August 2011 Moms

2 questions about carseats. Small car owners, come in!

We installed our bases last night and I have two questions.  Is it legal/safe/allowable to position the carseat in the center of the backseat as opposed to passenger side?  Also, we have a snugride 35 and I wondered, for infant carseats, would there possibly be some that are physically smaller or are they all about the same?  I ask both questions because I have a Toyota Yaris and we found that with the seat in the passenger side, the front passenger seat has to move up and be pretty uncomfortable for either DH or I.  I cannot see either of us sitting with our knees that crushed for any length or time.  If you have a small car, how did you do it?
Married 11/21/2009
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Re: 2 questions about carseats. Small car owners, come in!

  • I had the snugride 35 base installed on Thursday, I have a 2 door 2004 honda civic. The base was installed behind the passenger side bc I have the latch system. Without the seat in the base the passenger can sit comfortably but with the seat in the passeneger will need to be small - which means my husband 6'3 & 260 lbs will always be the driver if we use my car. I fit in the passenger sit no problem and I am 5'3 and 115 lbs pre-pregnancy. Your only other option would be to get a smaller size seat. I have heard the maxi cosi's are good for small compact cars and my cousin had a chico keyfit and we have the same car and she recommended that seat to me bc it fit well.
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  • They say it is safer to install the base in the center backseat as long as the carseat is installed correctly. If it can't be then use one of the side seats. While head on collisions are the most frequent, side impact is the most deadly. (Stolen from Lucie's List Week 34 email).
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  • Center seat provides more safety from side impacts, but you have to decide what will work best for you/your car.  Depending on the style of seat belts, LATCH, and other factors, some find that they can get the car seat installed more securely on one of the sides.
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  • image mananana:
    Center seat provides more safety from side impacts, but you have to decide what will work best for you/your car.  Depending on the style of seat belts, LATCH, and other factors, some find that they can get the car seat installed more securely on one of the sides.

    This.  Also, check your car's manual.  Some cars do not recommend installing the seat in the center for various reasons and if your car is one of them, it should be mentioned in your manual.  We have always had our car seat installed on the side. 

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  • I have the SnugRide 35 and will be using it again with LO.  Here's the thing about installing it in the middle.  Go ahead and do it, but be advised, you might have to adjust both driver and passenger seats to accomadate the actual carseat.  I had it installed at the fire dept and it couldn't go there because the driver, regardless of who it was, had to sit way to close to the airbag.  (this was in my Hyundai Santa Fe and my Hyundai Accent).  It's better to be uncomfortable as the passenger, rather than the driver.  They are rated for side impact accidents and if it wasn't safe why would the fire dept install it there???  Seriously, check your owner's manual and make sure it fits with the actual carseat after the base is installed. 
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  • You might want to check with your local police station. Ours installs the car seats with a safety check for new parents. It is a free community service all you have to do is call and set an appointment with them. Also they sometimes set up on Saturday's at the parking lot of babies r us and do it for walk ins there. That definitely gives you extra peace of mind that it is as safe as possible for what car you have. Good luck!
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  • center is actually the safest position for the car seat. many cars, however, do not have LATCH for the middle, so double check your car manual first. 

    LATCH is not safer than the seat belt, it's just supposed to be easier...although often times it's not.

    And there are smaller seats than the snugride 35. Any of the 20/22 lb seats will be smaller. I believe the chicco is bigger. The combi shuttle may be smaller too.  

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