Lesser of 2 evils?

Mom2FiveGirls

Active member
A friend of mine and I were talking today and we got to talking about car seats. She asked which is safer...a 10-12 year old (assuming they pass the 5 step test) in the back with a lap belt only or the same child in the passenger seat with lap and shoulder belt. Its totally hypothetical and I said front seat with lap and shoulder belt, but she insists the back seat is safest for kids under 13 regardless of the lack of shoulder belt.
 
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gsdguenter

New member
I would say up front with lap and shoulder belt and push the seat back as far as it goes away from airbag. I wouldn't want anyone in a lap only.

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amelia222

New member
I'd say any child too big to fit in a harnessed seat in the lap only position would be better off in the front with the shoulder belt.
 

safeinthecar

Moderator - CPS Technician
Statistically, there is a lesser rate of injury in the back, regardless of seat belt type, however, also statistically, the injuries from a lap only belt are much more severe than the injuries from being in the front.

So basically, he has better odds of not being injured at all in the back in a lap only belt, however, if he does get injured the odds are that the injury would be very severe.

I look at it this way, if there was a 100% chance that option A would leave my child with a broken limb, and 50% chance that option B would leave him with a traumatic brain injury, I would choose A.
 

monica-m

CPST Instructor
A very similar scenario was presented to us in my tech class. The instructors' consensus was lap and shoulder belt in the front seat with the seat as far back as possible. If possible use the lap belt only position for a harnessed seat but it's never a good idea for anyone to ride in a lap only belt if it can somehow be avoided.
 

Baylor

New member
I would say up front with lap and shoulder belt and push the seat back as far as it goes away from airbag. I wouldn't want anyone in a lap only.

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This would be my decision too. I would never put a child in a lap only belt.
 

April

Well-known member
If there is adequate head support, an 86Y in the lap belt position would be my first choice, followed by the front passenger seat.
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Dillipop

Well-known member
It's quite unlikely that a lap belt only position would have adequate head support for a 10-12 year old. I would think that the front seat, with good head support and lap/shoulder would be best.
 

April

Well-known member
It's quite unlikely that a lap belt only position would have adequate head support for a 10-12 year old. I would think that the front seat, with good head support and lap/shoulder would be best.

I realize that ;) but wanted to throw the possibility out there as an ideal.
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cmm7

New member
It's quite unlikely that a lap belt only position would have adequate head support for a 10-12 year old. I would think that the front seat, with good head support and lap/shoulder would be best.

My car does. It is a Chevy Cavalier with lap only in the middle, but S (10 but bigger than most middle schoolers) at 5'3" and a torso of about 21-22" still has 1/2 an inch before her ears will be above the back seat. Of course knowing her that will be before the end of the summer and I will be at a loss of what to do.

So while it may be unlikely, they definitely exist!
 

Baylor

New member
My only Lap belt only position in the car has no head rest making it a double whammy.
Not sure why anyone thought that was a good idea...
 

April

Well-known member
My only Lap belt only position in the car has no head rest making it a double whammy.
Not sure why anyone thought that was a good idea...

Because head rests and shoulder belts cost money. :(
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