Third row seat safety

U

Unregistered

Guest
We have two children, ages 7 and 9, who use booster seats (they are small for their age). Currently my wife drives a 2000 Toyota Avalon, but has been considering getting a Sienna. The reason would be so that we could transport four kids (if they each have a friend with them), which we can't do in the Avalon since none of them could sit in the front seat.

My wife is very concerned about the safety of the third row of seats. We have looked around in depth and have concluded that no one really knows just how unsafe the third row is because no one does any crash tests. She has even talked to the NHTSA about it. Yes, the chances of a serious rear end collision are small compared to other types of crashes, and we know that the Sienna is extremely safe otherwise.

My wife is now agonizing over the following quandry--keeping the Avalon would probably mean the kids would be safer in a rear end collision, although we would be stuck with a maximum of three kids total in the car. However, given the more advanced safety features of the Sienna, and the relatively small number of rear end collisions, and the relatively small amount of use the third row seat would get, the kids would probably be safer overall in the Sienna--except when one of them is in the third row.

Has anyone else faced this issue? What are the opinions on the tradeoff?

Thanks!
 
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Victorious4

Senior Community Member
Sounds like you've done your homework & I don't have any "real" info to share.... Just want to say that I'm hoping to buy a Sienna as soon as I'm able so that my toddler's older half siblings will be able to ride with us as well as our 2 dogs -- all safely. So, 3 kids & 2 pets, not to mention all the emergency & entertainment/education gear we haul around. The Sienna with AWD & the safety features along with the lower insurance rate & roominess is my answer for us. It will take a while till I can afford one, though. By then my daughter will not yet be out of her Britax Wixard [or Husky], sitting in the captain chair behind the front passenger. My dogs would most often sit buckled in the back bench & when my daughter's older siblings ride with us, big bro can sit with the dogs [he in the middle] & big sis up front next to me in a booster so that the captain chair behind the driver can hold another carseat ... I'm getting certified to foster parent. If my future foster child is bigger than my daughter's big sis then she will sit next to my daughter & behind me, although at only 6 years old now she is a big enough kid that she answers the 5 Step Test questions all "yes" & rides in her mom's car without a booster.

If you don't need the AWD & traction control is OK for the weather conditions where you live, then you could get the 8 seat Sienna ... all 3 kids in the middle row captain chairs would be quite safe & I imagine the 4th child in the middle of the back bench would be fine, too.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
I think it would take a lot to actually hit a child in a rear end collision...I have a 2004 Sienna...which I LOVE...I think it is one of the safest vans out there. I would think overall the kids would be safer in a Sienna than in the Avalon because of the side-curtain Airbags, VSC & Traction Control. Good luck...
One of my kids is ALWAYS in the 3rd row...because I ahve 3 kids & didn't want tehm all crammed into 1 row, so I didn't get the 8 seat Sienna...
I would think the odds of someone getting rear ended that severely are far less than getting hit on one of the 3 other sides of the vehicle...so I would think you would overall be much safer in the Sienna...you could always see if the government is selling a tank...that should keep everyone safe, even in a rear crash...if you think about it even when someone is rearended the brakes have generally been applied even at the last second.
Erin
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Thanks for the reply. We currently live in Florida, so AWD really isn't needed...also the 8 passenger would still mean a fourth kid in the back, so it wouldn't really solve the problem.

My wife is just having a lot of trouble balancing the increased risks of a rear end collision in the third row of a minivan vs. the back seat of the Avalon, vs. the decreased risks (due to the side curtains, etc.) of other crashes.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
 

joolsplus3

Admin - CPS Technician
I believe a lot of the data on the third row comes from older vans, that only had lapbelts, and no headrests. There is possibly an issue with seat strength (the seat collapsing in a rearender), but that is also probably from older vans with heavier adult passengers.
The Sienna of course has three point seatbelts, good headrests, and there is certainly some crush space there in the cargo area (not as much as a trunk, but more than the buick rendezvous with your head 8 inches from the back glass!).
My personal concern is more with side impacts, and I like having my kids' heads higher up and protected by air bags, should a high-bumpered SUV run a red light and broadside us.

Good for you for keeping your kids boostered...I fully expect my kids to be 10-12 before the adult seatbelt fits them properly in most cars...Here's a handy printout you can use to know when adult seatbelts fit children safely, if you haven't seen it before: http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm
 

sirrahn

Active member
Something else to consider is that vehicle weight to some extent increases safety so being in a larger, heavier vehicle like the Sienna vs. the Avalon may be a benefit. The design of the Sienna's 3rd row also makes it sit up higher and there is considerably more space between it and the back hatch than most SUV's with 3rd rows. Plus as was mentioned before, 3pt. belts and headrests substantially increase 3rd row safety. A 250lb adult is also probably at more risk than a properly restrained child.

