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We have a van (2001 dodge grand caravan) with built in fold down car seats. We've never used them, but I like knowing that they are an option for "back up" for situations like, being able to drive a friend's kids at a moment's notice without worrying about having a car seat available for them. But one thing I'm wondering about is, the back of them is just hard plastic. It looks terribly uncomfortable and I sure as heck wouldn't want to sit there. But there's some velcro pieces there that make it look like there's possibly supposed to be some sort of padding that attaches, but it vanished some time over the years (we just bought this van a couple months ago) Does anyone know if there's supposed to be something that slips in there, and if its possible to get a replacement? I'd almost ask if it would be okay to tuck a blanket in there to soften it up a bit in a pinch but I've seen more than a few threads talking about absolutely nothing goes between the straps and the child!
 

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Personally, using those seats would be well outside of my comfort level (you don't know if they have been damaged in any way, in an accident, etc...).<br><br>
Have you checked that they have not been recalled, or if they have that they have been fixed?:<br><br><a href="http://www.automotive.com/car-seat-recalls/137/dodge/grand-caravan/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.automotive.com/car-seat-r...van/index.html</a>
 

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We looked at a Volvo when car shopping recently, and they have built in booster seats in the back. But not a true 5 point car seat. Even the built in boosters sort of made me raise my eyebrows and wonder. Are they really as safe as a booster you strap in? I can see the benefit to them, but I'm still wondering.
 

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My friend has a dodge caravan w/ built-in carseats - she loves them. DS1 has ridden in one of them once or twice too, but I can't picture if the have more padding or not. Check your manual<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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The built in boosters are perfectly safe. My ds1 rides in one in his grandparents car. LOVE that. All a booster does is position the belt correctly, so as long as the seatbelt is positioned ok you're good to go.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>DahliaRW</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15448869"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The built in boosters are perfectly safe. My ds1 rides in one in his grandparents car. LOVE that. All a booster does is position the belt correctly, so as long as the seatbelt is positioned ok you're good to go.</div>
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The seats in the OP are harnessed carseats, not boosters.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>TiredX2</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15449382"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The seats in the OP are harnessed carseats, not boosters.</div>
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I was replying to lunarlady. Somehow forgot to quote her.
 

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I have an '03 Grand Caravan with the integrated child restraints. There IS light padding that velcros on, it covers the back of the seat and underneath the child, as well as the top of the harness (like build in harness pads). I can get a pic if you want. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
As far as using them, I haven't done so myself because I just much prefer a carseat and I've yet to transport a FF'ing child anyway. I would use them in a pinch though if I had to pick up another child at the last minute.<br><br>
That being said, I can see these being a better option for your typical parent because what does your typical parent usually end up buying when they go get their son or daughter their "big kid" seat? They either get a Cosco High Back combo seat or one of the cheaper convertibles for a 1yo they have no intentions of RF'ing. Most of those seats have a 40lb limit and ridiculously low harness heights. But the integrated seats (at least, in my van) have a 50lb limit and a relatively high harness height (it says it goes up to 47"). Not only that, but the harness adjuster is a tab you simply pull once and it zips into place. Personally, I pulled at it a few more times when I tried DS out in it for fun, but even on the first try it was <i>way</i> tighter than your typical parent tightens a harness on a regular seat. Plus, there is nothing to install. So in short, there is less room for error, and it will actually last longer than the cheaper conventional seats out there.... so there are MUCH scarier things in the land of carseats than integrated seats, IMO.<br><br>
As for a replacement, I would contact the dealership.
 

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My kids used them for years. There is supposed to be a pad that goes over the plastic. You may be able to order on from the dealer or from ebay.<br><br>
They have been know to lock up, you can un latch it, but the belt won't retract to let the kid out. This happens when the receiving piece doesn't move forward and backwards freely (ie. food or something else has been wedged into it). There are clips on the bottom, behind the child that you can unlatch - otherwise just wiggle the silver metal receiving buckle back and forth until the belts free up.<br><br>
As far as the hard plastic, ALL car seats are hard plastic with only about 1/8" of padding in the seat. Car seat manufactures just know how to make it look like more.<br><br>
Booster seats are probably more comfortable. I hated sitting in the seat with the built in seats, because they were hard especially for adults.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>DahliaRW</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15449770"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was replying to lunarlady. Somehow forgot to quote her.</div>
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Ooops, sorry! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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A couple things to consider- they are subject to recalls, so I would check that out. I would also contact a dealer or the manufacturer to determine if you are missing parts or pieces. They have a limited use, but in most cases are safe, as long as you know there hasn't been a recall, you have all the pieces, etc.
 
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