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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's totally my fault for screwing this up. I didn't think to check the position of the LATCH anchors for all seating positions before buying this thing.

We have triplet 7 yr old boys. They are now heavy and tall enough to be in booster seats with backs. So I bought them some ChicoFit booster seats with LATCH anchors. The LATCH anchors are used to secure the seat to the vehicle, as a retainer for the booster seat, NOT as a restraint for the child. Many booster seats just lay there with nothing to hold them down. So if you have an accident or come to a stop suddenly, the booster seat can become a dangerous flying projectile.

I got the boosters anchored to the 2nd row captains chairs with no issue. But the 3rd row only has ONE SINGLE set of anchors, and they are on the driver's side of the vehicle.

The PROBLEM is the anchor on the inboard side, is on the wrong side of the seatbelt latch for the driver's side passenger and the middle seat passenger. So when you hook up the LATCH, the anchor and its belt COVER and OBSTRUCT the seatbelt latches. There is no way for a child (much less an adult) to actually engage the seatbelt restraint anchor into the latch!

So what I had to do was "borrow" the seatbelt anchor on the passenger (right side) of the vehicle. This renders the entire 3rd row useless except for the one child in the booster seat. I don't even know if it's safe to belt my kid in this way!

 

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Would a seat belt extender help in your situation? Maybe one of the non-rigid ones so that you can snake the receptacle into a usable location?

https://www.seatbeltextenderpros.com/subaru-ascent-seat-belt-extender/

I bought the 5" rigid version to use with my daughter's second row booster seat because the belt receptacle is too low for her to reach. But the whole thing was too floppy to stand on its own, making it useless for my purpose. It actually fit perfectly in our Mazda CX-5 and does work well there, so no money wasted.

I had a booster in the third row only once and it was for a quick trip to a farm with my sister's kid in the back. My sister buckled her in so I was unaware of any weird issues.
 

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It's totally my fault for screwing this up. I didn't think to check the position of the LATCH anchors for all seating positions before buying this thing.

We have triplet 7 yr old boys. They are now heavy and tall enough to be in booster seats with backs. So I bought them some ChicoFit booster seats with LATCH anchors. The LATCH anchors are used to secure the seat to the vehicle, as a retainer for the booster seat, NOT as a restraint for the child. Many booster seats just lay there with nothing to hold them down. So if you have an accident or come to a stop suddenly, the booster seat can become a dangerous flying projectile.

I got the boosters anchored to the 2nd row captains chairs with no issue. But the 3rd row only has ONE SINGLE set of anchors, and they are on the driver's side of the vehicle.

The PROBLEM is the anchor on the inboard side, is on the wrong side of the seatbelt latch for the driver's side passenger and the middle seat passenger. So when you hook up the LATCH, the anchor and its belt COVER and OBSTRUCT the seatbelt latches. There is no way for a child (much less an adult) to actually engage the seatbelt restraint anchor into the latch!

So what I had to do was "borrow" the seatbelt anchor on the passenger (right side) of the vehicle. This renders the entire 3rd row useless except for the one child in the booster seat. I don't even know if it's safe to belt my kid in this way!

That image looks wrong. Looks like you have the seat belt from the left side plugged into the center seat belt retainer. Most cars even use different center clips to prevent this mix up.

The booster seats use the latch to simply keep the seat from sliding out of place when the child isn’t belted in. My short daughter spent two yrs in the high back just recently the high back belt location became lower than her collar bone so backs came off the booster. My son is tall and 3yrs younger he has maybe 4 months before the high back is too short for his shoulder height.

I think your greatly over thinking the latch setup for the booster seats. Given they are only holders to keep the boosters from slipping off the seat when no kid is belted in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Would a seat belt extender help in your situation? Maybe one of the non-rigid ones so that you can snake the receptacle into a usable location?

https://www.seatbeltextenderpros.com/subaru-ascent-seat-belt-extender/

I bought the 5" rigid version to use with my daughter's second row booster seat because the belt receptacle is too low for her to reach. But the whole thing was too floppy to stand on its own, making it useless for my purpose. It actually fit perfectly in our Mazda CX-5 and does work well there, so no money wasted.

