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Old 03-23-2010, 07:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Child Seat in 2010 Forester

Hello,
We are very seriously considering buying a 2010 Forester. Right now my only concern is with the placement of the infant car seat (I am due in 3 days). I read that Subaru does not recommend putting the car seat in the center. Specifically, Consumer Reports says,

"Even though the rear center seat is often considered the safest seating position, Subaru recommends against child seat installation in that seat due to the projection of the seat cushion. Some rear-facing infant seat bases may also be subject to tilt when installed using the seatbelts in the outboard rear seats."

Does anyone out there have some experience with this? Where did you put your car seat? How secure is it? We have a Graco SnugRide in case that makes any difference.

Thanks so much!
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There are a number of threads on this. But I doubt that center placement is any safer than a window seat. A window seat offers more frontal protection, probably more from the back. I had no problem with using it in a window position in my 2008 for my Grandchildren.

I'll use my own common sense rather than listen to CR which is wrong in many cases.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Consumer Reports is often incorrect in its assessments. However in this case, it is supported by peer reviewed studies by pediatricians:

"Seating patterns and corresponding risk of injury among 0- to 3- year old children in child safety seats", by Kallan et al in Pediatrics, May 2008; 121: e1342 - e1347

Quoting from paper:
"CONCLUSIONS. The most common seating position for appropriately restrained child occupants in a child-restraint system is the right rear outboard. The center rear seating position is used less often by children restrained by a child-restraint system as they get older. Children seated in the center rear have a 43% lower risk of injury compared with children in a rear outboard position."

We are expecting a baby in 4 weeks, and I am trying to figure out whether the car seat can be installed in the center in a secure manner, or whether the outboard seats will be better.... obviously it is a balance between the safer center, and whether a proper installation can be achieved.

My personal opinion is that Subaru recommends against the center, because it is harder to get a good installation (especially without the LATCH system anchors in the center). And a good installation and fit is probably one of the most important aspects of safe car seat use.


The paper I cited above can be downloaded for free at:
http: // highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/searchresults?author1=Durbin%2C%20D&fulltext=&pubd ate_year=2008&volume=121&firstpage=E1342&author1=K allan&src=hw&RESULTFORMAT=1&hits=10&hitsbrief=25&s ortspec=relevance&sortspecbrief=relevance&sendit=S earch&resourcetype=1
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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One other item to think about is that only the outboard rear seats (like many vehicles) have the LATCH restraint anchors. I always found that using the LATCH system provided (at least to me) a more secure car seat installation. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, a safe and secure installation with the seat belt is also available (and will be required since the LATCH restraint system employed in Subarus accommodates up to 60lbs - assuming you also use the top tether anchor....in most other vehicles the limit is 40lbs). My car seats are installed so tightly that if I grab the car seat with both hands and try to move it they wont, but the car will.

Best of luck.
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you only have one child who needs a car seat, you can use the inboard LATCH connections from the side seats to secure the safety seat in the central position. Very few cars have separate center LATCH points, other than the third point (in the cargo area, for front-facing seats only), which the Forester has.

I've recently installed seats in my '09, my wife's '05 Acura MDX , our nanny's '05 Grand Cherokee, and my wife's boss' '09 Audi Q5. All of them have the same situation, the only thing that varies is the location of the third LATCH point, which is usually somewhere on the seatback. Not surprisingly, the Forester, with it's third point in the roof, is the easiest to get a good, tight installation in. The hardest? The Audi!

FWIW, I have taken each vehicle for a child-car-seat safety inspection at either the Highway Patrol or the hospital. The inspectors have undergone a 40-hour course (!) in car-seat safety, and they've always liked the position and method of attachment that I've used. The main thing is to have it in as tightly as possible, and at the proper angle (especially for rear-facing). Now that my daughter is front-facing, I actually climb in and put my knee in the seat (most of my weight on it) while pulling the straps tight - makes the seat fit much more tightly than if you just push it down by hand. (Tip from the EMT at the hospital.)

Sorry if this was a little long. I can't think of anything more important than safely securing our children, though.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Our childseat (also a Graco Snugride) is in the rear passenger (right) side. We've always had it on that side. So, it is the same for our '10 Forester. The latch system will work on both sides and also the center.

One thing you might consider is that the Forester, at least mine, has a couple of cup holders in the middle of the bench seat. Also the seats fold 60/40. If you install the seat in the center, you won't be able to fold either side if you need to.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quickfish View Post
If you only have one child who needs a car seat, you can use the inboard LATCH connections from the side seats to secure the safety seat in the central position. Very few cars have separate center LATCH points, other than the third point (in the cargo area, for front-facing seats only), which the Forester has.

I've recently installed seats in my '09, my wife's '05 Acura MDX , our nanny's '05 Grand Cherokee, and my wife's boss' '09 Audi Q5. All of them have the same situation, the only thing that varies is the location of the third LATCH point, which is usually somewhere on the seatback. Not surprisingly, the Forester, with it's third point in the roof, is the easiest to get a good, tight installation in. The hardest? The Audi!

