Does the safety of the vehicle affect your choice of seat?

bobandjess99

Senior Community Member
So..I've been pondering....I know that for an older child who can sitin a booster, we don't have any data as to whether a harness or booster is safer..odds are, both are very safe.
But, I also know your car is your first line of defense. If it crumples into a postage-stamp-sized piece of tin, or explodes a la the Pinto, chances are your carseat may not be the deciding factor in the outcome.
My car is pretty safe. It was the safest car we could afford, and gets almost the highest safety scores from IIHS. It has good front and side impact, and has SAB, and good rear impact crash ratings. I feel pretty good about my kids riding safely restrained in my car. We bought it when my old rattletrap died.
But.....
My dh still drives a rattletrap, because we can't afford to replace it yet..hopefully this coming year. :eek: Becasue I am going back to work, he will need to sometimes drive them around. We can't switch cars because I can't physically drive his car, and i have to be able to drive for my work, he can't like..drop me off.


Anyway...I've been thinking about what seats to put in his car. Ds will be in ....i dunno...something RFing, so I'm not too worried about him. But dd rides in a HBTB in my car...which just seems so desperately inadequate a level of protection in dh's dangermobile. Am I insane for wanting to put her back into her nauti, so that she has a nice, hard, metal-reinfoced shell around her? Sort of to add another layer of protection should the car..you know..actually crumple into a pile of tin?

I'm being stupid, right? I'm being weirdly emotional and stupid. Tell me to go to bed and stop being weird. :sorry!:
 
ADS

Pixels

New member
Yes, I do take the vehicle's safety (particularly side impact performance) into account when assigning seats to vehicles, along with perceived side impact protection of the carseat. Particularly if my child is going to be outboard, I want as much side impact protection as possible from the carseat in a poor vehicle. For frontal or rear impact, I don't think it makes that much difference. If the car crumples into a tin ball, your kid's head is going to strike the interior of the vehicle, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Having a stronger shell of the carseat behind the child isn't going to make a difference.

If you feel like the metal-reinforced shell of the Nautilus will protect her better than the Turbo, then I see no harm in putting her in the Nautilus as a booster. Putting her in the Nautilus as a harnessed seat vs booster, well that would depend on how she feels about it.

You mentioned that you feel okay with your kids in your car in part because your car has good rear impact ratings. That rating is not a crash test. It's only a rating of how well the head restraint works to protect the neck of the average adult male dummy - not really relevant to your kids in seats.
 

urchin_grey

New member
Yes, I do. We have 3 adults living here (me, DP, and my sister), so we have 3 cars. Our main "family" vehicle is an '03 Caravan, and then we have a '96 Saturn that DP mainly just drives to work in, and my sister drives a '95 Crown Vic. Bram rides in the Caravan 99% of the time, but if he rides with my sister (outboard because my nephew's seat is already center) he rides RF'ing in his TF. I don't feel as good about putting his Radian in that car, plus the install is extremely difficult anyway. I was going to get a cheap seat to put in her car permanently, but then I realized the TF was perfect because it has high sides and lock-offs (outboard belts don't lock in that car). My sister only babysits him once a week though and they don't always go anywhere, so its not often he rides in that car. As for my nephew, my sister knows her car isn't the safest, so he'll be riding RF in the center as long as possible (she hasn't had tethers put in yet anyway) and then either FF harnessed or possibly even a shield seat in the center. She's planning on avoiding a BPB as long as she can so that he doesn't have to ride outboard.
 

menfusse

New member
Yes, I absolutely do. We recently traded a Jeep which A 5 stepped in, and I was ok with given the side airbags and the sheer weight of the vehicle, etc, even though I could have gotten her another taller booster for it. We recently traded it in, and got an equally safe vehicle and I'll be ok with that as well.

However, dh drives an old s-10 pick up to work and drops A off at school in the mornings on his way. I've never bothered to see if she 5 steps because she still fits in the monterey, so I prefer her in it in that truck.

