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Does a FF car seat have to be tethered directly behind the seat?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

We recently bought a minivan. I had never owned one before and, foolishly, assumed that it would be set up for car seats in all of the rear seats. In the 3rd row there is really only one place for a FF car seat. it is right in the middle of two seats.


We only have 3 kids (2 in car seats in the middle row and one in a booster in the 3rd row) so we can fit them all in. However, we are going on a long trip and my 5 year old has asked to sit in the 3rd row with her sister. Because of the way the seat belts are hung in the van it appears as though the safest place for the booster is in the middle of the row as it is the only place where the chest strap slides smoothly through the booster. The middle seat is in one of the spots that is half taken up by the LATCH anchors. We could anchor the car seat using the seat belt in the seat next to the booster but the tether would have to be on a slight angle to hook into the anchor point for it. Would there be an issue with the tether attaching at a slight angle? I'd really appreciate your input. It seams to me like it would be ok but there may be something that isn't immediately obvious about why the seat would need to be anchored exactly behind. Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 7

No, you cannot do that.  You have to use the correct tether for the seat.

post #3 of 7

Tether anchor spots are dedicated to their seating position (with a few rare exceptions) because the angle that a tether anchor can divert from midline and still be effective in a crash is extremely minimal.   So no, you cannot do that.   Perhaps you could put the youngest harnessed child in the third row and the boostered child in the second row?

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!! I really appreciate your help. I'll have a think and see what I can do. It looks like we'll just be leaving it the same.

post #5 of 7
I often have the same problem greensad.gif We have three (right now) and my DS is in a harnessed seat and likes to sit in the back with his sister. There is no way to put them side by side, so DS has to go un-tethered when he is back there. We were careful in our seat selection to choose one that does not require the use of the tether over a certain weight and performs well without the tether. Once baby comes in September, he will be back there full time.

In choosing to put your boostered child in the center, please be sure to check that you have appropriate head restraint- either a head restraint from the car or a reinforced high back booster that does not require a head restraint behind it.
post #6 of 7

I would suggest baby should go in the back and the tethered child needs to be in a seat with a tether anchor.  Just because it is 'allowable' to have the seat untethered doesn't make it 'safe'.   The risk for head and neck injuries in an untethered forward facing seat is significantly higher.   

post #7 of 7
I agree that whenever at all possible, the seat should be used tethered. However, some seats perform as well, or very close to as well, without a tether as well as with a tether. As a soon to be Mom of four, I WILL have a child in a forward facing harness, in the back row, without a tether, it's reality for me and in my car.

I am not putting my two rear-facing kids in the back row. So, I chose a seat that doesn't require a tether and performs nearly as well untethered as it does tethered. We do the best we can, it's all we can do.
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