The centre of the rear seat is the most secure location for your car seat (or your child to sit in the car).
According to a study published in Pediatrics, sitting in the middle rear seat is 43% safer than sitting on the side in the back for children ages newborn to three years old. The rear centre position will be the furthest away from any collision in any type of crash.
The researchers discovered that the vehicle’s rear passenger side was the most common placement for a car seat (41% of parents installed the child’s car seat here).
We’re not sure why so many parents place your car seat there. This could be for convenience or to keep an eye on the baby. Installing a rear-facing seat in front of a deployed airbag is never a smart idea. Unless absolutely necessary, such as in a two-seater vehicle, keep children in car seats in the back seat.
When is it dangerous for a child to be in the centre?
The centre is the safest, assuming that all sitting places are appropriately installed. The centre seating position is no longer the safest position if it cannot be positioned properly and safely.
What happens if you have a baby and a toddler?
In this case, there are two schools of thought:
Place the baby in the centre rear seat because it is the most vulnerable in a crash.
Place a forward-facing older child in the middle seat, presuming the older child is forward-facing because rear-facing children are inherently safer in their rear-facing seat.
We believe in the first school of thought, which maintains that the most vulnerable child, i.e. the youngest child, should be placed at the centre.
The following crash dynamics influence this decision:
- Frontal impact crashes account for the vast majority of collisions.
- Being in the centre rear seat is most favourable in the more unusual but more dangerous side impact situations.
- Rear-facing car seats are safer in front-impact collisions because they support the child’s head, neck, and back throughout the accident. It comes to reason that the benefits of being in a rear-facing seat are less significant in a side-impact incident.
- Other factors are frequently at work, so we recommend visiting with a Child Passenger Safety Technician, preferably in person with your car if you have any issues.
What if I have seating in the third row?
Even in the event of an accident, the middle centre seat would be the farthest away from the impact. The third-row seat in some vehicles is situated above the back axle, which may provide some impact protection in a side-impact crash.
Otherwise, the rules remain unchanged. Most importantly, guarantee correct installation. Consider how easy you can get back there to belt up children seated in the third row. Older, more autonomous children can sit in the back row, while younger children can sit in the centre row.