Can You Put Car Seats in a Single-Cab Truck

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Pickup trucks are very convenient, and some parents may think of switching to them. Well, the absence of rear seats in pickup trucks may become a deterrent for those, who have a child that must transport in a car seat, whether it’s a rear facing seat or a booster seat.

Everyone knows the car seat must be in the vehicle’s rear seat, but what about single-cap trucks with single row seating and no back seats? Can you even put a child seat in it? Let’s find out.

Child’s Car Seat in a Single Cab Truck

Though, it is common for many people to assume that a car seat may not fit in a single cab truck. One may wonder how is it possible to install a child’s seat in back-seat-free pickup truck, if there’s no rear seats. No back seat means no child riding. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can install a child safety seat in a truck.

While transporting a child in the front seat of a single cab truck is by no means foolproof, proper installation can go a long way toward improving safety.

Moreover, the national law in all states allows transporting a child in the front seat of a single cab truck. Though, the rules of child’s seat installation are different.

Rear Facing or Forward Facing Car Seat

If you want to install a forward-facing seat in your single cab truck, make sure there is room for an overhead tie-down. The top tether increases safety during travel by reducing head movement by 6 inches in the event of an accident.

As for rear facing car seat, never install them in front of an active airbag. There are some U.S. trucks (both single row and extended cab trucks) with single front seat row seats in which the passenger side airbags are keyed on/off. If this feature is possible in your truck, disable the airbag.

Many newer models of American trucks do not have the ability to disable the passenger airbag with the key. Therefore, it is recommended to opt for forward-facing car seat rather than rear facing car seat if you plan to transport your child in the single cab truck.

Car Seat Installation Requirements

There are some requirements that must be taken into account when installing a car seat in a single cab truck:

1. Install the forward-facing seat in the vehicle. Placing the rear-facing car seats can be dangerous when passenger airbags deploy as they may cause serious injury.

2. Such a seat should be installed with a top tether strap to securely hold the car seat in place.

3. Make sure the seat belt is buckled in. The vehicle’s LATCH system or shoulder belt is required.

4. The vehicle seat width must accommodate 85% of the child’s car seat. In other words, your child’s car seat is not allowed to extend more than 15% from the truck seat.

5. Deactivate the front passenger airbag, as they can be exceedingly hazardous for a child under 12 years old.

6. Keep your child in a car seat that is the proper size for their height and weight.

7. Last but not least, the only case when you can transport your child in the front seat is when there is no suitable rear vehicle seat.

Following these requirements greatly increases the security levels for your child being placed in a single cab truck.

You can also learn about Florida car seat laws in our other article.

To-Dos Before Putting a Car Seat in a Single Cab Truck

Question a Manufacturer About a Truck’s Seat

Before installing a car seat, read the manufacturer’s manual for your particular vehicle. You can learn a lot of valuable information from it, which will help to install the seat correctly and thereby keep your child safe during the child ride.

The manuals provided by the manufacturers contain information on:

  • The features provided for the child car seats installation
  • The type of car seat that is best suited for your single cab truck
  • Instructions for installing car seats
  • Deactivation of the front passenger airbags with the key

This information is important because some things vary depending on the no-back-seat truck model, year, manufacturer, and so on. Don’t neglect the instructions, because your child’s safety depends on it.

Selecting a Vehicle’s Seat for Installing a Child Car Seat

Some trucks have two seats and some have three seats. A truck with three seats is called an extended cab truck and can accommodate the driver and two other passengers. What about child seats?

Installing a car seat in a no-back-seat truck with two seats may not be possible due to the space taken up by the seat. As we mentioned before, the car seat area cannot exceed the passenger seat area by more than 15%.

Trucks with two passenger car seats can easily accommodate children’s car seats on the middle seat.

As for which seat in the truck to safely install a child restraint, it is safest to install it on the middle seat. Here, the same recommendation works – you’d better to install a rear facing car seat.

Side seats are regarded as one of the riskiest spots for child riding since, if an accident occurs, children sitting in such a car seat tend to be severely hurt from the impact with the interior of the vehicle rather than from the initial crash.

