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  1. #1
    CPS Technician littleangelfire's Avatar
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    least protected kid most protected position

    I've always heard this on this board, and it makes sense. However, when I brought this up during one of the scenarios they asked us to solve during class, all 3 instructors said it's wrong. They said the people saying it aren't the people responding to accidents. The reason? there was an infant and a booster rider involved in the scenario and the instructors were pretty adamant the infant go in the middle.

    Assuming both seats can be installed and used correctly in both outboard and middle position, which is ideal? Not that ideal always happens in real life. But it really made me wonder. They said given the choice they'd always put the infant in the center, booster outboard. Did I misunderstand what 'least protected kid most protected position' meant? Is there some caveat that says unless it's an infant?

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician christineka's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    Pretty sure that the class scenarios involved a middle lap-only belt, so booster riders had to be in outboard positions.

    All I've ever head is the middle is the most protected position, so you put the least protected child there. I don't respond to any accidents, though, so I don't know.
    Christine *mom* to

    Dd1 age 17 (seatbelt), Dd2 age 15 (seatbelt), Ds1 age 14 (seatbelt), Dd4 age 12 (Seatbelt), Ds2 age 10 (Probooster), Dd4 age 7 (rstv), and dd5 age 1 (rfing Pria)

  4. #3
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    My instructors and the senior checkers I used to work with said the same thing. One of my instructors also said to turn kids forward when they started to talk. So I smile and nodded my way through class, then went out and did it the way I'm comfortable doing it. They never said I was wrong, but that they'd do it a different way.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  5. #4
    CPS Technician littleangelfire's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    Quote Originally Posted by christineka View Post
    Pretty sure that the class scenarios involved a middle lap-only belt, so booster riders had to be in outboard positions.

    All I've ever head is the middle is the most protected position, so you put the least protected child there. I don't respond to any accidents, though, so I don't know.

    No, they came up with extra scenarios. There was one from the book where there was infant, and a FF harnessed kid. The instructor insisted there, too, that the infant had to go in the middle.


    Quote Originally Posted by wendytthomas View Post
    My instructors and the senior checkers I used to work with said the same thing. One of my instructors also said to turn kids forward when they started to talk. So I smile and nodded my way through class, then went out and did it the way I'm comfortable doing it. They never said I was wrong, but that they'd do it a different way.

    Wendy

    OK. There were a few things I wondered about that was said in class. They did preach rear facing to the limit of the seat all the way, but there were a few other things I just kind of went, hmmmmm. But they did flat out say I was wrong on this, though.

  6. #5
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    Yeah they said that at my class as well. I just shut my mouth and answered how I knew they would and I do it differently at checks.

    Johnathon 10yrs, 76 lbs, 5-steps
    Seth, 6yrs, 43lbs in Clek Oobr
    River, 4yrs, 38lbs in FR85 and Clek Foonf

  7. #6
    CPS Technician littleangelfire's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    So you all would definitely, assuming all other factors a go, would put the booster in the middle, infant on the side?

  8. #7
    CPS Technician christineka's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    My class instructors were very open minded. They've been out in the real word for years an know that parents come up with seating arrangements based on: which kids get along best next to each other, what's easiest for getting in and out, where latch is, and which car seats fit best next to each other. They basically said: seatbelt riders should have a shoulder belt, ffing seats should be tethered. Middle is safest, but the side, properly restrained is safe too.
    Christine *mom* to

    Dd1 age 17 (seatbelt), Dd2 age 15 (seatbelt), Ds1 age 14 (seatbelt), Dd4 age 12 (Seatbelt), Ds2 age 10 (Probooster), Dd4 age 7 (rstv), and dd5 age 1 (rfing Pria)

  9. #8
    CPS Technician Ninetales's Avatar
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    My instructors said the ideal is least protected in the most protected spot, but that it's really a judgement call if there are other factors. Basically go case by case, and as long as the seat was the correct choice and direction they didn't nitpick the location.

  10. #9
    Senior Community Member 3acorns4Christy's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    There is a lot to determine who goes where in a car, for me its ease of getting everyone in and out that weighs more heavily on the decision.

    Joel - 9y nbb Pia - 6y maestro
    Henry 3y, nautilus

  11. #10
    Carseat Crazy babygirlsmom1005's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    When school starts for the pick up line, Madeline will be outboard, passanger side, infant in middle and Marshall RF behind me. I WANT her in the center but cannot find a way to do it for the drop off and pick up from school (unless I booster her in the front - no airbags - and keep her Frontier center for all of our other trips.....but that doesn't seem like a good idea either, school is less than 2 miles away...sigh).

    Madeline - 10/2005
    Marshall - 4/2009
    Merric - 9/2011

  12. #11
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    I *try* for the least protected child in the most protected position, but there are of course times it simply doesn't work. For my own kids, I also take into account who the driver of the vehicle is and the safety features of the vehicle. My kids cannot sit peacefully next to each other for more than about 15 minutes. Thus, they are both outboard in my vehicle.
    Jessi, CPST: 2003 Honda Pilot, 2010 Toyota Corolla
    T 12/12/06 49" 55 lbs D 1/8/09 44" 50 lbs
    In Use:2 PKWY SGLs, FR80, GN, HB TB Teaching seats: Titan 65, Lite Rider Retired: Wizard, 2 33 lb MA's, 2 50 lb CAs, 3 XTSLs, Regent
    PetBuckle Review Here

  13. #12
    CPS Technician littleangelfire's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    Oh yeah, I certainly think that as long as a seat is used correctly and is age/size appropriate, I wouldn't quibble too much about it. My own child has pretty much always been outboard b/c I drive a small car and both my old car and my new one have had those irritating humps in the middle of the backseat making installing a seat there more difficult. And I'm comfortable enough knowing he's in an appropriate restraint used correctly.

