Pickup trucks were originally designed for work purposes but today they are often used for family transportation. According to Safe Ride News, nearly one in five vehicles sold in the U.S. is a pickup truck.
Safe Journey officials said it can sometimes be very challenging to install a car seat in a pickup truck as they are not all the same. There are regular cabs, crew cabs, extended cabs and king cabs. In addition, there are several factors to consider that don’t exist in other types of vehicles when installing car seats in trucks.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Car seats and booster seats should only be installed on forward facing vehicle seats- never on side facing seats.
2. Some smaller cab trucks are not conducive to getting the correct rear facing angle.
3. Never place a rear facing car seat in front of an active airbag.
4. Car seat manufacturers do not allow the use of door-attached seat belts to install car seats.
5. Some extended cab models have back seats that are too small to accommodate car seats.
If you are forced to use the front seat of a pickup truck for a car seat, there are additional things to consider, according to Safe Ride News:
1. Often there are very specific methods given in the truck owner’s manual for the use of child restraints.
2. Confirm that the air bag is turned off, and roll the vehicle seat back from the dashboard as far as possible.
3. If the center front position is being used for a car seat, the side airbag would need to be disabled, as the passenger-side front airbag is designed to extend to protect the center seat occupant, too.
4. Tethering a forward facing car seat can be very different in a pickup truck and requires reading the owner’s manual for the correct routing of the upper tether strap.
Basically, the solution to the pickup trucks and car seats puzzle is read the owner's manual to the vehicle and to the car seat for correct installation.
Safe Journey is a program funded through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.