Third Row Seat Safety? Should I change my car seat set up? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 03-17-2011, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I drive a Suzuki XL7 with a third row and have three little ones.  My 2 month old is in a graco snugride on one side of the second row and my four-year-old is rear facing in a Safety First Alpha and Omega on the other side of the second row.  I was only able to get a good install for these seats with the latch system, so I cannot use the middle seat per the car manual.  Also, there is not enough room in between these seats regardless.  This leaves my six year old in the third row in a high backed booster.   

 

My question is how safe is the third row?  There is only a foot or so between the back door and the third row seats.  I worry about my oldest son's safety back there.  Also, it is a pain to get him in as he must go in the back door or climb over the middle row of seats.  The only way I can think of to fit all three in the middle row would be to move my 4-year-old to a high backed booster.  He will sit properly 100% of the time.  (He's just always been calm and cooperative.)  My concern is that he is tiny (32.5 inches and 31 pounds). Our graco turbobooster is rated for 30-100 pounds and it does seem to position the belt appropriately, but I wonder if it is acceptable for such a little person to be in a booster?  Any advice would be much appreciated.  My primary concern is my children's safety.  I can buy new seats if necessary.  Thankyou!


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#2 of 13 Old 03-18-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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What if you got a different seat for your 4 yr old that wasn't a HBB? Perhaps a Graco Nautilus or a Radian? Those would allow you to keep your 4 YO harnessed still but then you may be able to get all three in the second row.


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#3 of 13 Old 03-18-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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Or a maestro for the 4yo.  I wouldn't booster a child that tiny at that age.  The Maestro is only $80 and decently narrow and you should be able to get a good install with the belt which will allow you more room as well.


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#4 of 13 Old 03-18-2011, 11:09 AM
 
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I am curious if the third row would be less safe than the 2nd row.  If so, why?

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#5 of 13 Old 03-18-2011, 04:07 PM
 
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I've never heard that the third row is not safe. I have two kiddos in our third row, and only one in the second row, because it's less hassle for me. If the third row is significantly less safe, and we have information to back that up, I'd love to know about it, please.

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#6 of 13 Old 03-18-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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I don't know if there is any data, and safety is going to greatly depend vehicle to vehicle.  It's imperative to have proper head support, for sure, though.  I did find this:  http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=37243

 

I think with the OP her main concern is how close to the back door the seat is.  But, as long as there is head protection it's probably not a problem.  Most rear-end collissions are not all that major.  But, if it would be easier for the OP to put all 3 in the 2nd row, I'm sure there is a way to do it.


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#7 of 13 Old 03-18-2011, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses!

 

Oops, I didn't mean to imply that the third row isn't safe.  I just had visions of being rear-ended by a big truck with my little guy so close to the back door.  The roads are often icy here, so I suspect I have a higher than average chance of being rear-ended.  I don't have any data to back up my concerns.  

 

I can try a nautilus and maestro locally, but I still don't think I can fit a turbobooster in the middle.  Worth a try though.  I hear the radian does well three across, but I've never seen one locally and most places charge an arm and a leg to ship to Alaska, so I don't know that I can easily try one.  If the third row is safe, I'm okay with keeping my current set up.  It seems the general consensus is that its fine use the third row?


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#8 of 13 Old 03-19-2011, 07:05 AM
 
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As long as a third row is factory installed then it is perfectly safe to use. The issue is with aftermarket additions is where the vehicle was not made to have passengers back there and someone is probably putting passengers into what was build as a crumple zone. A vehicle that was produced at the factory with 3 rows of seats usually will have a  re-enforced back or other design features protecting the 3rd row. Just an example but when the Toyota Highlander started having a 3rd row, it was redesigned to distribute a rear impact differently because there now could be passengers in the very back. I've seen good threads and data on carseat.org before about 3rd row safety. it is very safe, I have 2 of my children in my 3rd row and I actually could get 3 across my 2nd row but this makes life much easier. 


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#9 of 13 Old 03-19-2011, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post

As long as a third row is factory installed then it is perfectly safe to use. The issue is with aftermarket additions is where the vehicle was not made to have passengers back there and someone is probably putting passengers into what was build as a crumple zone. A vehicle that was produced at the factory with 3 rows of seats usually will have a  re-enforced back or other design features protecting the 3rd row. Just an example but when the Toyota Highlander started having a 3rd row, it was redesigned to distribute a rear impact differently because there now could be passengers in the very back. I've seen good threads and data on carseat.org before about 3rd row safety. it is very safe, I have 2 of my children in my 3rd row and I actually could get 3 across my 2nd row but this makes life much easier. 


Ours is factory installed.  Thanks for the information.  I will check out carseat.org as well.  Maybe I will consider putting both the older boys in the third row.  That would allow one seat to fold up to access it.  Unfortunately, the third row doesn't have LATCH.  Does anyone know from experience what seats will install well in an XL7 third row?  

 


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#10 of 13 Old 03-19-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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If you are in the Anchorage or Valley area, I have two Radians your can try if you want :)


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#11 of 13 Old 03-19-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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If you are in Juneau, I have a Radian you could take a look at/try installing.

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#12 of 13 Old 03-20-2011, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies, but I actually found out a friend of mine has a radian I can try out.  She bought it out of state and flew it up.  Where did you purchase yours?  


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#13 of 13 Old 03-24-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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I'd check the safety stats on your car. I drive a van and have two of my kiddos in the third row (I'm expecting a fourth in Sept so I need the room in the second row) I was in an accident in October, I was hit while stopping to turn left,  I was doing roughly 20 km/hr and the guy who rear-ended me was doing 90 km/hr he never hit the brakes. I have roughly a foot behind the seat too. My oldest was in his forward facing car seat (harnessed) he's 4 and weighs about 37lbs. My van was a write off, I have a new one now but my son was perfectly safe, he was asleep and not even a scratch on him. The truck behind us hit us so hard the back window shattered and the back door bent inward and couldn't be opened. I don't personally feel that the third row is any less safe than the second row. And yes, I know the plural of ancedote is not not data. :)


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