    But it was a difference in opinion I just had to ask.

  14. #13
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    The RFing child is already so much more protected just by being RFing. Give the "bonus points" of being in the middle to the FFing child.

    In the real world, other factors definitely come into play. If it's a new install for an unborn baby, I ask the parents where they want the seat. Sometimes they have a decision already firmly made, sometimes they ask me what's safest or what I recommend. If they come in with preinstalled seats, usually I just leave them where they were and only rearrange if the parent requests or there is an incompatibility issue.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  15. #14
    CPS Technician luckyclov's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    The RFing child is already so much more protected just by being RFing. Give the "bonus points" of being in the middle to the FFing child.
    Definitely.

    I have 3 kids and a minivan. A lot of thought went into where I put them and why. I have my FF harnessed 7-year old and RF'ing 18-month old in the outboard captains chairs. My oldest, who is 8 1/2, rides in a highback booster. Even though he fits properly in the booster and he rides responsibly (therefore, it's a perfectly safe option for him), I still feel he's the "least protected". So he rides in the center of the 3rd row. Center position for obvious reasons (there are side curtain bags back there as well), but also because where he sits, there's more room for head/leg excursion due to the space between the captains chairs. Would it make a difference in a crash? I don't know, but I'd sure like to think so. There's also come convienenece that comes into play. DS1 can responsibly get himself in and out and buckled (and ALWAYS remembers to buckle his booster back in). It's easier for me to get DS2 into his RF seat if it's outboard. It's also easier for me to double-check DD's harness after she's buckled herself up.

    My 2nd row outboard RF'er is as safe as he can possibly be (by being RF'ing), as is my harnessed 7-year old (who is still harnessed at this point only because she WILL NOT sit properly in a booster for an extended amount of time).

    I've never been one to stress about having a smaller child in the center. In fact, up until I had 3 kids (and one in a booster), I never even considered the center. They always rode outboard...in properly installed seats that fit them properly.

    In DH's vehicle, it's a 3 across. We have the RF'er outboard so DH doesn't cry heavy tears about reaching over to get him in his seat. When DS1 outgrows his Monterey, the RF'er will have to go in the center...because there's no headrest.
    In DH's old vehicle, it was also a 3 across. The RF'er was in the center but ONLY because it was the only way the 3 seats would work. Otherwise, he would have been outboard.
    CPST & Mom to:
    Keep (11 yrs old, 57", 80 lbs), in an Olli, Ozzi & BB
    Sass (10 yrs old, 54", 76 lbs), in Santa Fe, Monterey & Olli
    Zilla (4 yrs old, 38", 36 lbs), FF in a PS, RXT & FR85
    Rollin' in a 2014 Ody, 2012 F-150 SuperCrew & Luigi, a peppy little 2012 Fiat 500

  16. #15
    CPS Technician littleangelfire's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    In real life I see where it's generally not even at issue. but I can see where in those instances where a family has had one child and is going to two children, they're going to ask where to put whom. Is it against the rules to say something that goes against what we're taught? Not that I'm totally shy of rule breaking . Just curious as our instructors said several times we're only to say or do what we're taught in the curriculum. Like not recommending a particular seat.

  17. #16
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    Quote Originally Posted by littleangelfire View Post
    In real life I see where it's generally not even at issue. but I can see where in those instances where a family has had one child and is going to two children, they're going to ask where to put whom. Is it against the rules to say something that goes against what we're taught? Not that I'm totally shy of rule breaking . Just curious as our instructors said several times we're only to say or do what we're taught in the curriculum. Like not recommending a particular seat.
    No, it's not against the rules. You're not making anyone LESS safe. There are ideals on paper, then ideals for each family. As long as each child is safe in their car as is best for their family (in terms of positioning), then I'm ok with it. I will push hard for the ideal, make sure forward facing harnesses have tethers, make sure kids rear face as long as possible, but if those are all met, I'll state ideal, then go on with real life.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  18. #17
    CPS Technician emandbri's Avatar
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    I have Elizabeth harnessed in the middle and Benjamin outboard in a booster and I'm okay with it. I don't want to switch them because Elizabeth's seat is shorter and I can see out the back window, if the booster was in that spot it would block my view. I need the other outboard seat empty so I can flip it so the older kids can get in the back.

    Emily tech and mom to Jacob 16, Daniel 13, Benjamin 9, Elizabeth 6. Child care provider to 4 other kiddos.

  19. #18
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    Re: least protected kid most protected position

    These days my thinking is...Ok, is it easier to catapult a 5-year-old over the back hatch, or lift a toddler over the hatch. And both are awful. That will come into play soon. And my infant is outboard, unless I want another shoulder surgery. Plus, this way he can STAY in the infant seat though winter, even if he's heavy, and I don't deal with bulky coats. So that's safe, at least.

    I have everyone RF tethered who can be, or FF tethered. That was a big goal for me.

    I am not using the back middle of van (wanted to) because seats didn't fit that close together. And my FF is outboard. But what we have really works well right now and everybody, as mentioned, is tethered and can somewhat get in easily.
    Seatbelt and 59" (9 YO)
    Harmony Youth (8 YO)/Clek Olli (6YO)
    Harmony Dreamtime (5 YO)
    Clek Fllo (3 YO, RF)/Graco 40 (15 months)
    + 2 Recaro Performance boosters in spare car

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