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Old 10-18-2008, 04:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2009: Questions about LATCH and car seats

Hello all,

My wife and I are currently test driving a 2009 Forester (we got it last night, and have to return it today at noon). The loaner didn't have an owner's manual, so we'll look when we go back to the dealer, but I was wondering if anyone knows:

1) Is using LATCH to mount a car seat base supported in the center seating position?

We also bought a Britax Boulevard convertible car seat, and we were wondering if anyone has used this seat in the 2009 Forester and been able to install it correctly in the center seating position, rear facing and forward facing, using either belt or LATCH.

We just want to make sure we're not gonna have any problems with this car seat (or others) if we decide to purchase the '09 Forester.

Any help would be greatly appreciated...

Thanks!

Chris
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have a 09 Forester XT with Britax Marathon and it fits easily in any rear seat (rear or forward facing). We use the latch not the belt.

I would bring the car seat with you to the dealership and have them install it.
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You should not have a problem installing the car seat in the 09. I do not own a Forester yet, but have driven one a couple of times as a test drive from the dealer. I installed our car seat (forward facing) in the center seat without any problems. The only issue I have with the Foresters are the top strap for the LATCH is roof mounted. When we have our second child, there will be two straps encroaching on the cargo area. We take our dog everywhere we go and would like to have a divide between the kids and the excited German Shepard Dog.

It sure beats the RAV4 though. I drove both vehicles on the same day, installing the car seat in both vehicles. The top strap on RAV4 is mounted at the bottom of the seatbacks. I mean at the bottom, down below the cargo area floor. It took no less the 10 minutes to attach the top strap to the latch. Although I really like the RAV4, the LATCH system is another nail in the coffin for wanting a Forester.

Oh, I would not trust a car salesman to install a carseat in my vehicle. If you have any questions on installing a car seat, contact your nearest Highway Patrol office and see if they could give you a number for a certified child restraint instructor. They should have a Trooper in the area or at least point you in the right direction. When my first child was born the nurses at the hospital watched me put my son in the car seat ( to ensure that I had a car seat) but would not give me any advice on how to put him in there (due to legality reasons).
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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We took our Chicco carseat with us to the dealer and took our baby with us on the test drive. Ours is mounted rear facing behind the passenger seat. I use both LATCH and the belt. I use the seat belt to really crank the base down and get it level.

No experience with the Britax, sorry.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies...we just got back from the dealer.

The Britax Boulevard didn't really sit nicely in the center seat. Also, when installing a car seat in the center position, the LATCH anchors can't be used...only the belt is allowed.

We also looked in the Subaru '09 Forester Owner's Manual while we were there, and it actually says that center seat position mounting of a car seat is "not recommended". :(

Chris
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The center seat is the SAFEST place to install a car seat. I noticed the lack of anchors for the center seat, you might be able to anchor to the outside seats though. That could be why subaru does not recommend the use of the center seat. Fortunately for me, with a second child I won't be able to use the center anyways.
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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When I had one kid, I used the center position. I hooked the LATCH connectors to the LATCH support bars on each side. I basically used one LATCH bar from each of the side seats, if that makes sense. Driver side right, passenger side left.

It held very strong and gave us an easier reach to tend to the kid or just see what was going on.
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Using the innermost LATCH anchors from the outboard seats is usually strongly NOT recommended. This is because the spacing between those anchors is not the standard 11 inches:

LATCH and Top Tether Information for Child Safety Seat Restraints
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A lot of car seat bases are WIDER than the LATCH spread and do not provide a very secure feel. You can move the seat around very easy. With the wider spread the seat can be held more securely in my opinion. It the same priciple when securing a load in a trailer or truck bed. The wider spread allows the strapes to form a triangle, which is a much more stable shape than a square when securing objects.
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default More questions about car seats

I'm a little late in seeing this post. Can you believe it's been almost 2 years since I last logged in? Blame it on work and family responsibilities. I love my 04 XS Forester, but need advice about car seats, so I'm glad someone started this topic. Long post, so I'm going to try and boldface my questions so ya'll can just scan what I write.

I am currently using a Britax Roundabout for my almost 2 year-old daughter. It sits front facing in the center rear with seat belt to hold the seat securely in place. Car seat is very secure and won't move. If I remember correctly though, the manual wants me to install the seat at the sides, but I'm very concerned about the side air bags deploying so close to my daughter. I bought a Recaro Start at such a great price so I'm saving it for when she needs to move to a booster and will put her in the center also. Will the side airbags hurt kids when they deploy?

The Roundabout will last up to 40 lbs, but I am debating on whether I should get the Safeguard Go Hybrid car seat instead, because the Roundabout is a big seat. It places my daughter close enough to the front seats so she pushes her feet against the seats.

My concern is that she will get hurt in an accident. Will her legs absorb some of the impact? Seats are soft, so am I worrying over nothing? Should I switch car seats because my daughter can push her feet against the front seats?

The way the Safeguard is designed, my daughter sits directly against the car's back seat cushion for support, so she won't be pushed so close to me. The seat's 5 point harness is good for kids up to 60 lbs and uses the top tether, but what is the maximum weight limit of the '04 Forester's top tether? I'm concerned that the Forester's top tether limit is not enough to protect her in a Safeguard seat.

I love my Forester, but I wish my model Forester came with more leg room :(

Thanks everyone!
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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We use a Britax Boulevard in our 08 Outback for our 15month old daughter and it does fit very well on the side. The problem with putting it in the center is that it's just too wide so the back seat becomes useless for anyone but the kiddo. I have placed it in the center but in that scenario I use the seatbelt and not the LATCH. Using the LATCH also blocks the seatbelt buckles for anyone who might try to sit in the backseat.
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