I had a booster in the third row only once and it was for a quick trip to a farm with my sister's kid in the back. My sister buckled her in so I was unaware of any weird issues.
Ooooh! I forgot about those things! That looks like it might work! Thanks!!!
 

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Ooooh! I forgot about those things! That looks like it might work! Thanks!!!
You always want the kids seat to rest center so the seat belt points are close to the seat base not 8 inches away. It sounds like the booster is being held to the side causing the large gap between the seat and the sest belt clip. This is not safe during an accident given it allows excessive movement of the childs body and can cause injuries or worse the child can come out of the belt.

Do NOT add a seat belt extension!

Place the booster so it sits correctly between the clip and the fixed belt location in the seat. You should not have a large gap between the seat base and the belt buckle. If you do the seat is installed incorrectly.

If the latch holds the seat in the incorrect location loosen the latch belt or do not use it!!! The latch belts are not to be used if it compromises your childs safety due to improper primary seat belt positioning..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You always want the kids seat to rest center so the seat belt points are close to the seat base not 8 inches away. It sounds like the booster is being held to the side causing the large gap between the seat and the sest belt clip. This is not safe during an accident given it allows excessive movement of the childs body and can cause injuries or worse the child can come out of the belt.

Do NOT add a seat belt extension!

Place the booster so it sits correctly between the clip and the fixed belt location in the seat. You should not have a large gap between the seat base and the belt buckle. If you do the seat is installed incorrectly.

If the latch holds the seat in the incorrect location loosen the latch belt or do not use it!!! The latch belts are not to be used if it compromises your childs safety due to improper primary seat belt positioning..
We are using the LATCH mechanism only to retain the booster in the vehicle's seat, in case I have to hit the brakes suddenly. It's NOT used to restrain the child and seat. I just don't want the booster to become a flying projectile in case I hit the brakes.

The problem with the LATCH is the one towards the middle of the vehicle sits OUTBOARD and to the right of the seatbelt latching mechanism on the driver's side. So when the LATCH mechanism is engaged, it obscures the two seatbelt latches - one for the driver's side passenger, and the other for the middle seat passenger. IOW there's no way to buckle the seatbelt with the LATCH engaged because the seatbelt mechanism is obscured by the LATCH mechanism.

Here's a photo:

 

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I miss the days when kids were allowed in the front seat and 2nd hand smoke enjoyed:) Something about those days
 
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We are using the LATCH mechanism only to retain the booster in the vehicle's seat, in case I have to hit the brakes suddenly. It's NOT used to restrain the child and seat. I just don't want the booster to become a flying projectile in case I hit the brakes.

The problem with the LATCH is the one towards the middle of the vehicle sits OUTBOARD and to the right of the seatbelt latching mechanism on the driver's side. So when the LATCH mechanism is engaged, it obscures the two seatbelt latches - one for the driver's side passenger, and the other for the middle seat passenger. IOW there's no way to buckle the seatbelt with the LATCH engaged because the seatbelt mechanism is obscured by the LATCH mechanism.

Here's a photo:


^ That does indeed look like what The Car Seat Lady reported.



It's a weird setup. I don't understand how the designers/engineers didn't see that coming. :dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^ That does indeed look like what The Car Seat Lady reported.



It's a weird setup. I don't understand how the designers/engineers didn't see that coming. :dunno:


Exactly. So my plan right now is to get a seatbelt extender. All I need is a short length of belt material to extend the latch. That way I can have the extended latch PAST the obstruction and my kid will be able to buckle himself in.

 

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My understanding - from years ago, when my daughter was in boosters - was that, to be absolutely safe, one needs to check both the booster manufacturer as well as the vehicle manufacturer to see if there are any explicit yes/no regarding seat-belt extender use with booster seats.


The original intent for the extenders were for larger adults, and there continues to be debate in the online child safety-seat community about whether or not their use is safe, regardless of what the manufacturers of either the seat or the vehicle suggests/recommends. Most CPSTs cite the change in belt geometry caused by the extender as the reason.



