Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me? - Mustang Evolution

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Old 03-18-2010, 09:30 AM   #1
tod
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

I am 35 wks preg and we are just about ready. I have one irritating problem though. I hope someone can help!

We have the Graco Safety First carseat system for our cars. It is a rear facing infant car seat system with detachable "pumpkin" seat and "buy as many as you need" bases.

Question part 1 - Mine is an older model SUV in good condition (1996 Explorer), but does not have one of the "latch" clasps for the carseat. That leaves me securing the base with a center, self tightening lap belt.

When my husband installed it (using the manual, obviously), it seemed horribly loose and not safe at all!!! I was very discouraged and spoke to a friend who said that we literally needed to shove our knee into it and push that sucker down as hard as we could to get the belt to tighten as much as possible. She said it wasn't supposed to wiggle more than an inch in any direction. We did that, and it is much better, but I am still concerned that the only thing holding the base in place is that fabric lap belt in the back! The front of the base (corresponding with the front of the backseat) has nothing holding it down! I can still lift the front end of the seat straight up if I pull on it and it does still wiggle marginally. Am I missing something here? Is there supposed to be some clasp on the front end of the base the holds it down in the front as well? I thought the law said it had to be a 3 point connection and obviously the lap belt is only 2 points. ??? Confused?

Question part 2 - My husband's car is much newer (2001 Mustang GT) and does have the "latch" that was required to be installed in the last few years. He also has a lap belt. Is he supposed to use the lap belt and the latch to secure the seat or just one or the other? You'd think this would all be clear from the manual, but I promise it's not. Didn't think was supposed to be rocket science and I'm a bright girl, but I don't want to take any chances with my baby.

(I know I can contact our Children's Hospital for a car seat check and/or make an appt with a local fire dept - although I know they won't guarantee installation for legal reasons. I am just wondering if anyone else has faced this situation themselves and if it sounds like something is way off or not?)

Thanks to all who take the time to really read this and answer it. I know it's a long question, but I want my little one to be safe. We still haven't approached the GPs with the last base yet and want to make sure we know exactly what we are doing before we tell them how to install it, since they will switch it back and forth among their cars. They must be able to secure it properly and I have to be able to tell them.)

Thank you!
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:52 AM   #2
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

Unfortunantely you have done it correctly in the explorer. in your husbands car just the latch is all that is required. Really like you said have the hospital or fireman check it out if that makes you feel better. But no you are not missing something,
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:05 AM   #3
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

Most towns have fire departments that will do an inspection and show you the proper way to instal and adjust them.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:49 AM   #4
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

Your best bet is to check with the fire department. In my area, it was the police. It is likely they've installed them a lot before. One thing you should do is get a swimming pool "noodle" or two to bring with you. Sometimes they use these to wedge between the car seat and the base if the fit is a little off.
The front of the base does indeed sort of float free. That is OK.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:06 AM   #5
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

Sweety, use the seatbelt and not the base. Graco carseat bases aren't safe. There were all these problems with their carseats and went unreported and graco refused to have them recalled.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:39 AM   #6
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

ok they are right, the bases have been recalled before and aren't very safe. the best fit i have found is not using the base and putting the carseat behing the passenger seat with the passenger seat pushed back enough that the carseat won't rock or come up, buckled tightly.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:17 PM   #7
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

Most hospital are required to show you how to install the carseat properly. So you could wait until you have the baby and before you leave the hospital you can get a nurse out there to help. OR if you want it done now, take it your local police department or fire station, they would be more then happy to help. Car seats are such a pain in the butt to get installed into a car the right way lol, i have problems with mine, now since its been in my car i always say hey lets take my car because i dont feel like taking my car seat out and fighting with it lol. Good luck and congrates on the baby!


EDIT!
wow you got quit rude. Well all the hospital's in my state do including childrens merecy hospital. Thanks for getting rude though. how bout next time a thank you instead of being such a witch.You asked i answered no need for you to be so RUDE! sorry my state is so different from were you live!
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:30 PM   #8
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

It sounds like you probably have things about right. Yes, the bases can be lifted up some in front, but that is ok. In the vehicle that has the LATCH system, you use either the LATCH or the seatbelt but not both. I recommend using the LATCH if you have it - generally easier to get right. And finally, note that frequently putting a car seat in is a two-person job. We have one seat that there is no way one person can get it in tight enough by themselves - you have to have one person basically kneeling on the seat and doing the top strap and the other one pulling the seat strap tight.
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:08 PM   #9
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

It should work fine in either vehicle, and since it comes with a manual it's time to consult the manual. However here are some pointers, at no time so the base be loose at all - it should be so tight it can not be budged, my husband has to put his knee on it and tighten in order for this to occur. Sometimes with the base to get the proper angle you need to get a towel, roll it up and place it under the base.

After you try your darnedest, call your local fire department or police department and ask if they can tell you when the next car seat clinic is or if you can bring the vehicle to the station and get it checked. Do it even if you feel comfortable with what you have done.
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:30 PM   #10
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Can't get car seat installed in a way that seems safe to me?

You can also try calling the local Ford dealer and ask if they can install the teather strap buckles in your car. When I had my first son I had an 87 celica (2 door) tiny car and near impossible to climb in and out of the back to put my weight into the backwards car seat to strap it down, so I'd always push the front seat back as far as it would go to hold it in place that way too.
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