Shocking Truth About Car Seat Safety May Change the Way You Buckle Your Kid

kid in car
Not the safest spot in the car
Quick, what's the safest spot in the car for your kids? Need a hint? If you're just following your state's child safety seat law and plugging the kid's car seat into the LATCH system in your car, they're probably not in it.

Did your eyes just bug out? Now you know what goes through my head every time I buckle my kid into her booster seat. But don't take my word for it, there's yet another study out that says just putting your kids in the backseat of your car does not mean you're putting them in the "safest spot." You ready for this?


The best place in the entire car for your kiddo is the middle seat in the back of the car. Turns out when researchers from University of Buffalo studying crash-related fatalities specifically looked at seat location, they found the backseat could be as much as 86 percent safer than the front, but it's the middle seat that really hit the safety jackpot. That's a whole 25 percent safer than the window seats!

Holy huge jump in safety Batman! I'll be honest, I always put my kid in the middle, but most parents I know don't -- and I happen to know these parents care just as much about their kiddos as I do. So why aren't more parents hip to this knowledge?

I mean, it all makes sense. The farther our kids are from the windows, the farther they are from any kind of impact to the side panels. But when I think about it, most child safety systems aren't set up for the so-called "safest" spot. We parents are getting a whole lot of mixed messages on the "best practices" front.

The car and booster seat laws have to specify backseat in general because parents with more than one kid can't put each child in the middle seat (you think they're annoying each other when there is a seat between them? Imagine if they were fighting for that one spot ... yikes!). Still, the way the laws are written, it's confusing because most of us think "ooh, I'm following the law, so I must be doing the best for my kid." Not exactly.

And what about the car makers? Ever looked in your backseat? What do you see in the middle "safest spot in the car" seat? Or rather, what don't you see? Did you say a LATCH system for the kid's car seat! Ding, ding, ding! I haven't had one of those in the middle of a car in all the cars I've owned since this law went into effect.

The feds told us LATCH was supposed to make putting car seats into cars correctly a snap and keep our kids safer, and the lower anchors are now required -- by law -- in every lightweight (read likely to cart a family) vehicle in America. Except in the one seat where the researchers are telling us our kids are safest from a crash. Gee, that makes sense. Snort.

Seems like we need to get this message out to more moms and dads ... because the folks who are supposed to be guiding us aren't doing a good enough job! This is a good message for parents with just one kid, but it's also a message for parents with two or more who can do some shifting around between stops or maybe use that extra row in the mom-van that's never used. This could change some parents' practices big time.

Where is your child's car or booster seat located and why?


Image by Jeanne Sager

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