Where is the Safest Spot to Put a Car Seat?

Using a car seat or booster seat is non-negotiable when it comes to the safety of infants and young children. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), car accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one to 13. However, using a car seat saved the lives of 325 children under the age of five in 2017 alone, thus showing how important car seats are to ensure your little one’s safety. Although wearing a car seat is a great step in the right direction, the use of one is even more effective when it is placed in a particular spot in the car. Furthermore, in this article, we will explore where the safest spot in the car is to place your child’s car seat, as well as exceptions to this rule.

The Rear Middle Seat

As ascertained by several studies, the safest place to put your child’s car seat is in the middle seat of the rear seats. Placing your child’s car seat in the rear center position is said to reduce the risk of injury by 43%, thus showing how impactful car seat positioning can be. This optimal positioning applies to both rear-facing and forward-facing car seats.

Why Is It the Safest Option?

When looking at why the rear middle seat is the safest spot to place a car seat in, the airbags play a significant role. This is because, when looking at which seat in the car is furthest away and least likely to be affected by a deployed airbag, it is the rear middle seat. This is particularly important because airbags are designed to protect an adult-sized person, not an infant or small child. If an airbag inflates and hits a young child or infant, the impact is more likely to be far more severe and can even lead to fatality. Therefore, in the event of a car accident, a child will be most safe if they are seated in the rear middle seat. If you or your little one have been injured in a car accident, it is pivotal that you contact a Kent car accident attorney as soon as possible to ease the legal burden of filing a car accident claim, help you recover maximum compensation, and allow you to focus on yourself and your child’s recovery.

Exceptions To This Rule of Thumb

Although statistically speaking, the rear middle seat is the safest spot to place your child’s car seat, there are some scenarios in which this may not be possible or the safest decision.

  • Captain Seats: The first exception to this rule is in the event there are captain seats in the car. Captain seats are bigger seats that are made for just one person and are installed in the second row of the vehicle. Only two captain seats can fit in the middle row of vehicles, meaning that there is no middle seat. In this situation, it is safest to place your child’s car seat in either the rear passenger or rear driver seat. Although not as optimal, this is still safer than putting your child in the front seat or putting them in the third row where they are not easily accessible from the driver seat.
  • Fit and Installation: The fit and proper installation of a car seat ultimately trumps rear middle seat positioning. What this means is that if you cannot properly install your car seat in the rear middle seat due to design limitations or, simply, the middle seat is too small for the car seat, the rear middle seat is no longer the safer option. In these situations, the safest option is also the rear passenger or rear driver seat.

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