As a pediatrician, my wife's biggest concern for our daughter was that the seat-belt would hit her at the right spots. For children, of-course, this is what boosters are for: so that the belt is given best-odds of proper placement across the body's hard-points so as to properly effect restraint in a collision and to minimize injury (including injury caused by the belt). With that, first and foremost, I would check belt placement across your child's/children's unique body/ies - regardless of what the seat or vehicle manufacturers suggest, even if they said it was A-OK, if the belt-with-extension ends up not fitting your kid(s), I'd still not do it.


One of the best pieces of advice I read was from a CPST on the child-seat.org Forums who recommended for a parent-OP in a similar predicament as you to simply keep the booster buckled via the vehicle seat-belt, and teach their child how to pull slack into the lap portion of the belt (ELR) and wiggle under to get in and out. The only problem was if the child somehow triggered ALR...which may then require adult intervention to restore the ability for the child to pull slack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My understanding - from years ago, when my daughter was in boosters - was that, to be absolutely safe, one needs to check both the booster manufacturer as well as the vehicle manufacturer to see if there are any explicit yes/no regarding seat-belt extender use with booster seats.


The original intent for the extenders were for larger adults, and there continues to be debate in the online child safety-seat community about whether or not their use is safe, regardless of what the manufacturers of either the seat or the vehicle suggests/recommends. Most CPSTs cite the change in belt geometry caused by the extender as the reason.



As a pediatrician, my wife's biggest concern for our daughter was that the seat-belt would hit her at the right spots. For children, of-course, this is what boosters are for: so that the belt is given best-odds of proper placement across the body's hard-points so as to properly effect restraint in a collision and to minimize injury (including injury caused by the belt). With that, first and foremost, I would check belt placement across your child's/children's unique body/ies - regardless of what the seat or vehicle manufacturers suggest, even if they said it was A-OK, if the belt-with-extension ends up not fitting your kid(s), I'd still not do it.


One of the best pieces of advice I read was from a CPST on the child-seat.org Forums who recommended for a parent-OP in a similar predicament as you to simply keep the booster buckled via the vehicle seat-belt, and teach their child how to pull slack into the lap portion of the belt (ELR) and wiggle under to get in and out. The only problem was if the child somehow triggered ALR...which may then require adult intervention to restore the ability for the child to pull slack.
Excellent advice. We've had multiple vehicles with child safety seats now so I'm well versed in proper belt placement. It's critical.

My hope is that the belt extender is just barely long enough to clear the LATCH obstruction, with enough slack so that my child is able to buckle up. But it can not, as you say, alter the path or pressure points of the belt.

Fortunately the booster seat has guides for the belt path. With this particular seat the across the chest and the over the lap portions of the belt must pass UNDER the arm of the safety seat. There's a yellow plastic area where the two sections of the belt are supposed to lay.

If worse comes to worse, I can always forgo the use of the LATCH mechanism and just buckle the safety belt up when the kid is not in the seat. That should be enough to keep the safety seat from flying around in the event of a sudden stop.

I've emailed Subaru about this problem, complete with photos. Let's see what they come back with. IMO this is design flaw.
 

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It's definitely a design flaw. I'm really not sure how they let it slip - there's no way anyone with two brain cells wouldn't have realized that something was screwy with that setup. :) Maybe it was due, and they just didn't have the budget for any more changes, even one that small (and crucial)? I have little doubt that this will be changed with the next vehicle update.


I saw how your seat was mocked up in the OP and said to myself that you must be an experienced child safety seat user ;) - I tried envisioning a child in your OP setup, and I thought, well, that LOOKS weird, but I actually think it would be OK...that it looked like a proper shoulder/hip fit. The only question, then, was whether if the belt/buckle would withstand collision forces, given their unconventional mating......



Please do check back with some pix of your extension setup and also report back on what Subaru has to say, too. My child as well as extended family area all out of booster range, now, but it continues to be an area that I'm interested in, and I'm positive that your information will be invaluable to many others on the Forum!


