According to several studies, the best place for your child’s car seat is at the back seat of your vehicle. Aside from following these safety seat recommendations (PDF), research shows that whether your car has advanced airbags, conventional ones, or none at all, your kids are safer when they’re in the right position at the back seat.
Although the passenger rear-side makes it easy to access and keep an eye on your little one, the center seating position lessens the risk of injury for kids under three in car crashes.
However, you may consider putting your child on the passenger rear-side in the following situations:
- You need to install multiple car safety seats.
- You’re having difficulty installing the seat in the center.
- The vehicle’s manufacturer has limitations in the center seating positioning.
- Your preferred method is LATCH installation.
- You have some physical restrictions which make it hard for you to lean over to put your baby in the center.
What You Need To Know About Positioning A Car Seat In Your Vehicle
- Center back seat. This position is the safest to place your child’s seat because it’s the furthermost spot away from your car’s sides. Some vehicles have a three-point diagonal and lap seat belt, while some have lap-only belts in the middle back seat. Most safety seats need a three-point belt, so make sure to check the instructions of your car seat if it’ll work with a lap-only seat belt.
- Front passenger position. Most parents want to keep an eye on their babies at all times, so they place them in the front passenger seat. However, your baby will be safer if he’s riding in the rear. If there’s a need to monitor your child for health reasons, it is best to have an adult ride with him in the back seat. If you really have to put your baby in the front, ensure that your vehicle’s seat is as far back so that your little one is as far away from the dashboard as possible.
- Back seat behind the driver side. You’ll have to get your baby in and out of the vehicle on the roadside if you use this seating position. But this seat is better if you always park with the side of the driver beside the pavement.
- Back seat behind the passenger side. This is better than behind the driver since typically, you will be able to get your baby in and out of your vehicle on the side of the pavement. Ensure that the car seat if fitted properly in this position.
Things You Need To Remember When Using Child Safety Seats
There are several factors you need to weigh in when choosing the right car seat. Aside from considering where you want to place your baby, you also have to check that it fits your vehicle properly.
Here are the things you need to check and remember to ensure your child gets the utmost protection and safety:
- The best place. Keep in mind that kids should remain seated with restraint at the back seat of your car until they are at least 13 years old.
- Choose the appropriate car seat. Make sure that the seat you’ll buy is suited for your child’s age, height, and weight. It’s also good to check this useful source of information (bestcarseathub.com) online to help narrow down your choices.
- Place your child in the right direction. It is highly recommended to keep your kids in the rear-face position until they’ve outgrown their infant car seat limitations or until their at least 2. He can then switch to a forward-facing safety seat.
- Testing the seat. Once you’ve installed the seat properly, give the base a good shake. Make sure that it’s not moving more than one inch from front to back or side to side.
- Harness pinch test. The seat harness should be coming from the correct slots as per its owner’s manual and buckled as tightly as possible. To check this, once the chest clip is set the level of the armpit, pinch the strap at your kid’s shoulder. You’re all set if you will not be able to pinch any unnecessary webbing.
It is crucial that you read the manufacturer’s manual of your child’s safety seat to help you install it properly. If you encounter even the smallest problem, have any concerns or questions, call the manufacturer. Also, there are child passenger safety technicians who are certified that can help you and double check your car seat installation.