Best Car Seat Configuration for Two?

Updated on November 10, 2008
H.N. asks from Scottsdale, AZ
8 answers

We have a new one on the way and I am trying to decide the best way to arrange the car seats in my SUV. My toddler will be 2 when the new baby comes.

Currently, my toddler is in the middle of the back seat. Do I put the infant behind me and leave my 2 year old in the middle? Or do I put the toddler seat behind me and the baby in the middle?

I really do not want to put either of them on the far side of the backseat. I have heard that this seat is at higher risk in a collision since the driver will instinctually steer themselves the farthest away from an oncoming collision, i.e. let the far side of the car take the hit...

Any thoughts/feedback on the easiest and best way to set up the car seats will be greatly appreciated!!

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So What Happened?

I love Mamasource! Once again, I got some fabulous advice and real world feedback. I am going to start with my toddler in the middle and the baby behind me and pray she keeps her hands to herself. :) Thanks everyone for the help!

More Answers



answers from Phoenix on

i always put the baby in middle that way I could see if his brother was bothering him and it was easy to reach from the driver seat if need be



answers from Phoenix on

There was a previous post where EMT/Figherfighter personel answered that the safest seat is in the middle of the back seat and should be used for the most vulnerable kid (=baby). The next safest seat is apparently behind the driver, with the last choice behind the passenger seat.
For additional advice, you could call your city's fire department. They can either advise or schedule also an appointment to check that the seats are properly installed and used as 8 out of 10 are not, even though we parents think we are doing everything correctly.

Good luck!


answers from Phoenix on

As PPs have said, in an SUV baby in the middle and the next older behind the driver (in the event of a collision, the driver will go into a self-preservation mode- which is usually why behind driver's seat is the next safest)

Although there is an exception that I learned from the fire department (although this was 6 years ago, so check with them if this still applies)... if the middle seat in the SUV has those drop-down armrests built in for the two seats on the outer portions, then the rear-facing car seat should not go in the middle, since in a crash when the carseat is thrown forward, the armrests can come down and when the baby and carseat come back after the initial forward motion, the baby's face can come crashing into the armrests. Again, check with the fire department if you have a middle seat with armrests... otherwise keep the littlest one in the middle.



answers from Yuma on

I'm not sure if there is a correct way to set them up. Probably whatever you are most comfortable with. I put the infant seat i the middle when my daughter was born and my son was moved behind the driver. I felt that was safest for them both, because I heard the same thing about the further seat.



answers from Las Cruces on

I put the baby behind me so it's easier for me to get the baby in and out and I don't have to walk around the car every time I go somewhere with the baby. The toddler can get herself in, or at least climb into her own seat. Congratulations on your new one!



answers from Phoenix on

Try making it a really fun time/game. Play "dentist" so to speak by letting her try and brush your teeth. If mommy does it, she may want to do it. You can even put a towel around you like the plastic cover at the dentist.

And no, don't stop brushing. My dentist actually will see kids as soon as they have teeth so they get use to going to the dentist. They show them how to brush and will even polish them if the little one will allow it.



answers from Phoenix on

As everyone else has said. The new baby needs to be in the middle. I would put the older child behind the driver seat as this is teh second safest spot. I would also suggest moving your oldest child a few months before the new baby is due so that she doesn't feel that the new baby is taking her spot. Good luck. Hope this helped.



answers from Phoenix on

As Deille W said the middle is the safest for the baby with the toddler behind your seat. However I'll put my two cents in here. We have a seven week old and a two year old. I used this positioning in the car at first and my two year old could not keep his hands off his brother's car seat or his brother for that matter. I got very tired of constantly telling him to stop so we put the baby behind the driver's seat and the toddler behind the passengers seat. Now car rides are much more pleasant. Good luck and congratulations on the new baby.

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