Does Child Safety Differ in a Truck vs. SUV?

So, Which is it, a Truck or SUV?

As a conscientious and law-abiding parent, you’ll want to have your child in the right car seat when driving. But will your child’s safety be more at risk in a truck vs. SUV?

Child Safety Seats in all Cars and Trucks

First and foremost, the issue of child safety seats must be addressed. Having your youngsters in properly fitted and bolstered seats is the priority. Whether your children are in a truck, SUV, sedan, or minivan, they need to be in an apparatus that is befitting their size, age, and weight.
There are three types of seats specifically created for infancy through about age 13.

1. Rear-Facing Seat

Till two years old or manufacturer’s suggested weight and height.

2. Forward Facing seat

Harness straps and are safe for kids until they outgrow them or are allowed by your state law to move into a booster seat.

3. The third is a booster seat

Secures the child with the vehicle’s seat belts. All the above-mentioned seats need to be installed with LATCH or a locked seatbelt.

The Good Safety News For Trucks

If you do not have proper back seats, you may legally place a rear-facing car seat up front. HOWEVER, you must turn off the front passenger air bag.
If you have an extended cab, you are allowed to place a rear or forward facing car seat or booster IF OVER 80% of the chair fits on your truck’s existing seat.

What an SUV Has That a Truck May Not

Side airbags often come standard in newer SUV models. Head protection side airbags have proven to reduce the risk of death in SUV drivers by 52%. Side airbags in the back have shown to protect children in car seats. Always check with the car seat manufacturer’s manual for proper installation.
Another feature that pickup trucks do not always have is electronic stability control. Without ESC, losing control from skidding and weather conditions are more likely. Stability control comes standard in all SUVs.
Other Truck Pitfalls
Since it looks like the odds are stacking up on the side of the SUV, we might as well list some other safety shortcomings driving our kids in pickups and other types of trucks.

Riding in the Back?

1) Riding in the back seat is twice as safe as riding in the front seat. Many trucks don’t have a proper backseat.

Truck Cargo, way worse than you think …

2) The risk of death of those driving in truck cargo space was eight times higher than those riding, restrained, in the cab. The cargo area is not meant for passengers. Children’s safety seats do not fit or belong there.

No Latch?

3) Many trucks do not have LATCH, which is an attachment system for car seats. The seat has lower anchors along with a top tether for extra safety. Without LATCH, you must use the vehicle seatbelt, which may not provide optimum seat restraint.

Lap and Shoulder belts? Really?

4) Lap and shoulder belts -may not be available in pickup rear seats. This makes it unsafe for older children in booster seats that require those apparatus.

Should There Be a Truck Stop?

When exploring truck vs. SUV child passenger safety, at least in this blog, it seems an SUV would be a safer choice. Does this mean that all trucks are unsafe for children and their seats? Absolutely not. Sometimes we just need to work with what he have and make it the best for ourselves and our kids.

May you and your little ones have safe, memorable, and happy travels in both a truck or SUV just be safe.