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car seat installation question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Can anyone explain to me how to install a carseat in a car without locking seatbelts? We just got back from a trip to Europe, and we tried to rent a car for a daytrip, but I couldn't get the carseat installed so we cancelled.

In the US, the seatbelts lock if you retract them all the way....but not in Europe. I tried manually locking them (by jerking them fast) but they wouldn't stay locked. I even had a locking clip, but the seat seemed really floppy and unstable and I couldn't get a tight install. The guys at the rental agency kept telling me the seatbelt didn't need to be locked...but that's wrong, right? Or do pretensors just take up all the slack in an accident?

Obviously the trip is over...but I'm just puzzled!
post #2 of 6
Not all belts in the US lock that way either, FWIW.

That is why you use a locking clip - to hold the belt "locked*.
post #3 of 6
The locking clip locks the LAP portion of the belt. Locking latchplates (commonl found on lap-only belts and lap/shoulder belts in domestic vehicles) do the same.
post #4 of 6
All vehicles in the U.S. are required to have some form of manual locking mechanism since 1996 (in addition to emergency locking) -- not sure about Europe, but there may be a need for a Belt Shortening Clip if the vehicle manual does not explain any manual locking mechanism.... This page is helpful
post #5 of 6
We had the same problem in Europe last spring. I believe that the child restraints are required to have lockoffs in the EU, so the seatbelts in the vehicles don't have to... thus the confusing advice from the car rental guy. Fortunately we had a locking clip. Before you go again practice getting a good install with your locking clip or have someone show you how to do it so you feel comfortable. Glad you all made it back safe and sound
post #6 of 6
Yup, in England, the seats themselves have the lock, so the belts don't.

Next time, you'll want to make sure you bring your locking clip - it's a little golden "H" clip and you carseat manual, JIC.

Using a locking clip from http://www.carseatsite.com/lockingclips.htm - Scroll to the bottom for pics!

1. Use a lap/shoulder belt, see picture 1.

2. Feed the lap/shoulder belt through the appropriate belt path on the car seat (generally, the belt path on a rear-facing seat is under the seating area of the car seat, while the belt path for a forward-facing seat is behind the back of the car seat).

3. Buckle the seat belt in and pull the shoulder portion tight. It's easier if you have a helper do this while you press down on the seat with your knee.

4. Once the belt is pulled tight, grasp both the lap and shoulder portions of the belt right next to the latchplate and hold on tight.

5. Unbuckle the belt while still holding onto the belt next to the latchplate. You may find it easier to mark the seat belt with a piece of chalk or a pen. If you do this, be sure to mark both sides of the belt so you can tell if you've accidentally loosened it.

6. Attach the locking clip, making sure that both the lap portion and shoulder portion of the seat belt is threaded through.

The locking clip should go right next to the latchplate, no more than 1" away from the latchplate, see picture 4. An easy way to thread the seat belt through the clip is to fold the seat belt in half lengthwise, see picture 2. Slide one side of the locking clip over the folded portion of the seat belt and let the seat belt lay flat again (be sure not to let go of the seat belt; you don't want to gain any slack in the belt at all). Repeat for the other side of the locking clip, see picture 3. *Note: it's easier if you practice this first on a loose seat belt.

Once the locking clip is securely on the seat belt, buckle the seat belt again. It shouldn't be easy to buckle; if it is, you'll most likely have to tighten the belt again and redo the locking clip. If the car seat gets in the way of the locking clip, you may move the locking clip further away from the latchplate, but it still MUST stay as close as possible to the latchplate.
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