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Carseats Are Safer in the Middle

Mommy Alert! Baby Is Safest in the Middle

Babe belongs in the middle. Who said being a mother was convenient? When it comes to buckling up your lil one for a ride, new research shows that putting up the fight to muscle your tot into the center seat is actually worth the battle.

To see why,


Researcher Michael J. Kallan and colleagues conducted a study confirming that children belong in the middle. The study said:

Children under age three seated in the center of the back seat had nearly half the risk of injury in motor vehicle crashes than children seated in either of the other positions. . . Children seated in the center rear have a 43% lower risk of injury compared with children in a rear outboard position.

Nobody puts baby in the corner. And apparently they shouldn't put baby on the side, either. Where do you secure your tots?

Join The Conversation
darlene darlene 9 years
This is good to know
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Be sure to check your manual before you automatically place baby in the middle. Some cars - all our VW's for instance - are specifically designed for the side seats to be safer for baby. Presumably, they do this since you can only put baby in the middle when you only have one baby. Everything from the shape of the seats, to the way the car absorbs impact to the placement of the airbags is specifically designed for baby to be on the side, not the middle. So, baby is NOT safer in the middle in a VW. When we got our first VW, I read the manual and then spoke with several people at VW before I was convinced of this.
abqmama abqmama 9 years
We have our baby in his infant seat in the center with the LATCH. My 2 year old is in his convertable with the LATCH on the passenger side and my older son is in his booster on the driver side. It is a huge pain to get the baby in and out of the middle seat because we have a Yukon which is high anyway, plus we have to lift him over my sons booster, but that is the only place he will fit. I don't want to move any of them to the third row until they are old enough to be out of a booster seat. We specifically bought our Yukon so that all three of them could be in the same row but we could have an extra row available for other passengers and subsequent children.
Jennifer777 Jennifer777 9 years
schnappycat- the middle seat of my car isn't wide enough for a car seat to fit and be buckled I said, I have tried repeatedly. I think my best bet is to have it checked out by a certifier. :-)
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
Jennifer, my car also has the LATCH system on the sides only, but the certifier I saw told me that the center with the seat belt only was still safer (as did the manual), at least for my brand of car seat. It really depends on your seat with your car seat and how snug you can get the fit. We could get the seat belt fit just as tight as the LATCH. Otherwise, we would have done the side.
Mommy-of-Three Mommy-of-Three 9 years
Be sure to check your users manual as most car seats do not allow to use the LATCH and seatbelt together. If it isn't crash tested and allowed by the manufacturer it isn't safer. Your seat should be fine with one or the other correctly installed.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
That's what I always said I'd do, too. *lol* I just for some reason cannot get the Latch system. Maybe it's because when I first became accustomed to installing and changing out carseats, they didn't have it.
Jennifer777 Jennifer777 9 years
Greggie- I plan to use both the Latch system and the seatbelt if possible...cause I'm not neurotic or
Ericka Ericka 9 years
I got the Orbit toddler seat. It may have been pricier but the turning feature is great.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
To clarify, I don't mean people shouldn't use it. Just that it makes me personally nuts. Others I know love it and would never use a seatbelt again.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
The Latch system makes me nuts. *lol* I've never found one that worked easily with either of our cars or fastened it more securely than the seatbelt alone.
Jennifer777 Jennifer777 9 years
My car has the Latch system but it is only available for the side seats. It is impossible to fit a child's seat in the middle seat. I have tried several times (cause miraculously it is gonna change one of these days, right.) So I will have no choice but to put the carseat on the side. The same goes for hubby's car.
bessa bessa 9 years
Thanks for the responses.
chellebelle chellebelle 9 years
My center seat has a arm rest so the center is not the best place in my car.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I'm not upset, I was merely explaining how it's not always for convenience, but for added safety. And the posts that asks you if you'd tell a friend that to her face is very calm-toned as well, not upset. The middle seat is not the safest seat, period. There are other factors that need to be taken into account, whether you have one child or eight.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
yes i would actually tell a friend to her face, but that was not my intention to upset someone, so why get so upset
Greggie Greggie 9 years
bessa, yes, as long as they fit safely. We had a hell of a time finding a bucket and two boosters to fit safely in our Santa Fe.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
*seats* installed, I meant
anniekim anniekim 9 years
bessa--yes, you can. This is how we had our sets installed when my 2nd child was born. The safety guys did it for us and said it was safest. It also gave us room for 1 more passenger. It probably depends on the car.
Courtney82 Courtney82 9 years
i have a new crossover and have no middle seat in our car, and our second car has a large incline in the middle so that seems much more unsafe than placing her behind the driver. plus we will have two soon, so that isnt even an option anymore. (both are cars are rated the highest for safety so we thought about that too when we purchased them) i don't think we do things to make it easier for us, i think it has to do what is the safest for the car seat. if your car seat doesn't install correct in the middle than it isn't the safest place for your infant/toddler. Oh and opinions can still hurt peoples feelings when it comes to kids so I understand getting upset about saying it is an inconvenience. would you say that to a friends face talking to her, probably not the internet makes people a little meaner than they should be.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I've always thought the middle was the safest because of the risk during a side impact collision. Now we have to have one car seat on each side, with my stepdaughter in the middle (referee). When the next baby shows up I suppose we'll have to move someone to the third row (we have an Explorer)and I don't consider that very safe but what else can you do. At least we don't drive much.
bessa bessa 9 years
Does anyone know if you can put an infant seat next to a front facing toddler seat? (E.g. my 18 month old will be in her seat on the side, next to the door. My new baby would go in the middle, right next to hear seat?)
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I have child #3 coming this summer and I have been debating how to situate 3 car sets--especially for the new baby. I think proper installation will be paramount. They offer car set installation service at the hospital so I'll probably leave it up to them.
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
Good point Pink. We purchased our car with the safety of a car seat fitting in the middle. Our seat fits nicely in the middle and I climb into the back seat to put baby there.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
greggie why are you so offended i simply wrote it would be convenient to put the seat closer to the door that is a statement not attacking what you are saying is easier, "I" do think it is convenient to put the seat closer to the door, "ME" my opinion
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