Rear facing installation of Britax RA in Subaru Outback - where to tether? (Related to post 1448.)
My husband tried to install the RA in our 2000 Outback (no latch). Center position. He tethered it to the factory-installed tether mounts in the rear. (I think this is the "Australian" method - according to the pictures I looked at in the link in post 1448.) It looks really funny and flops towards the rear. The seat is in upright position so it might be better reclined. But even so, this can't be right! Shouldn't we be doing the "Swedish" method? i.e. tethering to a point in the front, a front seat mount for eample? I looked in Toby's database and lots of people got good fits in this vehicle in the center and said the seat is tethered. But tethered where?! There are no factory installed mounts except for those in the rear (I think) and nothing in the Subaru manual about tether points under front seats. I do plan to have the installation inspected but I want to make a good efort. And we found out at her 6 month appointment (Monday) DD is 26.5 inches so we need her out of the SnugRide and into the RA ASAP. Help!
RE: Rear facing installation of Britax RA in Subaru Outback - where to tether? (Related to post 1448.)
There are no factory installed tethers on any car for rearfacing seats, it's just a matter of crawling in there and finding a structural/bolted/non moving part on the rear of the front passenger seat (like the leg of the seat, or even the place where the front seatbelts are attached to the frame) or under the rear passenger seat. Once you find that non moving metal part, use your tether connector strap with d-ring, like you saw in the pictures on that link, wrap it around that spot, and attach the tether to the d-ring :)
http://www.angelfire.com/wa3/isakswings/ratetherrf.html Be sure to take your seat manual with you to the seatcheck...a lot of techs have never even seen a Britax, and may not know the first thing about tethering RF, since only britax (and the safeline sit n stroll seat) have rearfacing tethers. good luck!
The Secret Subaru Spot-
There is a great spot to attach a rear-facing tether in some 2000 and newer Outback models. Ours is a 2000 Outback Wagon. At the base of the driver and passenger seats, along the inside "hump" of the vehicle is a plastic cover which conceals the rail that anchors the front seat to the chassis. If you move the cover, you will find a small slot in the metal which is perfect to anchor a rear-facing Britax versa tether from an outboard or center position. I just snapped some photos. It's pretty cold and dark here, so I apologize for the poor focus and lack of contrast, but hopefully you will get the idea! You won't even need the Britax D-ring strap for this spot.
Hopefully, yours is the same as ours! I will update with better photos on a warmer sunny day. I've been meaning to do this for a couple years but haven't gotten around to it:-)
Incidentally, you can tether in either method. The Australian method is a bit more cumbersome, but may improve crash performance in a frontal crash. This method is also called TRV (Toward the Rear of the Vehicle), and it can reduce the downward rotation of the top of the carseat in a frontal crash. The Swedish method (TFV, Toward the Front of the Vehicle) will improve stability, and may improve performance in side, rear and rollover crashes. It can also prevent the rebound in a frontal crash- this factor is gaining interest in recent studies showing that the rebound into the vehicle seat may cause minor injuries.
All rear-facing carseats are very safe if installed properly ( http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html ), so using the Britax tether really is icing on the cake whichever way you use it. If you can't find a spot in a particular vehicle, it is fine to stow it away and leave it unused. For front-facing, there is a much greater potential safety advantage so it should always be used whenever possible.
DuPage County SAFE KIDS
RE: The Secret Subaru Spot-
Darren - thank you SO much! How handy that one of the techs on the board has our same car! :-)
I showed my husband your post and the photos and he went out to the car and tried it and just yelled in "it worked like a charm - tell him thanks" - so thanks!
One more question for you - regarding the angle of the seat. In the center position, the base of the car seat was up against the rigid plastic housing for all the seat belt gadgets. It seemed like the angle of the seat was funny (too upright even with the seat in "recline" position) when installed there. I know that center is safest so we put a rolled towel in front of the plastic seat belt gadget housing - under the base of the car seat. The install now feels very stable and the angle seems much better. Does this make sense? (I can snap a photo if what I am describing does not make sense.) Again, we do plan to have the seat inspected - we just want to make a good effort at intalling ourselves first!
Lisa, mom to Zoe - 6.5 months
RE: The Secret Subaru Spot-
You can also adjust the recline by using the tension on the rear-facing tether. 45 degrees is the maximum, a bit more upright is somewhat safer for older babies who have head support and neck strength. It is also fine to fill up the gap with a rolled towel or foam pool noodle as it sounds like you have done. It sounds like yours is probably fine, as long as there is less than an inch of movement side-to-side and front-to-back when you grab the seat near the base where the seatbelt is routed.
Glad to help, good luck!
DuPage County SAFE KIDS