around to hand the baby stuff, takes your eyes off of the road less. I have my daughter behind me and I know I have to wait until we are stopped to hand her anything. I also like the convenience of having her behind me, it is easier to get her in and out of the car, I dont have to walk all the way around the car to get to her.

Good luck!

If both kids are little I put the seats where there car buckles are side by side. That way a guest passenger in the back seat cannot accidently unbuckle the baby seat. If your other child will be in a booster seat that they will use the seat belt themselves I put away from car buckle. That sounds confusing, sorry.

I worried the seat would get unbuckled from the car and I would not know. It is tricky getting the carrier buckled tightly in the car and I did not want to do it more than necessary.

the passenger side. b/c when most people get in an accident it always seems to be on the driver's side that gets hit. plus its easier for me to reach back to the kid that way.

I prefer a car seat on the passenger side so I can see the child better both by turning my head and in the rear view mirror.

I always put my car seats directly behind me. That way I could hand things back to my child if I needed too without taking off my seat belt. With my vehicle I could still see them with my rear view mirror although not all cars are like that...

VickiS

I always put my toddler on the right side that way if i glance into the back seat while driving i can see him. If he is directly behind me than i can't see what he is doing when i look back.

i also have 2 kids and i have one on each side and the middle open, but when my son was a baby i have him facing back in the middle and my daughter on his left. This would be diagnal from the drivers seat. This way you can see the other child and reach them if you are alone in the car.

Once we had baby #2, we decided to place our preschooler on the passenger side. The main reasoning able to turn and see toddler easier on passenger side. Helps if you have to hand anything to the child such as a pacifer for the sibling :)

I liked having the car seat on the rear passenger side so that when I was driving, I could turn around and see and reach the toddler if necessary. If he was directly behind me, I couldn't see or reach him around my seat.

Congrats on Baby #2!

M.
International Recruiter of Home Based Champions

Hi S.,
Good question, and I helped raise my grand daughter, so my car had a car seat facing forward. I always had it on the (right rear,passenger side ).I adjusted my rear view mirror to see the traffic behind me , then did the flip down mirror for the night driving, and I could see child's face at all times. Another plus was if or when she dropped something, I could reach through the bucket seats to retrieve the toy or bottle. We had many hours of car trips , talking and smiling and checking on her . Hope this helps you , and congratulations on the baby # 2.
B.

I personally would put it on the side opposite of where the gas tank is in case there is an accident involving that side where the possibility of a fire is more likely.

I have my son on the passenger side. That way, if he kicks the back of the chair, he's not kicking MY chair! Also, I can see him easier when I turn around.

I would go passenger side. It is easier to check on the kids and as your toddler gets older they will start kicking and it would be nice to drive places without getting kicked in the back.

My thought would be to put your 2 year old on the right. I haven't experienced 2 car seat but I always think it would be idea to glance back and see the children. Also, not to have your toddler kicking the back of your seat while your driving. (that frustrates me and I don't like anyone behind me either.)

statistically, the seat behind the driver is safer than the seat behind the passenger. a carseat safety tech explained to me that this is b/c you are more aware of what is coming at YOU(the driver) and faster to react, so basically, you're more likely to be able to react and avoid a driver side collision. she did admit that the statistical difference is not huge.

I chose to put the infant in the middle and the older one behind the passanger seat. That way if the older one needed anything, I could still reach her...and see her better.

I ended up putting my toddler behind the passenger side seat and the new baby behind my drivers side seat. It seems to work well. The toddler is in better line of site and I am able to assist him with anything he may need a little easier than having to reach behind me. I set up a mirror to see the new baby since he is has demanding as the toddler.

We also put ours on the passenger side, but we did it because, as the older child (3 at the time), it was safer getting him out near a sidewalk rather than in the street when parking on the street. Since you'll have your hands full with the baby carrier, this arrangement will give you more control when unloading/loading.

the driver side so you save time by going around the car to get them out.

I've always heard to put the other behind the passenger seat because when your driving the traffic going in the opposite direction is most dangerous and could hit the drivers side.

here was my thought process. if i am coming to the car i wanted to be able to put my youngest in on the passenger side, walk around and put my oldest in and then get in the car and drive. least amount of walking around the car.

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