Join Date: May 2009
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Car Year: 2009
Car Model: Forester XT Ltd
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.
'09 FXT Limited - Dark Grey Metallic