Best of luck to you and your crew! :)
 

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It's definitely a design flaw. I'm really not sure how they let it slip - there's no way anyone with two brain cells wouldn't have realized that something was screwy with that setup. :) Maybe it was due, and they just didn't have the budget for any more changes, even one that small (and crucial)?
I disagree with it being a design flaw.

The reason I do is simple - there are at LEAST 45 different manufacturers of children's car seats out there - probably a lot more. Now think about how many different models and variations each manufacturer might have. Let's assume (for simplicity) that each manufacturer only has 10 different models available. That's 450 different car seat layouts that an automobile design team would have to get to make the car fit the seat - when it actually should be the other way around, the seat needs to fit the car.

They did specifically design the vehicle so that the middle row could have 5 lower anchor points with the bench, and it was deliberate that the third row would only have lower anchor points on the driver side, with the other two spots only having tethers.
 

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I disagree with it being a design flaw.

The reason I do is simple - there are at LEAST 45 different manufacturers of children's car seats out there - probably a lot more. Now think about how many different models and variations each manufacturer might have. Let's assume (for simplicity) that each manufacturer only has 10 different models available. That's 450 different car seat layouts that an automobile design team would have to get to make the car fit the seat - when it actually should be the other way around, the seat needs to fit the car.

They did specifically design the vehicle so that the middle row could have 5 lower anchor points with the bench, and it was deliberate that the third row would only have lower anchor points on the driver side, with the other two spots only having tethers.
I agree. Page 71 of the manual clearly states to choose a seat that’s compatible with the vehicle, as obviously there are some that aren’t.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I disagree with it being a design flaw.

The reason I do is simple - there are at LEAST 45 different manufacturers of children's car seats out there - probably a lot more. Now think about how many different models and variations each manufacturer might have. Let's assume (for simplicity) that each manufacturer only has 10 different models available. That's 450 different car seat layouts that an automobile design team would have to get to make the car fit the seat - when it actually should be the other way around, the seat needs to fit the car.

They did specifically design the vehicle so that the middle row could have 5 lower anchor points with the bench, and it was deliberate that the third row would only have lower anchor points on the driver side, with the other two spots only having tethers.

With all due respect, I completely disagree. The basic principle of child safety seats is when available, the LATCH is the preferred retention mechanism for the safety seat, up to 60 lbs. The overwhelming majority of child safety seats (especially the ones that have earned the Top Safety Pick from the IIHS), use LATCH as a primary safety restraint to hold the seat to the car.

The problem with the Ascent is twofold:

1) There should be LATCH anchors at every passenger seat position in the 2nd and 3rd rows. This is how our Odyssey is set up. That's why we chose the Odyssey in the first place.

2) The LATCH anchors should be placed INBOARD of the seat belt latch. If it is set OUTBOARD of the seat belt latch, one can not use a seat belt and buckle it to the latch because the LATCH strap and anchor are COVERING the seat belt latch. This has NOTHING to do with varying brands of child safety seats. It's a design issue and Subaru got it wrong.

Why have a tether for a position if you don't have a LATCH anchor? That also makes no sense.

Finally, if the bench in the 2nd row has 5 LATCH anchors, that is also WRONG. Each child safety seat needs TWO LATCH anchors, one on each side of the seat. So that means the 2nd row bench should have 6 LATCH anchors, not 5.

Considering Subaru is marketing this vehicle to families with children, I find it inexplicable that they got the LATCH anchors so very wrong.
 

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We are using the LATCH mechanism only to retain the booster in the vehicle's seat, in case I have to hit the brakes suddenly. It's NOT used to restrain the child and seat. I just don't want the booster to become a flying projectile in case I hit the brakes.
I never used LATCH with booster seats. I always buckled them in. It is hard to tell from the quoted statement, but if there is no child in the seat, simply buckle the booster in with the seat belt. Problem solved. My kids would even do it when they got old enough and got in/out themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I never used LATCH with booster seats. I always buckled them in. It is hard to tell from the quoted statement, but if there is no child in the seat, simply buckle the booster in with the seat belt. Problem solved. My kids would even do it when they got old enough and got in/out themselves.
Yes, this is what I'm going to do most likely. It's the simplest solution short of getting the buckle extender.
 

