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  1. #1
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    1995 Subaru -- back seat has no head rests, center has only lapbelt

    I'm starting to feel that my older Subaru is not safe. I have two kids, DD is 11, and DS is 8. DD rides in the backseat without a booster, and the seat back comes up to about the bottom of her ears; I worry about enough head support for her in the case of an accident. DS rides in a high-backed booster, but even with that I also worry about adequate head support, since there is no factory head rest to support the high back of the booster enough.

    Also, the center of the backseat has only a lapbelt--that is never a good option, right?! We occasionally need to give rides to friends, I I feel like my options are limited. Have DD ride in the front? Is that better than having a kid in the middle without shoulder belt?!

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am angling for a new (used) car...needing to convince myself and DH that the Subaru is in need of an upgrade

    Thanks for any input!

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member 2BunniesMommy's Avatar
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    Re: 1995 Subaru -- back seat has no head rests, center has only lapbelt

    Your DD isn't safe in that position. Head support needs to be to the top of the ears. I would actually feel safer with her up front than in the back, whether to avoid using the middle lap belt for a friend or not, but it is between a rock and a hard place if the car has a passenger airbag, which I'm guessing it does.

    I too would be angling for a new to me car, and I would be relentless and frequently searching for a great deal on a safer car.

    I don't know if it is an option at her height and if you or she would be open to it, but a high back booster is the only way I'd be comfortable with her in the back.

    Onto that, as long as your son is in a booster that doesn't require support behind the headrest, he's golden. Please post back with what seat he is in and I or someone else if they see this first will let you know if that is an ok without head support booster and if not, we can figure help you find an option that doesn't require it. Or, just keep working on upgrading the car, lol,

    Back to your DD, I know putting her in front is probably not a popular opinion, and I hesitate to say it, but I personally would be much more comfortable with that than not having head support, neck protection in the back. Just be sure to slide her seat back as far as possible and make sure that the belt fit is good on her in that position. My 11 year old has textbook perfect fit in the back, but when she has tried out the front, it isn't quite right, thank goodness, since that keeps her from even asking to ride there.

    What price range and other wants/needs are on your car shopping list? Maybe start a thread in that category and get some ideas there, unless you already have one picked out and are just trying to get DH on board. I had it narrowed down to 3 cars when I was shopping 5 years ago, then I came across an awesome deal on a Honda Insight (hybrid, so great gas mileage, which was one reason for looking, we had 2 vans that were getting around 11mpg!) and loved it so much I searched out another 3 years later and DH and I now have matching cars (different colors, different years, but so similar it is easy to forget which one you are in and get confused by the very minor differences.)

  4. #3
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    Re: 1995 Subaru -- back seat has no head rests, center has only lapbelt

    Thanks so much for the reply and info.

    DS is in a Britax Parkway. I had DD in one, too, but now she seems too tall for it. Again, not even sure that seat offers protection without a headrest behind it for support!

    We are considering a Prius. My kids are at the age where I am driving up and down our valley all day long, shuttling them to activities...
    We already have a Sienna van, but DH ends up driving it, because he's an leg amputee and the automatic transmission is easier for him to drive. The Subaru is a manual.

    Thanks again!

  5. #4
    Senior Community Member 2BunniesMommy's Avatar
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    Re: 1995 Subaru -- back seat has no head rests, center has only lapbelt

    DS is good then! The Parkway does not need vehicle head support behind it, so no worries there. Being a very tall booster and your DD has outgrown it, it's very unlikely that there would be any that would offer her safety in the backseat. Hope this helps.

  6. #5
    Moderator - CPS Technician
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    Re: 1995 Subaru -- back seat has no head rests, center has only lapbelt

    Have you tried the 5 step test with your dd in the back? At 11 years old she might pass it and that might get her head down to where she has support from the seat back behind her head. Along those lines even a lower booster might help out enough. If the head support now is to the bottoms of her ears then you just need a *little* less boosting to get adequate support (to the tops of her ears).

    Our 97 Subaru finally bit the dust about 18 months ago and it sounds similar to yours (no head rests, lap only belt in the center). I'm assuming the airbag is not "smart" and so I would be hesitant to put an 11 year old up there.

    You should also consider the law, which might require that children of a certain age be seated in the back seat if there are seats available. Check into that for sure.

    Good luck getting your husband on board with a new car!

    ETA: I don't think we have statistics available to us to determine whether your daughter is safer in the back seat without adequate head support or in the front seat in front of an active (and not smart) airbag. Neither is ideal.
    Cutie #1 (11 years) 5-stepping
    Cutie #2 (9 years) riding in a Recaro Probooster

    Cutie #3 (6 years) riding in a Chicco KidFit
    Cutie #4 (4 years) riding in a Frontier
    Cutie #5 (1 year) riding in a Nuna Rava

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: 1995 Subaru -- back seat has no head rests, center has only lapbelt

    jjordan, the 11-year-old is already not using a booster. It sounds like she is pretty tall!
    -Reta
    Former CPST
    Mom of V, born 6/2014, RF in a 4Ever and a Scenera Next
    G dog, rescued 6/2016, in a belted SturdiBag

  8. #7
    Moderator - CPS Technician
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    Re: 1995 Subaru -- back seat has no head rests, center has only lapbelt

    Quote Originally Posted by MelodyoftheForest View Post
    jjordan, the 11-year-old is already not using a booster. It sounds like she is pretty tall!
    Ah, totally misread that! Thanks!
    Cutie #1 (11 years) 5-stepping
    Cutie #2 (9 years) riding in a Recaro Probooster

    Cutie #3 (6 years) riding in a Chicco KidFit
    Cutie #4 (4 years) riding in a Frontier
    Cutie #5 (1 year) riding in a Nuna Rava

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