Safety of Vehicles with 3rd Row Seats

aisraeltax

New member
Criteria #1:
http://www.iihs.org/ratings/default.aspx

Criteria #2 and #3:
http://www.safercar.gov/

Criteria #4 and #5 are found in your vehicle owner's manual and/or by visual inspection of the vehicle. Also, the NHTSA web site (http://www.safercar.gov/) will provide some or all of this info when you look up your vehicle on their web site.

There is one other web site, http://www.informedforlife.org/ which takes the IIHS and NHTSA ratings combined with other factors and uses an algorithm to come up with a safety rating for your vehicle. The one thing you need to watch for on this site is if there aren't a complete set of ratings available for a vehicle, they will assume "average" for the result, which may not actually be the case. So, the site is best for vehicles with complete test results both from IIHS and NHTSA.

The unfortunate thing here is, your Mercedes R-class has not been tested by either the IIHS or the NHTSA. It doesn't look like Euro NCAP has any results either. :(

ironic, huh? one of the safest vehicles, Mercedes, isn't chosen by NHTSA for testing so it can't be put on that list? that irks me...one of the MAJOR reasons we purchased the car we did was due to safety (not saying the others aren't safe..just that ours is safe also, yk).

i haven't picked the car up yet so i haven't been able to thumb through the manual yet (i have a pdf and it's over 500 pgs. long!).

i wonder how NHTSA determines which cars they are going to test. I guess Mercedes doesn't care enough but it's too bad b/c not a lot of ppl know about that option (at around the same price as some of the others listed).

other than not being tested, it does have:

4) Must have side curtain airbags for ALL rows of seating, including the third row. Consider models that tout individual side impact sensors for all three rows of seating.

5) Head restraints and 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions.

oh well.....
 
Last edited by a moderator:
ADS

Jan06twinmom

New member
I found this thread and it is answering some of my questions, but I still have more questions about the safety of the third row. I wanted to know who would be safest in the third row.

If your children are appropriately restrained in a 5-point harness or high back booster that provides head restraint, they should be quite safe in typical crashes from the rear. It would primarly be teenagers and adults at the greatest risk in a seat like you describe.

This quote suggests that our children in their 5pt harnesses would be the safest. However, what happens with safety if you cannot use a top tether with the carseat? It sounds like head excursion is the concern. Is a rf 3 year old safe in the third row? Is there a concern with the glass being closer or is that not an issue since we can tether our carseats (Radian and Britax) rf as well?

I'm a little confused and frustrated. The Santa Fe with the third row is a car that is high on our list. Even though the third seat seems like it would be the best fit for children (3 year old twins) because it is a tighter space with less leg room, the manufacturers didn't include latch or top tethers in that third row so you could install carseats there.
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
I found this thread and it is answering some of my questions, but I still have more questions about the safety of the third row. I wanted to know who would be safest in the third row.



This quote suggests that our children in their 5pt harnesses would be the safest. However, what happens with safety if you cannot use a top tether with the carseat? It sounds like head excursion is the concern. Is a rf 3 year old safe in the third row? Is there a concern with the glass being closer or is that not an issue since we can tether our carseats (Radian and Britax) rf as well?

I'm a little confused and frustrated. The Santa Fe with the third row is a car that is high on our list. Even though the third seat seems like it would be the best fit for children (3 year old twins) because it is a tighter space with less leg room, the manufacturers didn't include latch or top tethers in that third row so you could install carseats there.

The main concern (as with almost any type of crash) is ejection. The secondary concern is the head striking the interior. A 5-point harness does a better job at preventing ejection. The possible risk in a 3rd row seat is mainly for a vehicle seat back that is loaded by heavy adult(s), resulting in a failure of the seat back mechanism in a severe (but rare) rear end crash. Those older passengers would then move toward the impact since the seat back is no longer restraining them. The situation is made worse if a shoulder belt and head restraint are missing.

A child in a 5-point harness would not tend to be heavy enough to load the seat to failure as an adult would, and the harness would still tend to contain the head and prevent ejection if the vehicle seat back failed. A rear-facing seat would not put any additional load the vehicle seat back, either. The crash dynamics would be more similar to a front-facing seat in a frontal crash, though. Properly restrained, a rear-facing child should still be well protected unless the impact is so energetic that the occupant space is severely compromised. In that case, it could be unsurvivable for any age occupant.
 

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