My MIL drives an 05 cavalier. The taller high backs that fit A do not fit in the cavalier at the height she needs them. They hit the roof and tilt. She doesn't 5 step because of the idiotic seatbelt design in those cars. Heck I don't really even 5 step. She's in a backless and I hate it. HATE it, but she's only with her 1 time a week, one way for a short distance. E is with her in the car that same day, but for longer distances and more frequent trips. I recently put her FR85 in there, even though she meets the requirements to booster in some seats, and would ride well, I prefer the harness and the shell of the FR for that car.
 

rodentranger

New member
I absolutely take the safety of the vehicle into account. I live in the land of the large SUV. When my kids are in our Altima, their heads are at everyone else's bumper height. There's no aide airbags and I can't install the seats side by side except for specific combinations. Even with those combinations, the outboard seat is touching the door. So I insist that both kids are rearfacing because it's the best I can do. In five pounds, ODS will have maxed out US seats for rearfacing weight limits. I'm not sure what I'm going to do at that point, but will likely put YDS in the Radian rf and try to install the GN in the center.
In our 1990 Camry I have YDS ina rf seat and ODS is in the GN center. This is our least used vehicle and only used for short trips.
In my Pilot, we're higher but I still don't have side airbags for rear passengers. I try to install ff kids or kids in untethered rf seat in the center. This is our daily driver and my home is located in the Bermuda Triangle formed by three two-lane undivided highways. Quite literally, I am surrounded by some of Washington's most dangerous highways. I don't have the option of going anywhere without driving on one every day. My kids are currently both rf in tethered seats, outboard to accommodate the dvd player installed in teh center on the armrest.:eek:
My mom's car has rear SAB. My kids aren't in it often and only for shortish trips. I have ODS ff in the center in the FN.

All that said, before I would install any seat in any of DH's vehicles, I made sure they all had TA retrofits installed. I always tether ff, and use the rf tethers when available. I try to use the steel reinforced seats when I have to put ODS ff, and YDS only goes rf.
 

aeormsby

New member
I'd say vehicle safety impacts my choices less than the weather.

We don't have OLD vehicles. I guess our Truck is a little older - an '04 Dakota, but we bought it new so it just doesn't feel 'old' to me. But it doesn't have side airbags and all that jazz. But I'm pretty sure DS will be FF in that vehicle before my vehicle ('07 Outlook, side airbags & I think really good crash test data). The crash test ratings weren't something we looked at too much when we were looking at vehicles - we were looking at size, MPG & price.

But, like I said DS will probably be FF soon in the truck (after his 3rd birthday in a couple of weeks). But he rarely rides in the truck, and if we end up taking it up to the mountains on a snowy weekend or something I'll probably put the seat back RF.

I could see if we had an older lower vehicle (like our '99 Subaru that we traded for the Outlook) I'd might think about things differently.
 

An Aurora

Senior Community Member
Sort of, I guess. I mean, my car is super safe but I also want super safe seats in it. DH drives a 1996 Ford Deathstar and because it's used less frequently (usually only to take DD1 to school twice a week) the "less nice" seats are in there. We have a Turbo, EFTA and TF in there. The Turbo has to be by the door, since the center seats are lap-only belts, which bugs me. I have no qualms about the EFTA or TF. I just hope he can get rid of the stupid van soon and we can move to something a bit safer for him.
 

bobandjess99

Senior Community Member
If you feel like the metal-reinforced shell of the Nautilus will protect her better than the Turbo, then I see no harm in putting her in the Nautilus as a booster. Putting her in the Nautilus as a harnessed seat vs booster, well that would depend on how she feels about it.

You mentioned that you feel okay with your kids in your car in part because your car has good rear impact ratings. That rating is not a crash test. It's only a rating of how well the head restraint works to protect the neck of the average adult male dummy - not really relevant to your kids in seats.

No,. I understand about the rear impact only being head support, but I'm considering getting an AIR booster, which requires the vehicle support, and in that case, it *IS* the vehicle that is providing the whiplash protection...but since I didn't say that in my post, and I have no reason to believe you are psychic, you had no way of knowing that.. ;)

She can't use the nauti as a booster, at ALL, probably ever. I'm flummoxed that so many people get good fits with it, because it fits her terribly, and just everything about the design and where the belt would lay, etc....I just can't ever see it fitting well, no matter how big she gets. It would be as a harnessed seat, and she wouldn't be mad or anything. :)
 

An Aurora

Senior Community Member
Yeah, we have solid ice everywhere for 6 months out of the year, so the weather is irrelevant (or, always relevant depending on how you look at it;)) Driving during high winds, whiteouts, black ice conditions etc is just a fact of life and isn't avoidable.
 

HayleyCPST

New member
Since my car is an '87, I should worry about the safety of myself and the passenger more than the kiddos but I don't. I don't have airbags or ABS. So, yeah in a side impact collision... Not good for me. The kids however, they will be fine in their car seats.

I'm a sucker for head wings and EPP/EPS foam or anything around their head to protect them from hitting my steel doors or the window. The turbobooster makes me nervous, so does the scenera. Today I had Bella in the scenera I was so nervous about getting hit on her side. She's still safe: rear facing, harness tight, carseat instaled correctly... Etc. But still I worry about her in that seat. It was only today, but I was very nervous. Side airbags would make me feel better or an xt or something with more "sip".