FWIW, I have taken each vehicle for a child-car-seat safety inspection at either the Highway Patrol or the hospital. The inspectors have undergone a 40-hour course (!) in car-seat safety, and they've always liked the position and method of attachment that I've used. The main thing is to have it in as tightly as possible, and at the proper angle (especially for rear-facing). Now that my daughter is front-facing, I actually climb in and put my knee in the seat (most of my weight on it) while pulling the straps tight - makes the seat fit much more tightly than if you just push it down by hand. (Tip from the EMT at the hospital.)

Sorry if this was a little long. I can't think of anything more important than safely securing our children, though.
Last I checked, which was end of last year, Subaru had not approved the borrowing of the outboard lower LATCH anchors for use in a center installation. I believe the same holds true for many other manufacturers. I'm not saying that the above poster is wrong (since they had a safety seat expert look things over) but my understanding was that Subaru had not tested the center seat install using the outboard LATCH connectors.
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Old 04-06-2010, 01:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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YJack - yeah, it's pretty annoying that all these safety-oriented manufacturers don't provide a dedicated set of center LATCH connectors, considering that the research overwhelmingly indicates that that's the safest position. I don't know if it's just because so few people actually use that position, as it's the most difficult to actually get your child in and out of? But anyway, your point is well-taken. I'm comfortable with using the connections the way I've described, since I've had the installations inspected, but in the end you've got to do what you think is right.
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Bought a Chicco Keyfit 30. It's set in the rear passenger side. Perfect fit, latches and all.
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nasarog View Post
Bought a Chicco Keyfit 30. It's set in the rear passenger side. Perfect fit, latches and all.
I'm glad to hear this.

I'm considering purchasing two Chicco Keyfit 30. Plus, their Cortina Together stroller, because we're having twins!!

We currently have a 2006 Toyota Tacoma X-runner, which my DW drives to work. I currently bike/take public transit. We're looking at the Subaru Forester for the AWD, since we had a couple snow storms this past winter. Also, we like the cargo space in the Forester.

I'm 6'1" so if I were the one driving...Do you think we can fit the second car seat behind the driver's seat with 1" clearance?
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I am 6'1" as well, and having an infant car seat/carrier in our 09 rear facing was ok for me. We put it behind the driver as it was easier to get in/out alone for my wife. It was close, but I was able to comfortably drive that way without having the seat touch hers. Once we transitioned to the regular car seat, rear facing was a bit worse behind the drivers seat for me, but still manageable, My seat touched the back of the kids seat. Once we flipped her to forward facing it was great, although then she started kicking the back of the seat!

In terms of how the car handles the regular (not infant) car seats, we bought about 2 weeks before our little one was born, and I was a bit worried about the center latch system anchors missing. I did try putting it in with one attached to each side, but it was a bit unstable because of the center cushion. We ended up putting her on the drivers side and used the latch system. We did buy the safety 1st air protect car seat after her infant seat to get the special side-impact benefits it offered. Now that she is forward facing (and switched to the rear passenger side for easier in car access) we are using the lower and upper anchor points. Works great IMHO.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Recaro ProRide successfully rearfacing in center backseat of Forester

I have a Forester '10 Ltd. My 9 month old son just reached the height limit of his infant seat. We've always had it installed in the middle using the latch anchors closest to the middle. (Infant car seat brand: Baby Trend Flex Loc). A Prince Lionheart seat protector underneath the base also provides some grip to help keep the carseat from sliding on the leather.

As an alternative to the radians (now called Diono) and Britax convertibles out there, I just installed a Recaro ProRide convertible in the middle also using the latch anchors closest to the middle and the seat protector underneath the carseat. With a rolled up towel or pool noodle under the base to maintain the correct level (Recaro recommends in the installation manual), it also seems to help snug the seat down as well. I just lean my full body weight on the seat, and haul as hard as I can on the Latch tightening straps.

Recaro is pretty much the gold-standard for pro-racing seats/restraints. Glad to see them enter the child safety arena with a really high quality, well designed product. With the middle install, leaves plenty of space for the driver and passenger. The Recaro also fits well rear-facing behind the driver or passenger if you want to go the "subaru approved" route.

I've found that the Recaro and any of the convertibles carseats with the side impact protection head wings can't really go behind the passenger seat when rear-facing not because it impinges on front passenger legroom, but because it may block the driver's view of the passenger side blind spot if the driver is shorter than 5'10 or so. So the middle or behind the driver are better for the driver's visibility.

The main drawback with the middle install in the Forester is that it does make it slightly more difficult for rear passengers to insert their seat belt buckles as the Latch buckles . There have been more than a couple of scratched knuckles on rear seat passengers. But that's a small tradeoff for the safety of the center position for the baby.

Bottom line: A rear-facing convertible car seat is securely Latch-able in a Forester in the middle with a few tweaks.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-21-2013, 12:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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We've had our front facing child seat in the middle position of our Forester rear seat for three years. We used the latch system connected on both sides, the seat belt restraint, and the overhead rear connector. Everything is pulled tight. The seat is absolutely stable and secure. If you try to move the child seat the whole car moves and not the seat. The middle position is TWICE as safe. They deserve it.
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It also gives them a better view in the middle, but with two car seats it isn't an option.
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