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  1. #1

    Front center seats

    We are looking for a new car and we would like to have 6 seats available. We will be using 5 seats regularly (2 car seats and 1 older child over 12). We will probably get a minivan but we were wondering if a 6 seat sedan (like a Taurus, Avalon or Impala) would be an option.

    The center front seat in all these cars only has a lap belt and all lack head restraints so I assume they are not safe for older children (or probably adults). Is is safe to use a front-facing child seat in this position or are these seats pretty much just unsafe?


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  3. #2

    Re: Front center seats

    Children 12 and under are always recommended to ride in back. The statistic show a good margin of improved safety up until that age.

    Seating positions with lap only belts or inadequate head restraints are certainly not as safe as other seating positions. Whiplash and "Seatbelt Sydrome" injuries from lap belts can very severe, and children are more at risk since their connective tissue and bones are not as well developed.

    Top minivans are very safe choices, even moreso than most SUVs. But if they don't appeal to you, you might also consider a wagon that has a third row of seating. These are often limited to children in certain age ranges, but that would be another option for you. I think the Taurus wagon and Volvo wagons can be equipped with such seating.

    Please also see our guides for new cars:

    Good luck shopping!




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