So in my car, I do all I can to make the kids safe. I cannot afford a new car right now so this is what I've got. I make sure to buy seats with super sip/ head wings for my car.

In the 80's, my car was probably one of the safest on the road. That's why my parents bought it when we were little. They shipped it over from
Sweden and all my moms friends were jealous haha. We are the only owners and it has never been in a crash with people in it. (my dang neighbor backed up into it once). It literally is a steel block. It's indestructable, but that means more force on me.

Honestly, I feel a little better that I drive a Volvo even if it's almost 24 yrs old. To me it would be better than a Geo metro (not that they are bad, I'm just saying I would not feel comfortable transporting children in one.)

you drive what you drive. If you can afford a safer car go ahead. If you can't, then make sure the kids are as safe as they can be. I truly think that head wings- regardless of their trademark name- can provide better sip than one without it in a car without airbags. The thing that sucks is that there aren't any tests to prove it. So I'd rather spend 300 bucks on a car seat that makes me feel better than buy a new car and a cheap seat. But when I think about it... If I bought a brand new Volvo Xc90 I would still buy an xt over a
scenera.
 

bobandjess99

Senior Community Member
Honestly, I feel a little better that I drive a Volvo even if it's almost 24 yrs old. To me it would be better than a Geo metro (not that they are bad, I'm just saying I would not feel comfortable transporting children in one.)

.

:crying:

Dh's car is, in fact, a very old broken down Metro. :(
 

HayleyCPST

New member
:crying:

Dh's car is, in fact, a very old broken down Metro. :(
oh no! Don't cry. I don't think you are crazy for putting your daughter into the GN at all. If you already have it, great. Even if you have to buy another one it's still better than buying a new car, right? Just to make you feel at peace, KWIM? I mean don't do it if you will go into debt. Do what you can. Moms have good intuitions. I'm not a mom, but i've got a nanny intuition which is: "do not let these kids get hurt. They are not yours. You are responsible for them". I'm constantly thinking about their safety.

It's not a dumb question, I've been thinking the same thing recently!
 

canadiangie

New member
Yes. My 4.5 yo is still rf largely in part because I drive an '03 explorer.

Getting a new vehicle is on our to-do list asap.
 

mlohry

New member
I for sure do, we have a very safe 04 Odyssey with side air bags all around. If we didn't and my DD had to ride on the sides of our barely used Alero I would get a seat that had more steel reinforcement, but because she rides in the passenger seat slid to the middle of our van I am ok with her being in an RA. My friend that drives a very old van with no side air bags has her young kids riding outboards in TB no backs, I hate that and I even told her they did not offer much protection.
 

BookMama

Moderator
:crying:

Dh's car is, in fact, a very old broken down Metro. :(

We had DS in a 1993 Metro for several years before we replaced it. You (general you) do what you have to do. :)

That said, in your situation, I would be inclined to go back to the Nautilus in harnessed mode. :twocents:
 

Carrie_R

Ambassador - CPS Technician
It definitely does for me, as well. When I had my Safari, I got into the "RF as long as possible, HBB as long as possible" school of thought. Now that I have my Pilot -- very good safety ratings, and liberally coated in airbags -- I am more chill about it. In the van, the then-7.5yo knew he would be riding in a HBB as long as possible, and he knew why. Generally, he rides in a backless with me now, and I've let the 6.5yo ride backless on occasion, too.

In your situation, I'd probably go for the Nautilus, Frontier, or Monterey... something that has more wrap-around solid-feeling side protection. It might not make a difference, but it would make me feel better, anyways. Obviously the Nautilus is the best choice for you, since you already have it. :)
 

mimieliza

New member
In some ways, yes. Both of our cars are fairly safe, but they are older and do not have side curtain airbags. SIP is important to me for DD who is FFing and sitting outboard, so she rides in a Blvd and CA. DS is still RFing of course, so I'm not as concerned about having seats with head wings, but I still insist on EPS foam. He is in a Roundabout and SS1.
 

bobandjess99

Senior Community Member
ItIn your situation, I'd probably go for the Nautilus, Frontier, or Monterey... something that has more wrap-around solid-feeling side protection. It might not make a difference, but it would make me feel better, anyways. Obviously the Nautilus is the best choice for you, since you already have it. :)

I have a frontier 80 also. Dd just doesn't like it :rolleyes:
 

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