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lap belt or front seat of car safer?

14 replies

robinia · 23/06/2005 11:46

I've got four children and expecting another in October. When baby arrives one of my children will have to sit either in the middle seat of my middle row with a lap belt only, or in the front seat of the car with an air bag. Which is safest? Oldest child is 9 years old and about 140cm. She's happy to use a booster seat still or can go without if it makes a difference. Would be grateful for any advice as don't really want to buy a new car!

OP posts:

sparklymieow · 23/06/2005 11:47

You can buy car seats that fit with the lapbelt.


NotQuiteCockney · 23/06/2005 12:01

From what I know, the lap belt is probably safer. I'd put the 9-year-old in there, with a booster if needed.

(I've read that by sitting in the middle, you're more cushioned from any side impact, which more than makes up for not having a shoulder belt.)


gigglinggoblin · 23/06/2005 12:05

ds3 is the baby and he sits in the middle of the back seat in a chair thats made to be used with a lapbelt (by britax). it also means i can reach him easier from the front than i could if he was on one side or the other.


SoupDragon · 23/06/2005 12:07

I think I'd prefer to find a car seat with integral harness that will fit with just a lap belt.

I never feel secure as a passenger wearing just a lapbelt. I always feel that in a crash, I'd smack my head on my knees or whatever is in front of me.


Kelly1978 · 23/06/2005 12:10

why don't u get the airbag disabled? Then the baby can go in the front.


Gillian76 · 23/06/2005 12:25

Our Britax car seat (Club Class, replaced by the First Class) goes in the back with a lap belt.


robinia · 23/06/2005 12:46

The only one in a car seat is ds3 who I have just discovered is now too big to use the harness on his car seat (up to 18kg only) and has to use it with the seat belt instead (it's a Britax Elite) - so he can't use the lap belt now. Do these other car seats which use lap belts go over 20kg in weight?

Air bags can't be disabled in our car.

Thanks NQC - that will be a good arrangement for us because then dd can look after the baby

OP posts:

Kelly1978 · 23/06/2005 12:53

I would check again, try another dealer. You might not be able to do it yourself, but you should be able to get it done at a garage. I was thinking about it for ours.


starlover · 23/06/2005 13:02

i always thought lapbelts were dangerous for children. because in the event of a crash if they are thrown forwards the lapbelt effectively is cutting them in 2.... in fact, lapbelts aren't brilliant for anyone... but worse for kids


bloss · 23/06/2005 13:16

Message withdrawn


robinia · 23/06/2005 14:39

I asked at the garage and they said if you disable it it then can't be re-enabled - which means that dh and I won't be protected if we're in the front seat - besides which - I would rather have baby in the middle row as a) I usually have someone else there to entertain him/her anyway and therefore less distracting for me and b) safer.

OP posts:

robinia · 23/06/2005 18:02

After extensive google searching I have found this:

Q: I have 3 children, but the middle rear passenger seat only has a lap belt. Should 1 child travel in the front seat with a 3-point belt even though there is an airbag?
A: It is difficult to say conclusively which is the safer option and ultimately it will be a question of personal choice influenced by the age and size of your children and whether they are using child restraints. It is safer for a child to use a 3-point belt than a lap-only belt but the rear passenger seats are safer than the front seat. Some child restraints (mostly group 1 seats) can be fitted using the lap belt only - check the manufacturers' fitting instructions. If you do have to put a child in the front seat, put the tallest/heaviest child in the front. If there is an airbag, make sure the passenger seat is rolled back as far as possible, that the child seat is very securely fitted and the child is securely held by the harness or seat belt. If you do have to put a child in a seat with a lap belt, put the tallest/heaviest child in this seat, and make sure the lap belt is worn correctly - across the top of your child's thighs and around their hips, not across their stomach.
Under no circumstances, put a rearward-facing baby seat in the front if there is a passenger airbag.

So no definitive answer yet. I will contact our local council car seat lady and see if she has anything to add. Will let you know the outcome - may possibly be new car ....

OP posts:

bloss · 23/06/2005 23:10

Message withdrawn


robinia · 24/06/2005 13:05

I think it was just my car - garage was a main dealer and quite clear that it couldn't be done.

I'd be more likely to put dd in the front though if anyone - I presume she'd be safer with the airbag enabled - although some things I've seen have said airbags shouldn't be used with booster cushions - now why is that? I can understand not to use airbags with booster seats as they position the child further forward but why not booster cushions? (Really must get onto the council lady - maybe she'll have some answers )

OP posts:
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