Statistically, side impacts are the deadliest crashes.

I have an 8 passenger Sienna and have had all 3 of my kids in the middle most of the time since they prefer to ride there. I don't really have any qualms about putting anyone in the 3rd row though and when baby #4 arrives next spring, I'll have no choice.

IMO, as safety consious as I am, there comes a point where you have to stop obsessing. Make sure everyone is properly restrained in as safe a vehicle as you can afford and be done with it:)nat~CPS tech
 

Victorious4

Senior Community Member
sirrahn said:
there comes a point where you have to stop obsessing. Make sure everyone is properly restrained in as safe a vehicle as you can afford and be done with it

I needed to hear that! ;) Past mistakes regarding child passenger safety have made me pretty obsessive lately {LOL} Ya learn better, ya do better, right? Just trying to do the best I can now -- even though I didn't write the OP here, just wanted to say thanks for these words, Nat....
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Obsessing? Us? Never...well, sometimes, maybe, but only on the important stuff.

Thanks for the replies.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
How is the space in the Sienna 8 passenger? I didn;t want my 3 touching...and I wanted some features available on another model, but many seem to like the 8 passenger....are you goign to be able to get a child in the rear comfortably after #4 arrives? I am done w/ 3 & the oldest was only 3.5 at the birth of #3, so I wanted to be able to easily get back to buckle her in, but now THankfully she can buckle herself into her Wizard...so now all I have to do is check to make sure it is tight enough & that the shoulder harness is in the right place...it saves time!!
 

sirrahn

Active member
How is the space in the Sienna 8 passenger?

I love my 8 seater. Even with all 3 kids across the middle they don't really mess with each other. I have the seats staggered a bit so they're not lined up perfectly next to each other. It works well for us.

Admittedly we were not really planning on a #4, but things happen;-) My oldest 2 will be 7.5 and 5 when the baby comes so I will probably put them in back and the baby and my will be 2 yr old in the 2nd row middle and drivers side. That will leave the passenger outboard seat free to tumble for 3rd row access and/or my oldest can sit there in his booster for school pick-up and drop-off.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
That is cool...I was afraid of too much touching!! I know all about surprise babies, I have 3! It keeps life interesting! Good luck & enjoy your safe van and the upcoming baby! I am sure your big kids will even be helpful!
Erin
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Third Row Seat-Go for Volvo SUV=safety

We were recently in a car accident and we need a new car. We have been looking for a "SAFE" third row seat. One of the safest I have been able to find(if you can afford it that is:) )is the Volvo XC90 SUV. Thank you.
 

UlrikeDG

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
Unfortunately, you cannot use car seats or boosters in the 3rd row of the XC90, and it's not appropriate for adults, either. So, unless you have children who have outgrown their boosters (~10 years old) who are still smaller than adults, (under 63" tall, if I recall correctly).
 

Victorious4

Senior Community Member
Stealing the thread....

My mom wants to trade in her Chevy Tracker for a BMW SUV {by way of my brother-in-law who just became a private car dealer in NV ~ out of his house} ... I can't find any crash test or other etc. info on this vehicle :confused: Does anyone know about it or can anyone point me in a good direction?
 

Victorious4

Senior Community Member
Her Chevy Tracker is a '99 ... she's looking at a newer year BMW {2001-2004} & as far as I know they only have the one model of SUV :confused:
 

joolsplus3

Admin - CPS Technician
There are 2 BMW SUV's now...the bigger X5 and the smaller X3

Hey, this is good to read!: The 2001 BMW X5 "is the only SUV in this group with halfway decent bumpers," says Institute president Brian O'Neill. "The rear bumper is good. It allowed only about $200 damage in the pole impact, which usually is the toughest of our four bumper tests. The X5 also performed well in the rear-into-flat-barrier test, but there was too much damage in the front-flat and front-angle barrier tests."

http://www.iihs.org/news_releases/2000/pr091300.htm

and

http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/00023.htm
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
The X5 has been tested by NCAP for the 2003 model year (good for model years 2003-2005) and received 5*, 5* for the frontal crash test and 4*, 5* for the side impact test.

NCAP has not yet tested the M3.

The 2001-2005 model year X5 has also been crash tested by IIHS, and recieved a Good - Best Pick rating for the frontal test.

The IIHS bumper tests are not safety related.
 

Victorious4

Senior Community Member
THANK YOU!

Not sure how I missed it when I looked up the IIHS ratings for SUVs, though :p

Sure looks like a safer vehicle than the Tracker!
 

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