Carseat position — The Bump
Nurseries and Baby Gear

Carseat position

Hi girls. I've read mixed reviews on what part of the back seat your carseat should be in. Some say the middle "seat" because it protects from side impacts. Other things I read have said the side seats, so you can attach a mirror and always see the baby. Where does it go ? I feel so silly asking.
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Re: Carseat position

  • I'm not a tech (and there are a few that will weigh in that are more 'knowledged' then me)- HOWEVER I believe I've seen this debate 100 times and I've heard - get a good install and its all ok - middle is old school 'safer' (and by the way you can attach a mirror to the side and point it over) - but in the newer cars sometimes they are designed for side seating.  (aka latch points are often not supplied in the middle)  For my car (subaru forester 2006) I have a middle 'hump' and most seats won't install there properly - so I know in my car its safer to get a better install on the side then a so so install in the middle.
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  • Wherever you can get the best fit in your particular vehichle.  LATCH is not necessarily safer, it's just easier to install.  We have ours on the side in our Maxima because of the hump in the middle, we couldn't get a good install.  In the Tahoe, it's in the center.


  • From what I've gathered, the best spot is where you can get the car seat the most tightly installed.

    For my car (Saturn Vue), we installed it in the middle. My DH's car (Mitsubishi Eclipse), we put it behind the passenger seat. 

    The car-seat inspector told us no mirrors. Mirrors = projectile in a crash. 

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  • FYI - my stance (and I get this from techs) on projectiles - if you would throw it at your child and not worry about it hurting - then its ok.  There are some soft sided mirrors that attach to the headrest that I'm personally ok with (sure I'm not going to toss it at her for fun - but I wouldn't worry about a bratty child throwing it at her face either :) )
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  • This comes up a lot. Most things seem to agree that the middle seat is safer. We attached a mirror to the middle seat... you can do that as long as you have a head rest there. There are vehicles in which the middle seat isn't safest, but you need to check your owner's manuel.




  • In theory the middle is safest because it puts the baby furthest from any point of impact. That said, the sides are not unsafe at all, especially for a rear facing seat (which is how a child rides until a bare minimum of 2, preferably closer to 3-4). I drive a beetle, which is a 4 seat car, not 5. There is not seatbelt or LATCH available in between the two backseats, so neither of my kids ever rode in the middle and I was never worried about their safety. So middle is "safest" if it's an option, but any properly used seat leaves your child incredibly safe.
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  • It depends on your car. Due to the bump in the middle of both our back seats, it's on the passenger side. The police installed it and that was where they felt was safest.
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  • I work for the Department of Children and Family and we have to take car seat training annually, as I often transport little ones.  We are told that the center is typically the best position for the car seat,however you should check you car's manual. Also the mirrors that you can hang to see the child, are very unsafe along with a bunch of other items you can buy to go along with the car seat. The mirrors can shatter if in a car accident and can really hurt little one.

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  • Looking at my husband's car manual (Nissan Sentra), it specifically states "Do Not Place Childseat in the Center Position".  He has the LATCH system, but the location of them are designed to be for the Left and Right seats...the center cannot share the latches from the left or right sides to makeshift a center latch position.  Hope that makes sense.

    But as pp stated, read the car manual to understand what location is best.

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