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I disagree with it being a design flaw.

The reason I do is simple - there are at LEAST 45 different manufacturers of children's car seats out there - probably a lot more. Now think about how many different models and variations each manufacturer might have. Let's assume (for simplicity) that each manufacturer only has 10 different models available. That's 450 different car seat layouts that an automobile design team would have to get to make the car fit the seat - when it actually should be the other way around, the seat needs to fit the car.

They did specifically design the vehicle so that the middle row could have 5 lower anchor points with the bench, and it was deliberate that the third row would only have lower anchor points on the driver side, with the other two spots only having tethers.


I agree. Page 71 of the manual clearly states to choose a seat that’s compatible with the vehicle, as obviously there are some that aren’t.

It's not about having seats that are compatible with the vehicle - I completely get that.



And believe me, I'm a RTMFM kind ( I've made multiple posts both here and on the Subaru Ascent FB page which references specific pages in the various manuals and quick-reference guides, as well as pointed others specifically to the availability of the online version - https://www.ascentforums.com/forum/...-today/4381-went-subaru-school.html#post71537 ), so I get that, too. :tango_face_wink:


But......



...The basic principle of child safety seats is when available, the LATCH is the preferred retention mechanism for the safety seat, up to 60 lbs. The overwhelming majority of child safety seats (especially the ones that have earned the Top Safety Pick from the IIHS), use LATCH as a primary safety restraint to hold the seat to the car.

2) The LATCH anchors should be placed INBOARD of the seat belt latch. If it is set OUTBOARD of the seat belt latch, one can not use a seat belt and buckle it to the latch because the LATCH strap and anchor are COVERING the seat belt latch. This has NOTHING to do with varying brands of child safety seats. It's a design issue and Subaru got it wrong.

Why have a tether for a position if you don't have a LATCH anchor? That also makes no sense.

Finally, if the bench in the 2nd row has 5 LATCH anchors, that is also WRONG. Each child safety seat needs TWO LATCH anchors, one on each side of the seat. So that means the 2nd row bench should have 6 LATCH anchors, not 5....
^ It is for these exact same reasons why I think that the LATCH arrangements in the Ascent are flawed.



It's way these specific points are handled that just doesn't make sense to me.



For now, let's focus solely on the issue raised by TheLex's OP:


....

The problem with the LATCH is the one towards the middle of the vehicle sits OUTBOARD and to the right of the seatbelt latching mechanism on the driver's side. So when the LATCH mechanism is engaged, it obscures the two seatbelt latches - one for the driver's side passenger, and the other for the middle seat passenger. IOW there's no way to buckle the seatbelt with the LATCH engaged because the seatbelt mechanism is obscured by the LATCH mechanism.

Here's a photo:


This just doesn't make sense. Why should using LATCH for just one seating position also negate the ability of the middle 3-rd row passenger to be buckled. Let's say that Subaru's engineers (or more likely lawyers :grin:) wanted to make sure that folks don't do the LATCH-and-belt thing with a child-seat. Fine, I can understand if the LATCH anchor divided the two buckles (i.e. blocking the buckle for the same-side seat from engaging) - but why would it also do the same to the side without the child-seat? Now I'm minus one passenger capability, in a vehicle which is ostensibly marketed as a people hauler.



It's almost as-if someone said "Hey, you know what - we'll put these here just to make it look good. Who cares if the consumer can actually use it in the manner that would actually make sense." :dunno:

@Carl Abrams, what was Subaru's reasoning for the 5 lower anchors in the second row (bench variant) versus a full 6? <---- honest question, I'm not fishing for a fight. I understand the reasoning for why 5 exists ( https://www.ascentforums.com/forum/...ent-2nd-row-bench-center-car-seat-infant.html ) - but is the lack of the 6th point a concession due to vehicle width (or lack thereof)?
 
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