Which is the safest seat in the car?
In general, the safest place in the car for children is the rear seat, preferably in the middle. However, as most cars are not designed with a fully formed central seat, do not offer enough space and often do not consist of a 3-point seatbelt, we at CYBEX always recommend the seat behind the passenger seat as the safest place for the child restraint system. In this position, the child receives optimum protection in the event of an accident.
What is a Top Tether?
Top Tether is additional anchorage points located in different positions in the car (usually on top of the car seat or behind the rear seat) and used for the additional belt at the back of the child restraint system. In general, Top Tether systems are not required by law which is why not all car seats are equipped with this system. However, the additional belt at the top of the child restraint system reduces the forward displacement of the seat during a head-on collision offering additional safety in case of an accident. Therefore, Top Tether systems are frequently used, especially in newer car seat models from various car seat manufactures.
Child Car Seats and Airbags
Airbags were developed to make driving even safer and especially (initially) designed for adults.
If you place an infant carrier on the passenger seat without deactivating the airbag, the baby is exposed to extreme danger. Therefore, child car seats and infant carriers should be installed on the rear seat, as an error whilst attaching the seat or an unwittingly activated airbag are enough to expose your child to considerable risk. This is because the child can sustain serious injury to the head and neck if impacted by an airbag. (Craig Newgard from the University of Portland in Oregon, examined how much greater this danger is: The risk of sustaining a serious injury on the front passenger seat is almost three times higher than on the rear seat, whilst a triggered airbag increases the risk six-fold! In his eight-year research, Newgard analyzed 3,790 accidents involving children aged between one month and 18 years of age, who were sitting in the passenger seat).
Whether the head and side airbags in your vehicle can remain activated depends entirely on the specifications provided by your car manufacturer. If your manufacturer states that this is possible, then the head and side airbags can indeed remain activated without further concern. In this context, it is important that you always use the L.S.P system per the descriptions in the seat manual even with activated side airbags.