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chandni3 11-25-2012 01:59 PM

New car seat woes
So we just got a new used car and a new carseat. The car is a Plymouth breeze, a '99. We got the Safety first Air protect carseat. First problem was with the seatbelts. Worst you can have, no cinching plate and don't lock when you pull them out all the way so I had to use that clip thing. Do you know how hard it is to get the seat belt tight enough, unbuckle it, put the clip on and then do it up again? I thought I'd never be able to do it. It's so hard to re-buckle it up and trying to put my weight on the carseat when it's rear facing. I swear I never want to take the carseat out now because it was so hard to put in. I had to install it beside the door because when baby #2 comes that carseat will go in the middle (at least that seatbelt has a cinch plate).
But I find I have trouble pulling the carseat belt tight enough. Does anyone else have this trouble? It's so hard and ackward to pull it and my daughter is on the lowest rise so it seems that the belt is almost too long and so the join between the two belts and the pull strap is right up as far as it will go. It takes so much effort to tighten too. I have to adjust around her legs and pull it tight at the back of the carseat and then pull the strap with all my strength while leaning on the seat. I don't know how I'll do it when my belly gets big. Anyway, any tips?

jjordan 11-25-2012 02:10 PM

Re: New car seat woes
Every 1999 model year vehicle sold in the US will have locking seatbelts in every position. Plymouth vehicles normally have lightweight locking latchplates. To test yours, sit in the vehicle seating location where you want to put the child seat. Buckle the seatbelt and tighten it up. Then put your hand between yourself and the lap belt, right in the middle, near your zipper if you're wearing jeans, and try to pull UP to loosen it. If you can't loosen it, then you have a lightweight locking latchplate.

The other issue, do you mean you have trouble getting the child seat harness tight enough? Sometimes it helps to just leave the harness at the correct setting so that you don't have to tighten it every time. If you find that your dd is wearing variable amounts of clothes that require major harness changes, then she is probably wearing too much bulky clothing. We keep our baby plenty warm in the car by dressing her in regular clothes and just putting on a warm hat, and covering her with a fleece blanket after she's all buckled in. Other than that, some seats just have difficult-to-manage harness adjusters, and the only "trick" I have to help is exactly what you're already doing. Sometimes they loosen up a bit with use!

chandni3 11-25-2012 02:24 PM

Re: New car seat woes
No, the seatbelts do not lock except when the breaks are engaged, even says so in the manual. The latch plates don't lock, at least not well. When I'd tighten the belt, if I pulled the car seat from side to side it'd loosen up and start moving.
Yea, it's really hard to pull the strap to tighten the belt. I don't put a coat on her in the seat. It's not only hard to pull but it seems it's too long so the pull strap is pulled all the way to where it connects to the shoulder strap. With a ton of effort I can get it to where it's just tight enough, but I'd really like for it to be a little tighter. Aarg, I miss the Graco infant seat. Hopefully it'll loosen up with time. I'm afraid to let my husband put her in it that he won't get it tight enough because it requires so much fiddling.

jjordan 11-25-2012 02:55 PM

Re: New car seat woes
So was this car not originally sold in the US then? Or is the year a typo? All cars sold in the US that were made in 1996 or beyond are required to have locking seatbelts in every position.

It sounds like you have a lap-only belt in the center? If so that has a locking latchplate, I'd put the car seat there for now and just deal with the locking clip when you absolutely have to. (When is #2 due?)

For the harness issue, I'd just avoid adjusting it any more than is absolutely necessary.

If grandparents with deep pockets ;) are asking for Christmas gift suggestions, maybe a car seat with an easily-adjustable harness and seatbelt lockoffs could go on the list... Least expensive one that I can think of off the top of my head is the Britax Roundabout 55, normally about $150-$160, and then there are several more expensive options as well.

chandni3 11-25-2012 03:25 PM

Re: New car seat woes
It's a 1999. We're in Canada, I don't know if that makes a difference. Are these seatbelts less safe for everyone else? The carseat is now in with that clip and is not moving, it just took a lot of effort and contortions of my body. Baby is due in June. But this seat won't work in the middle well because we're very very tall so the driver needs the seat back a little further. The car seat is behind the passanger seat and my knees are right up to the dashboard. I did get it installed so I"m not going to move it now :) I'll try leaving the carseat straps tightened and see if that works. It's a brand new carseat so I don't want another one and it's supposed to be easily adjustable, you just pull to tighten, except it doesn't pull. I like the side protection. I just wish it'd do up easier. We're luck to have a new car, the old one was a two door and it would have been impossible with a larger carseat (but the seatbelts did lock when you pulled them out. This car we got from my aunt and she's letting us pay as we can.

jjordan 11-25-2012 03:36 PM

Re: New car seat woes
Ah yes, I'm not sure what the rules are in Canada, so that could definitely make a difference. The seatbelts are no less safe for "ordinary" people though. :)

ETA: Some car seats take up more front-back space than others, and some adjusters with the pull strap are much easier than others. Something to keep in mind next time you're car seat shopping! :)

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