Number of People in the Truck

The road demands that all attention be focused on it. At the same time, the child also needs to be watched. If the driver is distracted by the child during the trip, it significantly reduces concentration on the road. Therefore, it is recommended that during a trip with a child, there be another adult in the car to keep an eye on the child.

Three-seated single cab trucks can accommodate the second adult in the car.

Child Measurements

We’ve already mentioned the importance of reading the truck’s manuals, but it’s also important to read the car seat manufacturer’s manuals as well. Pay attention to the height and weight limits of the child in these manuals.

The law in some states requires children under 5 to be in a harness car seat made specifically for that age and child’s size. Once the child outgrows a rear facing seats and forward facing car seats, transfer them into a booster child seat.

By following these guidelines, you will have a well-balanced car seat in the cab, which increases the level of safety.

Finding the Tether Anchor in Your Truck

Some older models of single cab trucks don’t come factory-equipped with the top tether strap anchors. You have to buy the tether anchors and fix them yourself.

Usually, information about the location of the car seat tether anchor can be found in the manufacturer’s manual. Here’s the most common of them.

Behind the Rear Seat

The tether anchor is located somewhere behind the rear seat in all vehicles released after 2001 or behind adjacent outboard position . Sometimes you have to recline the seat to find it. While this may make installing the car seat more challenging and troublesome, it is a must to keep your child secure while traveling in the truck.

If a vehicle has no top tether anchor , you may want to consider riding your child in a rear-facing if they are not much beyond the limit for rear-facing. You should note that many car seat models allow an extended weight and height limit like the convertible car seat.

Webbing Loops

Seat loop made of webbing is possible in some trucks. They are found behind the headrest of the vehicle. For tie-down with webbing loops, pass the seat tether up through the seat loop directly behind the headrest and attach the seat anchors to the webbing loop behind the middle seat’s headrest.

Next, eliminate slack partially while not tightening fully. Complete the installation of the car seat, either with the LATCH or the seat belt. Afterwards, pull off the excess slack left over from the tether. Then hide the excess strap behind the headrest of the seat.

Loops Behind the Seat

The process of installing these loops is much different than tether anchors in cars. For proper installation in this way, it is better to follow the instructions in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

So as not to lead you into confusion, we will not describe the process here, but recommend following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

After you’ve secured your child restraint, the installation is pretty much the same as the installation in the car. If you are uncertain about the correct placement, it is advisable to visit your local CPST center to have your child’s seat inspected.

Get an Inspection

It is recommended to undergo the inspection not only for those who have doubts about the correct installation of a child seat, but also for those who believe that they have taken all the steps described in the child seat manual and in the vehicle owner’s manual. You may possibly have overlooked a certain move or unintentionally made a mistake when setting it up. As a matter of fact, estimates suggest that nearly 60% of all child restraints are mis-installed!

As the installation and application of a child safety seat in a single cab truck can be tough, and it’s particularly essential to do these things in the correct way with your child sitting in the front seat, it’s wise to cross-check the installation with a CPST or CPS officer.

Check the Safe Kids website or the NHTSA Technician’s Handbook for information on the car seat inspection station closest to you. It is recommended that you have your baby car seat checked at a CPST center station, not a fire station.

Summing Up

Can You Put Car Seats in a Single-Cab Truck

Installation of a car seat is possible in pickup trucks, where there are no rear seats. Although such transportation of children is not considered completely safe, there are requirements, adhering to which the level of protection of the child during the trip increases:

Install a forward facing car seat. If there’s no option to avoid rear facing position, make sure the passenger side airbag are deactivated. In some truck models, the passenger airbag may be keyed off with a key.

Use a top tether to securely hold the car seat in place.

Make sure your child is buckled in by means of LATCH system or seat belt.

The vehicle seat width must accommodate 85% of the child’s car seat cushion.

Follow car seat height and weight limits.

Alice Brooks

Hi!!!My name is Alice Brooks. Here I share my observations and conclusions from my experience and the experience of my friends. First of all, I pay attention to safety and only then to trends. I want to help other parents to choose the right product.

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