My vehicle backseat is equipped with the shoulder belts needed to position booster seats, but with three booster seats, it's a tight squeeze. How can I fit multiple seats into a small space?
"You can look at another booster seat, because some of them are more narrow than others," says Walker. "You might be able to have two bigger ones on the outboard and one skinnier one in the center." (Narrow booster seats on the market currently include the Britax product line. Convenience comes, with a price, though. You'll notice that these upscale models, while of good quality, are more costly than their more generic competitors.)
What is the danger of riding in the front seat?
Front airbags can deploy, causing serious injury. "The message that we really want parents to know is that anybody who is riding in that front passenger seat is at risk if they are out of position, but particularly children, because they are shorter," says Walker, "and the airbag, instead of coming out and hitting at chest level, would really be hitting at face and neck and head level."
I need to transport several children ages eight and under, and there are not enough seating positions in my backseat to accommodate all of them. What should I do?
All children ages 12 and under should ride in the backseat, says SAFEKIDS.org. When this is impossible, advises the agency, and only as a last resort, an older child who can be trusted not to lean forward can be placed in the front (in a booster seat if they are age eight or under, or if older, using the lap and shoulder belt).
If your vehicle has an airbag switch, turn it to "off." If not, try this test to see if your vehicle can be adapted, says Walker: "Move the seat back as far as possible, then sit in the seat and extend both arms. If you can't touch the dashboard, the child is probably not going to interact with the airbag." If you seat a child in the front, adds Walker, it must be clear that he absolutely can't lean forward once he's in that position.
Where do I find information on safety seats for my special needs child?
Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website and search for the keyword: car safety seat. Or you can also visit the Automotive Safety Program at Riley Hospital for Children.