Car seat positioning?

I have a 2001 Kia Optima. There are LATCH hooks in all three seats in the back seat.

The dilemma is this:

I have a 7 year old step daughter that is with us every other week. She is 48" tall and 50 pounds. Must be in a booster seat.

I am expecting my first baby in the next two weeks and have a Graco Snugride.

I understand that the infant seat should be in the middle. And that's where we have it - - for the moment. The problem is that with the infant seat installed in the middle, my step daughter cannot buckle the safety belt for her booster seat.

With that being said, who should get moved to where?


No, I can't buckle the booster seat for my step daughter - my hand definitely won't fit between the two seats. Her hand can't, either.

And I'm leary about all the switching that one poster suggested. (Have the infant in the middle where he/she belongs on the off weeks from my stepdaughter, then move them both when we do have her) It's great in theory, but I'd think that all that moving would mean a greater risk of it being installed incorrectly some day. Right?

Our other option is to get a bigger (wider) vehicle, which we may do one of these days. It's just not feasible in the next two weeks (or sooner!).

Thanks for the good ideas so far, keep them coming!

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Actually, a certified CPST (car seat tech) will tell you that as long you have a lap/shoulder belt in the middle position, that is where the 7 year old should go. Sound weird? Maybe - but it makes perfect sense. You always want to put the MOST protected child in the LEAST protected position. Here's how it works:

    Rear facing is safest - then forward facing in a 5 point harness - then high back booster. So the infant is the safest and therefore should go in the least protected, or outboard position. Again - that is only if your middle position has a lap/shoulder belt, b/c you can not use booster seats in positions with lap belt only. The only things that can safely be put in a lap belt only is a car seat with a harness.

    What you're experiencing is very common. When you're trying to get 2 seats right next to each other, it makes it incredibly difficult to buckle booster seats. Whenever you need seats that close together, its actually much easier to have all the kids in harnessed seats, and at only 48" tall and 50lbs, your stepdaughter would still fit in several different harnessed seats.

    That said - with your current setup in your vehicle, I would put one child on each side. The infant doesn't have to go in the middle - the sides are not UNsafe, its just that middle is safEST.

    Definitely do not go moving around the infant seat all the time - the more it gets moved, the more likely it will get installed incorrectly, important since 80% of seats are installed or used incorrectly.

  • Kak22
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Most CPST's (carseat techs) will tell you that the least protected child be in the most protected spot, so the child in the booster should be in the middle and the infant seat should be outboard since rearfacing is soooooo much safer. This only works if you have a lap/shoulder belt in the center seating position. If not, I would put both outboard.

    My DD is RF in the center of my car, but outboard in DHs car because that was where I got the most solid install.

  • 1 decade ago

    I am not sure either should be moved. There are some booster seats that are just the bottom not the whole seat. My five year old uses one. He is able to use the seat belt like an adult does, just over him and his lap. Just a thought but it might help. I hope it does..

  • 1 decade ago

    Keep the infant carseat in the middle when you stepdaughter is not there. When she does come move the carseat to the left side and put the booster on the right side(behind the driver's side) that way you can see the baby when your driving.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I would move the new baby to the seat behind the passenger seat and seat your step daughter in the middle so she can buckle.

    Can you buckle the seatbelt with the baby car seat in the middle? If you can, you can just buckle in your step daughter.

  • 1 decade ago

    Check with your local Police Department. In Louisiana the State Troopers have weekly classes that teach you how/when/where to put children when they are in the car. If you can't make it to one of the classes. Stop by and ask them.

    And CONGRATS!!

  • wow thats a hard one! uummm i would take the 7 year old. because she is older. and wont be with you as much as your baby will.

    Source(s): sorry it is not very good but hope it works
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Try this site and see if it will help and good luck......

    Source(s): 923
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