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Dear Driver: Which is the safest seat in my MPV?

Got a motoring question or looking for some advice? We’re here to help.

Got a question? Need advice? Submit your queries to melanie@thejournal.ie.

THIS WEEK, A reader asks:

I have a seven seater and four children. So which is safer, having a child in the jump seats where they are pretty much in the crumple zone, or having a child in the front seat surrounded by airbags?

Source: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

The answer:

The safest seats for passengers are the rear seats. Research shows that rear seats are 59 to 86 per cent safer than the front seat in a car.

One of the reasons for this is whilst there are more rear-end collisions on our roads and more injuries resulting from rear-end collisions the fatalities from these are far less than fatalities from head-on and side impact collisions.

Source: Newspress

However, when it comes to the third row of seats there is little data available, yet. MPVs usually has added rear safety features but the issue here is when a third row is offered in smaller SUVs and hatchbacks and the seats are very close to the tailgate, which offers little in the way of crush space in the event of a rear-end collision.

Third-row seats are safe if they are protected by side curtain airbags and come fitted with three-point seat belts, pre-tensioners and head restraints.

Source: Shutterstock/Collin Quinn Lomax

However, research does show that the safest seat is the middle seat as long as it has a three-point seatbelt. If the middle seat only has a lap belt then the passenger is safest sitting in one of the rear side seats with a full seatbelt.

Even if the middle seat doesn’t have a head restraint it is still safer than the side seats once it has a full seatbelt.

So, the safest seat is the middle seat in the middle row, followed by the middle seat of the third row, but only if both of these seats have full seatbelts.

Source: Shutterstock/Collin Quinn Lomax

The next safest are the outer seats of the middle row followed by the outer seats of the third row.

The rear centre seat is also recommended as the best place for a child’s car seat.

Have you got a Dear Driver question? If so, email melanie@thejournal.ie and we’ll do our best to answer it!

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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