All Four Modern Minivans Are Overlooking Backseat Safety: IIHS

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By Car Brand Experts

Article: Backseat Safety Concerns in Modern Minivans Raised by IIHS


Minivans, often hailed for their family-hauling capabilities, are facing scrutiny for lacking in backseat safety features, as per the latest findings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The study evaluated four popular minivans – Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival, Toyota Sienna, and Honda Odyssey, revealing concerns regarding passenger safety in rear rows.

Safety Test Results:

In the updated moderate overlap front crash test, all minivans performed below expectations. The Pacifica, Carnival, and Sienna received a “marginal” rating, while the Odyssey fared the worst with a “poor” grade. The lack of seatbelt reminders for second-row passengers in all models except the Sienna was also highlighted as a significant safety concern.

IIHS President’s Concerns:

David Harkey, the IIHS President, expressed disappointment in automakers for not prioritizing backseat safety, especially in vehicles like minivans chosen specifically for family transportation purposes. The organization stressed the necessity of implementing advanced safety technologies in the rear rows to protect all passengers effectively.

Focus on Rear Seat Safety:

The IIHS updated the crash test to focus on rear seating after data indicated increased risks for rear-seat passengers. While front-row safety has significantly improved, rear seating areas have lagged behind in safety advancements. Despite the concerns, rear seats remain the safest for children due to the risks associated with airbag deployment in the front row.


The inadequate performance of modern minivans in backseat safety tests underscores the urgency for automakers to enhance safety features for all passengers. These findings serve as a pivotal point for the industry to prioritize second-row safety, ensuring that families can rely on their vehicles for maximum protection in unforeseen circumstances.


1. Why are minivans specifically scrutinized for backseat safety?

Minivans are commonly chosen for family transport, making rear seat safety a critical aspect for protecting all passengers, especially children.

2. What safety features were found lacking in the tested minivans?

The lack of seatbelt reminders for second-row passengers was a notable safety concern highlighted by the IIHS.

3. How can automakers address the backseat safety issues in minivans?

Automakers are encouraged to apply the best available safety technology to the second row to enhance passenger protection effectively.

4. Are back seats still considered the safest area for children despite safety concerns in the tests?

Yes, despite safety issues in crash tests, back seats remain safer for children compared to front-row seating due to the risks associated with airbag deployment.

By addressing these safety concerns and implementing necessary improvements, automakers can ensure that minivans offer top-notch safety features to meet the needs of families on the road efficiently.

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