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One of the most important things that many parents check before purchasing any vehicle is whether they have built in car seats because not only do they help keep kids safer but they are much easier to deal with than the old car seats that sit on top of the normal seat.
Some vehicles have started offering this as a feature in recent years but are built in car seats offered on minivans?
Built in car seats were offered on some Chrysler and Dodge minivans in the past but that option has since been discontinued so there are currently no minivans with built in car seats. Dodge and Volvo do offer built-in car seats on their SUVs and wagons but there are no minivans that currently offer it.
The reason Dodge/Chrysler discontinued the built-in car seat option is that it wouldn’t work with the stow and go seating that allows all of the seats to fold flat into the floor. The stow and go option was far more popular than they were so that is why Chrysler/Dodge built-in car seats were discontinued on Dodge/Chrysler minivans.
It wouldn’t be surprising for built in car seats in minivan models to make a comeback in the future if Dodge/Chrysler can incorporate it with the stow and go or if another minivan manufacturer wants to stand out from the crowd. But as of now the only way to get built in car seats in a minivan is to purchase a used model that has that feature.
For families consisting of more than 6 members, minivans are certainly the preferred option. They are large-sized to fit up to 7-8 passengers (depending on the model) and provide passengers with enough cargo space for luggage or anything else you want to bring in the trip. A spacious second and third row of seats in minivans is an ideal seating area for children, teenagers, and even adults.
Even though there are no new vans with built in car seats, minivans are still an excellent choice for families simply because of all of the legroom and cargo space that they offer. No other vehicle has as much seating and cargo space as a minivan besides a bus!
What Vehicles Have Built In Car Seats?
If you want to only look at vans, suvs, or cars that have built in car seats than your options are quite limited unfortunately. Currently you only have two options for vehicles that have integrated car seats.
The only new vehicles that have a built in car seat/booster seat are:
- Volvo XC90
- Volvo XC60
- Volvo V90 Cross Country
Your only other options for integrated car seats/booster seats is to buy a used vehicle. The follow used vehicles had built in car seats as options:
- Chrysler Town & Country (1992-2010)
- Dodge Journey (2009-2020)
- Dodge Caravan (1992-2010)
- Dodge Grand Caravan (1992-2010)
- Volvo 960 (1990-1996)
- Volvo S40 (1995-2011)
- Volvo V60 (2011-2021)
- Volvo V70 (2007-2016)
- Volvo V90 (1997-2023)
- Volvo XC60 (2008-2023)
- Volvo XC70 (2003-2016)
- Volvo XC90 (2003-2023)
Yes, the Dodge Caravan had built in car seats beginning in 1992 but they weren’t even the first as Volvo introduced it in 1990 in the 960 model.
It is important to note that just because these models had an optional built-in car seat doesn’t mean that all models will. However, if you want to buy a car, suv, or minivan with an integrated car seat then these are the ones you should look for.
Are Built In Car Seats Safe?
So now you know all of the new and used vehicles that have a built in booster seat but are they even safe to use? How do they compare to traditional booster seats in regards to safety?
According to a scientific study built in booster seats are a safer option for children simply because misuse decreased with this type of booster seat when compared to a car seat that was added after the fact.
These built-in car seats keep people from making mistakes in regards to the seat belt routing and the mobile booster seat being moved and not seated properly. In the above linked study it found that these built in car seats are safer because it removes the possibility of mistakes that can happen with traditional booster seats.
So yes, built in car seats are safe for you to use and according to the study above they are even better than a normal booster seat is.
How are built in car seats in minivans advantageous?
When you buy a used minivan that has child’s safety seats, you get the following benefits:
Major brands manufacturing minivans with car seats for children do so to help with the parent’s convenience. With these built in seats you don’t have to worry about your children’s safety or accidentally leaving the seat at home as it’s always in the vehicle with you.
With the best back support and secured safety belts, built in car seats provide maximum protection to children. A few models like Volvo also disable the airbag automatically when the vehicle is not running. Hence, the driver doesn’t have to be mindful of doing it manually.
It is much less distraction since the seat won’t be able to move or slide off of the vehicle’s car seat and also they are typically harder to unbuckle than a normal seat belt which will help with the kids accidentally doing it.
Can there be possible problems with built in car seats in minivans?
Though fixed build in child seats don’t cause inconveniences to passengers as such, we cannot completely overrule the possibilities of a few problems that can occur.
Built-in car seats for kids are fixed so you can only put a child in a specific location in your vehicle. This can be annoying for some people as they would like it to be in a different location but that isn’t possible.
We already mentioned various models provide various types of built in car seats for kids. Some brands place them in the middle row while some in the rear row. For instance, Volvo provides such child safety seats in the front row of the car, which is potentially dangerous because of the airbag.
Though the airbag is automatically disabled when the seat is occupied, it can accidentally be deployed in case of a collision.
Ideally, built-in car seats for kids must always be placed in the rear position, to prevent them from suffering whiplash in case of an accident. Any model where the child safety seat and that of the caregiver is placed in front of each other puts the child at risk of being hit by the airbag.
What is an integrated car seat?
Built-in car seats for children, also called booster seats, baby seats, etc. are provided to ensure the safety of little children in case of unforeseen accidents. These seats lift the children up in the seat, making sure that the seat belt lies tightly across the chest muscles and pelvis, instead of their neck and belly.
An integrated car seat is simply one that is built into the seats on the vehicle. This allows you to easily convert the seat to a child’s car seat or back to one for an adult. Having the car seat built into the normal seat is a nice feature to have if you have a family however, the only new vehicles that have it currently are SUVs and cars and not minivans.
Constantly having to move car seats around or having to pull them out depending on who is riding in the vehicle is a hassle that built in car seats are designed to fix. However, they have been slow to catch on because of the loss of other features and the extra expense of having them added to your vehicle.
What are the various types of car seats?
Car seats for children come in a variety of styles. The style that you will need for your child typically depends on their age, size, and personal preferences.
High back seats
This type of car seat is designed to fit children that are too old for a carrying car seat but too young and small for a booster seat. These models will typically be turned facing the rear of the vehicle until the child is 2-3 years old and then will be turned around where the child faces the front of the vehicle.
These seats raise kids to a level where they can access the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts. These models are typically designed for use in children that are 4-7 years old and they allow the child to use the seat belt of the vehicle for safety while still making it fit the child better.
These types of car seats are a combination of the two above types and can be used all through a child’s younger years . They will have a high back and are equipped with a five-point harness. You can remove the harness as the child gets older and many of those seats also allow the back to be removed to turn it into more of a booster seat. .
These seats are ideal for those people who want to only have to buy a single car seat for the entire childhood of their kid.
Isn’t it amazing to know that there’s a portion of seats in some minivans that are exclusively designed for your children’s safety? According to reports, the middle row is the best place for installing car seats for kids.
However, you can put them in the third row of the minivan as well if you prefer.