Ok guys, I know we all love Wranglers and don't want to drive anything else. However, I just found out that I'm going to be a Dad and I'm considering changing vehicles. I know our tjs are tanks but I can't see how the rear seat can be protected from side impact or a rollover...especially with just a soft-top. I'm considering trading in the TJ for a Commander or Liberty.
"Think for yourself, question authority. "
I went through the same thing and sold my wrangler. It's tight when they are facing backwards. On e my son rode in another wrangler I bought he loved it! He talks about my jeep all the time! If it's a second vehicle keep it or you will just be buying another in the future!
I have a 6 week old and just bought a Wrangler. We strap him in his seat and the seat in the jeep and ride around with the top down. We did buy a soft top for his car seat so he doesn't get sun burned. It doesn't seem to bother him at all. As a matter of fact, it puts him right to sleep.
As far as being the safest thing on earth, it's probably not, but there are no gurantees in life no matter what. A side impact in any car will be problematic at best.
I will add that my jeep is 3rd vehicle, so it's pretty much just a toy. A wrangler as a daily driver was never an option for me.
American by the grace of God,
Conservative through the power of intellect.
We used the seat that you have the base for and slide the seat in and out. Made getting them in and out easier rear facing. It worked fine till we had the second one, the we got a different vehicle, a 4 door JK!! My first one loved the jeep, but we did also have a canopy on her seat, and always had her bundled if needed. Sometimes in the cool evenings all you would see was her nose and eyes!!
As far as safety, that's something you have to weigh and decide for yourself. You could leave the hospital in the biggest baddest vehicle and get creamed by a semi. You can drive a tiny little Prius and never get in an accident. It's whatever helps you sleep at night.
Don't get rid of the jeep JUST because you are having a little one, change only if you feel it is the best choice all around.
Now's a great time to switch to an LJ. That extra two inches behind the front seats makes all the difference in the world when trying to fit a car seat in the back. Not only that, but with the LJ you'll have room behind the rear seats to make a diaper change or haul a stroller.
I can't see how the rear seat can be protected from side impact or a rollover...especially with just a soft-top.
The soft top is irrelevant in this discussion, as the optional hard top would offer no additional protection in a crash. Ignore it.
In a crash, the rule of thumb is simple: the more space between your body and the point of impact, the better. In this regard, the rear seat of a SWB TJ has a distinct advantage: due to the wheelwells, the rear seat has considerably more space between it and the vehicle perimeter than the outboard rear seat of, say a Jeep Liberty. If you have properly installed your child seat in the Jeep and properly installed your child in the seat**, you should have reasonably good protection in a side crash.
As for rollover, the rear half of the TJ's stock roll bar offers moderate protection for just such a scenario. If you want to beef it up, have someone add on to it with some DOM tubing... not unlike what I just had done.