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Car seat in the front seat

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Heyas, experienced mamas. I've been digging on the net for three hours and having no luck, so I thought I'd try this forum. I know MDC women tend to research

I have a car with no back seat, and buying another car would be difficult. I have always thought "kids go in back," but I've lately been questioning anything that smells like received wisdom. So I started digging - and everything I've found is that as long as the airbag is OFF, a properly restrained child in a carseat is perfectly safe in the front. The movement to put kids in the back seems to have started when the first airbags came out, ones without switches.

My car has a switch to turn off the passenger airbag. My state law says a kid may be in a car seat in the front as long as the airbag is off. The NHTSA has lots of "the safest place is in the back" but no evidence or data to support that claim, except for studies proving airbags injure children. Which I knew already.

Do ANY of you know of a study showing that a properly installed carseat is not safe in the front with the airbag off? I would have to start saving right now to get a different car by the time my baby comes, but I will if that's what the evidence calls for.

Thanks in advance for any help, I appreciate it.
post #2 of 25
It is ALWAYS safer to put a child (or any riding passenger) in the back seat. Obviously if you don't have a back seat you do what you have to do....but don't fool yourself...a child riding in front, even in a properly installed seatbelt with the airbag turned off, is hugely less safe than a child riding in the back seat.
post #3 of 25
Would it not be safer for anyone in the back seat that in the front seat during a car accident?

Given that rear impact are the least likely type of crash, and frontal impact is going to do more damage to anyone/anything in the front... logic states it's safer in the backseat.

Or am I missing something?

Definitely do what you have to do, but everything I know about carseat safety and just plan car safety says backseat is safest for everyone, and I would think that would especially include tiny babies who's muscle/bone structure is so much more vulnerable to impacts.
post #4 of 25
We have a 2 seater car & when I drive that the car seat has to go there. When we are in the other truck...the car seat & baby go in back.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Writerbird View Post
Heyas, experienced mamas. I've been digging on the net for three hours and having no luck, so I thought I'd try this forum. I know MDC women tend to research

I have a car with no back seat, and buying another car would be difficult. I have always thought "kids go in back," but I've lately been questioning anything that smells like received wisdom. So I started digging - and everything I've found is that as long as the airbag is OFF, a properly restrained child in a carseat is perfectly safe in the front. The movement to put kids in the back seems to have started when the first airbags came out, ones without switches.

My car has a switch to turn off the passenger airbag. My state law says a kid may be in a car seat in the front as long as the airbag is off. The NHTSA has lots of "the safest place is in the back" but no evidence or data to support that claim, except for studies proving airbags injure children. Which I knew already.

Do ANY of you know of a study showing that a properly installed carseat is not safe in the front with the airbag off? I would have to start saving right now to get a different car by the time my baby comes, but I will if that's what the evidence calls for.

Thanks in advance for any help, I appreciate it.
I think this is a good question. I don't have any answers or evidence that you are seeking, but maybe a query into "zone of the car that is least impacted" in crashes? Mabye NHTSA has statistics on this, without them knowing about why you are asking? Is there a contact number you could call?

Just thinking about it though, I feel safer knowing my little one is in the middle in the back. Maybe it is just the perception, but it seems like he has more space around him, hence more metal to crinkle and absorb the shock--then again this is a 4 door?
post #6 of 25
If you dont have a backseat - then you dont have a back seat!!

If it were me, I'd turn off the air bag and put tape over the switch so it didn’t get accidentally turned back on. I'd then put the car seat in the front seat. This is assuming of course that it complies with your local laws. (here I understand baby is to be the back unless there is no back in which case it can go in the front)
post #7 of 25
Is this a truck with 3 seatbelts in front, or a sports car with 2 seats total?

If you do a lot of driving, and you'll be a 3 person family with a 2 seater car, then I think you'd need a larger vehicle. It may be possible to trade in what you have for a different vehicle that better fits your family's needs.

But if you have a 3 seater vehicle for the 3 of you, and/or you don't do very much driving anyway, then it may not pay to get another vehicle.

If you have 2 vehicles and one of them has a back seat and one doesn't, then I would use the larger vehicle with the baby most of the time and only put the baby in the front seat of the other one when absolutely necessary.
post #8 of 25
go to www.car-seat.org and ask there... at least 1/2 the people on that site are car seat techs who are very willing to share their knowledge!!

I don't know on that one... DH has a 2 seater (miata) and we've never let Peter ride in it.. only in my civic.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
All the crash data showing injuries that I could find on the NHTSA site was due to airbags. They also have studies about what happens without a carseat. (Nightmare stuff.) What I'm really trying to find is pure data on front seat versus back seat, without airbags as a factor, and assuming a properly installed carseat. There's acceptable risk... and then there's no way in hell risk, KWIM?

My switch is fortunately one that can only be operated by the ignition key. I can't accidentally turn it on without stopping the car and doing it on purpose.

The middle backseat is where the seat will go in my husband's car, because of all that lovely insulating space around the baby as someone noted And we'll ONLY take that car on long drives, or highway drives, as we already do with no kids! What I'm thinking of is grocery runs... the library...the doctor... playgroups. I'm making out a budget for the year, and a new-to-me car is a little overwhelming.

