carseat placement — The Bump
D.C. Area Babies

carseat placement

tomas is still in a carseat in the middle seat. he's big enough for a booster, but i'd prefer that he stay in the carseat until he's too big for it.

i need to install the infant carseat today and i'm not sure where to put everything.

if it matters, i drive a passat wagon (with no latch system). 

where would you put the two seats and why?

[color=purple]Wife ? 9/18/04Mommy ? DS - 2006 (C/S) & DD - 2010 (HWBAC)Wellness Provider ? Birth Doula - Hypnotherapist - HypnoBirthing - Reiki Master/Teacher[/color]Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth FAQs

Re: carseat placement

  • Can you fit the infant seat in the middle and still fit his seat in? 

    The safest place for a newborn is in the center. I was terrified that DD would stick something in DS's mouth so I put them on opposite sides. You know your child and he may be old enough to understand that you can't give anything to the baby. DD was only 1.5 when DS came along so I couldn't trust that she would listen to me or really understand at that age. 

    Married 7.9.05
    DD1 9.24.06
    DS 7.1.08
    twins due 9.7.11 lost twin A at
    DD2 4.7.12
  • we did the same for same reasons, DD is too young and has tried to scratch DS' face/eyes many times
  • ok, thanks for the insight! i think tomas is old enough to be trusted not to harass the baby, so i'll put the baby in the middle.

    [color=purple]Wife ? 9/18/04Mommy ? DS - 2006 (C/S) & DD - 2010 (HWBAC)Wellness Provider ? Birth Doula - Hypnotherapist - HypnoBirthing - Reiki Master/Teacher[/color]Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth FAQs
  • When I brought my car and seats to the Montgomery County check, I was told that whoever is facing backwards in the car is inherently safer than who's forward-facing.  On the recommendation of the woman-in-charge, mine were installed with DS rear-facing with latch behind the passenger and DD forward-facing (in a Britax Boulevard) without latch in the middle.  It has worked out well: DD has more leg room and it's nice to not have to crawl into the back seat (of my Pilot) to heave out a heavy baby (DD can get into her seat by herself).  An added bonus is that I can easily hand toys back to DD and she can use them to distract DS if he's fussing.  We've never had a problem with being next to each other and her poking him or anything (he's actually the one always tugging on her hair and shirt).


    The installer said it would be safe to put DD forward-facing on the was my choice, but she told me that the arrangement I went with was what she would do with her kids.  Sounds like either way would work if you have a strong preference.  I don't know whether using a booster vs. car seat makes a difference for placement, but I thought I'd pass along what I was told by an installer.

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  • I put them on separate sides as well.  I still catch Maggie passing things she shouldn't to her sister - like her sippy cup of chocolate milk or lemonade or some toy (too small) or paper (Molly eats paper and gags).

     So I tried looking up the statistics to either prove the center was safest or that there was no difference which was a lot harder than I thought.  Most studies focused on simply using a proper restraint system or front vs rear seating position.  So far the most recent study from 2008 does show that center is safest.  They had a study of 106,580 children involved in crashes and 0.25% were injured (268).  Here are some quotes:

    "The injury risk was 0.27%, 0.17%, and 0.29% in the left outboard, center, and right outboard positions, respectively." and "Child occupants seated in the center seating position had a 43% lower injury risk than those children seated in either of the outboard positions" - from both of these statements you can see how changing up numbers affects how we view the risk.  The difference in actual risk of getting an injury from an accident is about a tenth of a percent but when stated that the center has a 43% lower injury risk it seems a lot safer than the initial statement because they are combining both outboard positions to compare to the center.

    from Seating Patterns and Corresponding Risk of Injury Among 0- to 3-Year-Old Children in Child Safety Seats by Kallan, et al - the link should be to a free version of the article, if you can't see it I can get you a free pdf file if you want to read it.

    That article also refers to a 2004 article that did not find any difference between the seating positions that article is here by Lund and both articles discuss why they think their results may be different from other studies (depends on the populations you get your statistics from).



  • Great to see all those stats, thanks for sharing!  When we have #3 we're talking about this, now that we have a minivan.  I'm hoping we can have either #2 or #1 in the third seat in the middle, then either #2 or #1 on the side in the second row and #3 in the middle of the second row.  No idea if they'll all fit that way.
    Wife, Musician, Fed, WW-er, and Mom of three little kids - not necessarily in that order.
  • We just moved my son to FFing behind the driver seat and baby girl will be RFing behind the passenger seat.  I was told by the police that the center seat isn't always the safest, depending on your model and make of car.  I have also heard that RFing behind passenger is safer than behind the driver, so that's why we did it the way we did.  I drive a Passat and i don't think I could fit a seat in the middle and one on the side. 
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