'99 Sable LS wagon. Mom needs to fit 4 kids. Back bench unusable. Will she get pulled over in NYC?

tentoes

New member
NYC conundrum: 1999 Sable LS wagon. Mom needs to fit 4 kids in (rear facing back bench is unusable of course for car seats).

Her oldest is 3.5, 40lbs. and currently RF in a Radian.
3 younger ones will be in the back seat (all RF).

She's wondering if chances are high she'll get pulled over in NYC if the 3.5 yr old is in the middle seat in front (FF in her Radian). Their previous car was totaled in a hit-and-run and this is what they have to work with.

Dad would usually ride in front passenger seat or she'd put 3.5 yr old there and push seat as far back from airbag as she can (RF Radian with AA would be behind that).
 
ADS

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
There is no way to say whether someone will get pulled over. But generally cops don't pull people over for restrained children no matter how they are restrained. It is a matter of luck whether an officer observing the situation knows enough to know when something is dangerous/safe/illegal/legal/not ideal or what.
 

tentoes

New member
My sister was actually pulled over in NYC when her preschooler (RFing) pushed the chest clip down and was leaning forward as a cop glanced at the car. He ticketed her and claimed he wasn't restrained at all. She said he knew nothing about car seats (he saw said preschooler was still strapped in, plus she had a car full of CRs and more than one RFer.. by seeing that, she was definitely not someone who took buckling lightly. He ticketed her anyway).
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Yeah, that's one of those times when he didn't realize how things worked. Like I said, it totally depends on who happens to be there that day.
 

Brigala

Well-known member
I am not an expert on NY law but basically there is no correct way to restrain all family members in that car at the same time. If I remember right the Sable doesn't have a "real" front center seat and prohibits installation of a car seat in that spot, right?

So if they have no option other than having everyone in the car together, they get to choose between incorrectly installing a seat in the front center, or incorrectly installing one on the back rear facing bench or putting one child on the back RF bench without a child restraint.

Guessing which option is least unsafe is not something I'm going to attempt. But if NY laws are written like most others I've seen the most defensible in court is probably putting the oldest child on the back bench. If the child will sit still and remain buckled the seat belt back there may actually fit properly.
 

jjordan

Moderator
I think it is unlikely that they would get pulled over, but as was mentioned previously, it is hard to predict what police will do as there are many different officers and they have some discretion on what vehicles they stop and why. Here is a link to NYS law and here are answers to some FAQ. HTH!
 

mfrasier

New member
Is it possible to put the non-driving parent on the back rf bench when everyone is together? It might not be the most comfortable but it sounds like it would be the best way to get everyone restrained properly, unless there is a weight limit for that bench.
 

Brigala

Well-known member
I had a friend with this same car several years ago and although I don't recall the details I don't think the back fold down bench is big enough to properly secure an adult.
 

tentoes

New member
I am not an expert on NY law but basically there is no correct way to restrain all family members in that car at the same time. If I remember right the Sable doesn't have a "real" front center seat and prohibits installation of a car seat in that spot, right?

Nope, parents said they both read the manual extensively and you can use the front-center for a CR.


Is it possible to put the non-driving parent on the back rf bench when everyone is together? It might not be the most comfortable but it sounds like it would be the best way to get everyone restrained properly, unless there is a weight limit for that bench.

There's a weight and height limit for the back bench.
 

tiggercat

New member
If I recall correctly, that front midfle seat is basically an armrest that flips up to become a vehicle seatback. It's not very sturdy. I'd be surprised if Diono permitted an install there.
 

UlrikeDG

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
I'd be surprised if Diono permitted an install there.

If the vehicle allows it and Diono doesn't explicitly prohibit it, I wouldn't blink at using a seat there. It's not going to be comfortable for the driver, but sometimes you have to go with the least unsafe of some less than ideal options.
 

aept

New member
I am also in New York, but not NYC. IIRC, the law states that children should be in the back if possible but if all the backseat spots are filled with children then it is permissible to have a child restrained in the front. I can't imagine she would be pulled over or ticketed in that situation as long as everyone had their own seat/seatbelt/carseat.
 

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