Carseat in Dodge Dakota Club Cab - safe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We desperately need to buy a used pick-up truck that I can use for work. This has to be as inexpensive as possible, but still be as safe as possible - Our main vehicle is a toyota sienna, so no problem there. And 99% of the time, that will be the vehicle ds will be in (in his Britax Frontier) - he will only be in this truck if the van is not available for some reason. Not likely, but it may happen if it needs repairs or whatever. I just don't want to buy a vehicle that cannot fit the 3 of us if it's necessary (dh, ds & me). I should also add that ds is 4.5, so it would be a booster seat.

What I'm trying to find out is - can I put him (in a seat of course) in the back on the bench seat (safely) - or, if there is no airbag on the passenger side (front), can he be there? Is there a "safe" place for him in a vehicle like this? Please don't say to buy a 4-door ext cab - we can't afford that, and I have to take it to the farmer's market and have it fit parked at the curb with my canopy - they are just too long (this club cab is already pushing it!). We had looked at a nice Ford Ranger, no airbags - but then if we all needed to fit into it, dh or I would have to sit in a center facing jumpseat.... and I'm afraid of that for safety. Soooo, that's why I was looking at some mid-sized Dakotas.

Does anyone have any input on this? We may be looking at some this afternoon - I'm anxious to find something before the market starts, but I want to know that it's a good decision.

We had tried to check with our local car-seat safety place, but the woman isn't in today.
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#2 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 03:48 PM
 
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Does the back bench seat have lap and shoulder belts? Is it a high-back or backless booster? If it is backless, does the back of the vehicle seat come up to the child's ears? Is 80% of the booster seat base on the vehcile seat? What brand booster seat is it?

Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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#3 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know about the belt set-up yet - I need to know exactly what to look for. I'm hoping dh & I can go look at one later this afternoon. As far as seat, we do have a high back booster. It's more like a regular booster seat with the high back - not at all like the Frontier in our van. I'm sure the base would fit on the back bench. I'd almost like to buy a nicer one though - I like the harness on the Frontier (although we couldn't afford another one of those - especially when he will rarely use it)

So there must be a shoulder belt in the back if he's to fit back there? What if there isn't - could he use the front passenger seat if there's no airbag? Or have the seat moved back if there is?

This is making me crazy - I just want him to be safe - and yet he may only ride in this thing a couple of times for quick trips.
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#4 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 04:32 PM
 
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A booster seat cannot be used with lap belt only. If there are only lap belts in the front seat, for a child that size, I would *much* prefer to see him in a harnessed seat (harnessed seats can safely be installed with lap belts), but a booster seat in the front seat is acceptable if there is no other choice.

The Graco Nautilus is similar to the Frontier in size and function, and much less expensive. It does require that 100% (instead of the usual 80%) of the carseat be on the vehicle seat, though.

Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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#5 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so if there are shoulder belts in the back seat and at least 80% of the car seat sits on the bench (except for the graco harness which is 100%), then that would be the preferred location..... if it's not going to work in the back seat, then preferably a harness seat in the front (there would be a shoulder belt) - Do I have this all right?

What about the airbags? If there is a passenger side airbag and it cannot be disabled (as in the case of one truck we called about) can he still be put there if the seat is moved all of the way back? Or not?

I do really tremendously appreciate your help in this!!!
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#6 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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In order of preference (and there's a pretty big step down, IMO, between #2 and #3):

harnessed seat in back seat (doesn't matter if there are shoulder belts or not)
booster seat in back seat with lap/shoulder belt
harnessed seat in front seat
booster seat in front seat with lap/shoulder belt

Yes, a forward-facing child can be in front of an airbag with the seat pushed all the way back if absolutely necessary.

Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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#7 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This helps so much!

More questions though - if I get a harness seat for the back and there are only lap belts back there, wouldn't the high back flap forward if there was an accident? If it were tethered I can see how it would be great, but I'd be afraid it would throw them forward without a tether (can the dealer install them?)