Thanks for the answers so far (and thanks for the link, Carina!), and if anyone finds the kind of study I'm looking for after this thread is dead, PM, please? I have a few weeks, after all
post #10 of 25
I haven't done research, but I will tell you what my EMT friend told me.

Car seats are essentially intended to be mini-ejection seats. She was at one accident in which EVERYONE was thrown from the car. The adults were NOT wearing their seat belts, but even the baby, who was strapped properly into the car seat, was ejected (still strapped into the seat). The seat flipped end over end thru the air and landed on the highway, where a trucker barely stopped in time and rescued the seat and baby. The baby had nary a scratch.

It's probably not really a relavant story at all, really, but I just wanted to point out that even in the sacred "middle back" position, things can still happen.

I think as long as you shut off the air-bag, your child will be safe. It's not as if you're putting her in the front b/c you're too lazy to put her in the back. The front is your only option. WHEN you are in the market for a new car, I'd get one with a back seat, but it seems a little over-reactive to rush out and buy one now if you're not able.
post #11 of 25
Backseat is always safest, but at least it's safer than being in a bus... isn't it?
post #12 of 25
Honestly if your husband has a car with a backseat I would switch cars with your husband. Whoever has the baby should have that car kwim? My husbands car is not ideal for a baby because it is only a two door and hard to get in and out of in the back so whenever he takes dd somewhere he takes her in my car and I take his. It works out well for us and there is no switching a carseat back and forth.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFashionedGirl View Post
I haven't done research, but I will tell you what my EMT friend told me.

Car seats are essentially intended to be mini-ejection seats. She was at one accident in which EVERYONE was thrown from the car. The adults were NOT wearing their seat belts, but even the baby, who was strapped properly into the car seat, was ejected (still strapped into the seat). The seat flipped end over end thru the air and landed on the highway, where a trucker barely stopped in time and rescued the seat and baby. The baby had nary a scratch.

.

Your EMT friend was very wrong. They are NOT intended to be ejection seats. Holy hell!
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GwendalynsMommy View Post
Honestly if your husband has a car with a backseat I would switch cars with your husband. Whoever has the baby should have that car kwim? My husbands car is not ideal for a baby because it is only a two door and hard to get in and out of in the back so whenever he takes dd somewhere he takes her in my car and I take his. It works out well for us and there is no switching a carseat back and forth.
I completely agree. Switch cars.
post #15 of 25
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the reason that the middle seat in the back is the safest is because its the middle of the car? Therefore, safest no matter where the impact is in an accident? I believe that is the reasoning behind babies in the backseat, not the front.

Oh yea, and we had our seats professionally installed (a long time ago) by a car seat tech, and he said that if for some reason you cannot place your child in the middle of the backseat, that behind the driver's seat is the safest spot.
post #16 of 25
Well, when my son was an infant, I had a convertable carseat and it was installed in the front. Now this was before airbags but if I recall correctly, he was forward facing. It was perfectly legal to do that and it was before the internet was so pervasive. I honestly didn't know any different and the seat was installed by a tech. So while it is probably an acceptable risk, it is riskier than an infant in the backseat. Switch cars with your husband if at all possible. But you have to do what you can with what you have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by starry_mama View Post
...and he said that if for some reason you cannot place your child in the middle of the backseat, that behind the driver's seat is the safest spot.
I understand that the only reason that it is recommended to put the baby behind the driver (if the center is not possible) is so the driver will not be tempted to try and look at the baby while driving. I don't believe it's any more or less safe than the back passenger seat.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFashionedGirl View Post
Car seats are essentially intended to be mini-ejection seats. She was at one accident in which EVERYONE was thrown from the car. The adults were NOT wearing their seat belts, but even the baby, who was strapped properly into the car seat, was ejected (still strapped into the seat). The seat flipped end over end thru the air and landed on the highway, where a trucker barely stopped in time and rescued the seat and baby. The baby had nary a scratch.
This HAS to be a myth. Seatbelts aren't attached to car seats. They are bolted to the floor. If a seat was thrown from a car, it would have to either tear apart the seat belt or not be attached in the first place. If you have links that show actual cases of this happening, I'll be happy to look at them but all I've found googling ejection and car seats is warnings against improperly installed car seats (mostly ones with bases you leave in the car and click the seat into) leading to ejection, not entire vehicle seats coming out of cars with babies still attached.

ETA: I just realized you probably meant the baby's seat got ejected, not the vehicle seat. So, nevermind.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunflowers View Post


I understand that the only reason that it is recommended to put the baby behind the driver (if the center is not possible) is so the driver will not be tempted to try and look at the baby while driving. I don't believe it's any more or less safe than the back passenger seat.
Really? I never asked why. I thought maybe it was because it was safer for the car seat to be behind a person, instead of a possibly empty seat. But like I said, I never asked.
post #19 of 25
Huh, I thought the second best option besides in the middle was behind the passenger side since you are more likely to be side swiped or hit on the driver's side while turning left.
post #20 of 25
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