'97 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

PikkuMyy

New member
A friend of mine called me earlier with a question and I don't have a clear answer.

Her daughter, E, will be 8 in October and rides in a Graco Turbo. E's father has a Geo Tracker (year unknown) with a soft top. The back seat has no head restraints and my friend is also concerned with the lack of roll bar over her daughter's head. She says that the exhaust fumes also make their way in the back seat, making her daughter feel ill.

The father is unemployed so trading in or buying a new car is not an option. Mother driving E everywhere is also not an option. How much protection does a soft top provide? Would you still have the child ride in the back seat in a high back (if she still fits) or put her in the front with the seat as far back as it will go?

ETA: I sent a link to my friend so she can see the responses as well.
 
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PikkuMyy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

Err, I just realized that I forgot to take the '00 out of the title. It is NOT a 2000 Geo Tracker because it wouldn't exist. ;) Geo only goes up to '97 and after that it was made by Chevy. This vehicle is definitely a Geo.
 

2BunniesMommy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

I don't know if this will be a popular opinion or not, but in that case I think I would be more comfortable with her in the front seat. I had a Tracker for a very short time over 10 years ago, I can't remember what year it was, but it was also a GEO. From what I remember about the rear seat, I would be nervous to have a kid back there even with a high back booster.
 

PikkuMyy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

I don't know if this will be a popular opinion or not, but in that case I think I would be more comfortable with her in the front seat. I had a Tracker for a very short time over 10 years ago, I can't remember what year it was, but it was also a GEO. From what I remember about the rear seat, I would be nervous to have a kid back there even with a high back booster.

Popular or not, it's helpful to hear from someone who has owned the same make/model vehicle at some point in time! I have only seen the vehicle in passing and Google images. I've never been inside it or inspected the placing of the roll bar or the solidness of the soft top.
 

2BunniesMommy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

The soft top has no solidness at all. Also, being pretty high centered and made before they had increased roll over safety measures, I would want my child where there was some overheard protection.
 

PikkuMyy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

The soft top has no solidness at all. Also, being pretty high centered and made before they had increased roll over safety measures, I would want my child where there was some overheard protection.

Do you know if it was possible to turn off the front passenger air bag? My friend wants to know if it's possible to turn off the air bag. I'm guessing it's not possible since it's not a pick up truck.
 

2BunniesMommy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

No, don't remember that being an option and since it does have a backseat I really doubt it would be. I would just scoot the seat as far back as possible. To me the risk of an airbag is less than the risk of no roof to speak of.
 

PikkuMyy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

No, don't remember that being an option and since it does have a backseat I really doubt it would be. I would just scoot the seat as far back as possible. To me the risk of an airbag is less than the risk of no roof to speak of.

That's what I figured and I agree with you regarding the risk comparison.
 

sirrahn

Active member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

Are you sure it has a passenger side airbag? I remember knowing someone in '97 who had a slightly older one and she picked it precisely because she wanted her baby to ride up front and it didn't have a passenger airbag.

As an aside, she was from Sweden where I believe it's still very common for kids to ride rearfacing up front.

Airbag or not though I would also probably have the 8 yr old ride up front.
 

PikkuMyy

New member
Are you sure it has a passenger side airbag? I remember knowing someone in '97 who had a slightly older one and she picked it precisely because she wanted her baby to ride up front and it didn't have a passenger airbag.

As an aside, she was from Sweden where I believe it's still very common for kids to ride rearfacing up front.

Airbag or not though I would also probably have the 8 yr old ride up front.

Mom said it does but I will ask her to double check.
 

canadiangie

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

It likely does have an airbag - and a first generation one at that. First gen airbags deployed with significant force and were designed with large adults in mind. Nothing like today's 'smart' airbags that, in theory, and hopefully in practice, know how much the front occupant weighs, and where along the seat track they are sitting (ie: all the way back, or closer to the dash, etc).

I'm semi familiar with the backseat of a Tracker and yes, it's quite flimsy. Low seat backs, not much there, really. Not exactly where I would want my child to be seated, ideally. And especially not if the exhaust fumes are an issue for my child's health -- poor kid.

It's a toss up for me as to which is less preferable. Neither choice is great. :(
 

Kecia

Admin - CPST Instructor
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

If it has a passenger side frontal airbag then please put the kid in the backseat with a lap/shoulder belt and a highback booster because the frontal airbag is likely to be a first generation AB and those are the airbags that gave airbags a bad name back in the day. They deploy with tremendous force and were very effective for properly restrained adults but had dire consequences for some children, small adults and the elderly. 1st gen airbags scare me. I would not put my less-than-teenage kid in front of a 1st Gen AB unless there was absolutely no other option. Just my :twocents:.
 
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Brianna

New member
That's a tough choice. Between the lack of head support, soft top and exhaust fumes the back seat doesn't sound ideal. I would likely choose the front seat, but keep rides in that vehicle to a bare minimum :(
 

PikkuMyy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

If it has a passenger side frontal airbag then please put the kid in the backseat with a lap/shoulder belt and a highback booster because the frontal airbag is likely to be a first generation AB and those are the airbags that gave airbags a bad name back in the day. They deploy with tremendous force and were very effective for properly restrained adults but had dire consequences for some children, small adults and the elderly. 1st gen airbags scare me. I would not put my less-than-teenage kid in front of a 1st Gen AB unless there was absolutely no other option. Just my :twocents:

I'm glad you put in your 2 cents! That sounds scary. :( I will most definitely find out if the vehicle has side airbags in the front.

I'm not sure if E has outgrown the Turbo HB. I do know that mom can't afford another HBB. I don't have anything taller than a Turbo to lend/give her either.
 

Kecia

Admin - CPST Instructor
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

If there is a reliable way to disable the passenger side frontal airbag then I would consider the front seat as an option in this case.

Oh, and I fixed the title for you to reflect that this is a '97 model year vehicle.
 

PikkuMyy

New member
Re: '00 Geo Tracker with soft top -- Safest place for 8 yo?

If there is a reliable way to disable the passenger side frontal airbag then I would consider the front seat as an option in this case.

Oh, and I fixed the title for you to reflect that this is a '97 model year vehicle.

I wish I could get into the vehicle myself to check it out, but that's unlikely to happen.

Thanks for fixing the title!
 

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