What if the graco doesn't fit in the back - are there any seats with smaller bases that might work (with harnesses?)

Thank you!!!!!
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#8 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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Whether the dealer can install the tether or not depends on the exact year, make, and model. When you have that, post back and I'll look it up for you.

All harnessed seats must pass testing with lapbelt-only installations. Yes, backseat with tether would be better than backseat without tether, but backseat even without tether is still better than front seat.

If there are no shoulder belts and the Nautilus does not fit in the back and you cannot move the Frontier on the rare occasions he would need it -- hmm. What is your son's height and weight, and what is your budget for this purchase?

Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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#9 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are considering a '94 and a '95 - both dakota club cabs rear wheel drives - and also possibly a '96 club cab 4x4 (does that give enough info?)

The Frontier is a major pain to move (dh does it and hates the difficult threading of the seat belt!)

Ds is 42" and 38 lbs. (Probably 39 lbs with shoes) Budget... well it's not that I don't want the best, but especially since this will have very limited use and we can't even afford this truck - as little as possible while still getting quality! Sorry I can't be more specific....
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#10 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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I do not see that tethers can be installed in those vehicles.

If the Nautilus fits and you can afford it, it would be my first choice. I also think a Sunshine Kids Radian would work, and I know that seat tests very well with lap belt only. Neither of those are inexpensive, though. While a harnessed seat is still my first choice, a good highbacked booster (Graco Turbobooster or Recaro Vivo, for example) would be an acceptable choice for occasional use if there are shoulder belts.

Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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#11 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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Thank you for posting this. DH bought a 1958 truck and we're trying to work out seatbelts (since we're starting from scratch). Like the OP, DC will be in our sedan 99% of the time, but in case DH needs to transport the baby in the truck, I want to make sure it is safe. OP, I understand your post - you're trying to do the best you can within the parameters you have.

So if I can piggyback, we're planning on getting the Radian for use after infancy. If the front seat is the only option does the passenger side with a lap belt throw any huge red flags? Is there any more protective difference if we upgraded to shoulder belts?

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#12 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 08:36 PM
 
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I would not trust 51-year-old seatbelts to restrain passengers OR install carseats, so I would recommend replacing seatbelts. All seats pass with lapbelt-only installations. Very few manufacturers release actual results. Sunshine Kids does. The Radian tests very well with lapbelt only. Lapbelt only is not good for passengers, though. I would recommend that you install shoulder belts, but more for people NOT in carseats than a child in a Radian.

(I also understand that the OP is trying to do the best she can. I hope I haven't implied otherwise.)

Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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#13 of 15 Old 05-26-2009, 09:06 PM
 
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If there is no airbag, the front seat is ok (if it is the only option). For a harnessed seat (like the Radian) a shoulder belt won't make a difference, but for a booster it is absolutely necessary and it's pretty important for an adult (ie non-boostered person) too, safety wise.

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#14 of 15 Old 05-27-2009, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't thank you enough for your help! Dh said we'd go with the Nautilus if we get one of these trucks. He felt a clear conscience (meaning ds's safety of course) would be more important than the $. And at least the '95 does have shoulder belts in the rear seat! We may be checking it out tomorrow afternoon.


Yet another question..... I've been rear-ended twice - both times my seat laid back from the force. Is the safest position for the carseat really behind the driver? I'm wondering that, if I were rear-ended w/ds behind me, wouldn't that mean that my seat could crush him???


And can parents truly go insane thinking of all the "what if's"?
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#15 of 15 Old 05-28-2009, 10:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicks Mom View Post
And can parents truly go insane thinking of all the "what if's"?
Yes, I think that's a definite possibility!

Thanks Chickabiddy, there are actually no seatbelts, and DH is starting from scratch, so everything will be highway approved and brand new. He found he can do shoulder belts in it too. Thanks so much for the advice.

Carson, living life with my 3 boys: DH, DS Dec '09 blahblah.gif  and newbie DS Sept'12baby.gif

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