What is the safest way to strap in a car seat?

I know the middle is the safest place, but I don't know if the lap/shoulder belt issue would trump that. Anyone know?


Asked by DragonRiderMD at 1:04 PM on Feb. 3, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (12)
  • Using the LATCH system in the middle seat is the safest place and the safest way to strap it in.

    Answer by navy-wife at 1:07 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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  • My sons seat is in the middle and I use the safety harness things, not sure if thats the right word or not but mostly all cars have them, its the little things that are down in the crease of the seats and you hook the harnesses on each side and then it goes thru the back of the car seat, and mine also has one that comes up from the back and has another one of the hooks on the back of the seat. I've probably just confused the hell out of you but I also use the lapbelt along with the others just as an extra precaution.

    Answer by Cadens_Mommy118 at 1:10 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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  • You have to look at your carseat as well. Some car seats can't be used with shoulder belts, etc. some can.

    The middle with latches is the safest though.

    Answer by celticreverie at 1:10 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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  • I agree with the above answer. The safest place is in the back seat in the middle. I see a lot of the parents have the seats on one of the side seats and it's not safe. I know it's easier to get the child in and out of the car but I would rather have my child be safe than make it easier on me to get him/her in and out.

    Answer by Bamzakarat at 1:11 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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  • The car we're driving right now doesn't have the LATCH system, so it's just the seat belt. Is the middle still the safest without the shoulder belt?

    Answer by DragonRiderMD at 1:14 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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  • you have to look at the carseat if it's safe to use with the lap belt. it should say so on the side of it.

    Answer by celticreverie at 1:20 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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  • I think the lap belt with the latch system in the middle is the safest. My vehicle has the latch system but I never used it because I am constantly taking out the car seat. The seatbelt way seemed easier. Then I was talking to a mom recently who told me that her and her son got into a car accident where the vehicle landed upside down and the seat belt broke. So the only thing holding her son's car seat was the latches. I took this as a warning. Now I use the latches everytime. It's more of a pain, but safer.

    Answer by Mom2vanna at 2:10 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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  • For toddler seats, the shoulder belt is actually not really used. It's just clamped down with the lap portion of that belt. So both the lap belt only and the shoulder/lap combination are equally safe. And the middle position is the safest.

    I know you don't have LATCH in your car but do you have a top tether? That works no matter which belt or LATCH system you use. Just to be clear, you use the tether WITH one of the others. The belt or LATCH keeps the seat in place, the top tether helps keep it from pivoting forward.

    If you do get a car with LATCH, make sure you read the owner's manual. Not all cars have LATCH for the middle position. Mine has it for both "door" seats but not the middle. And my manual clearly states to NOT hook the carseats LATCH hooks to one anchor from each seat position.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 2:24 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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  • Allright, I have two vehicles neither of which have the LATCH system and I have two kids, I have found that putting the kids by the doors and using the clips that generally come on the back of the carseats I find that I can get the car seats in snugger than if I try putting one in the middle, JMO

    Answer by jokermom at 12:14 AM on Feb. 4, 2009

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  • the lap belt in the center would be just fine. Take your seat to a free car seat check and make sure it is installed properly. You CAN NOT use LATCH and the seatbelt at the same time. Someone else mentioned that.

    Answer by heatherann0221 at 8:00 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

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