I would like to take this opportunity to express my frustration with the entire child car seat industry. Even with the LATCH system, installing a child car seat is still extremely difficult to do correctly.
I heard a statistic the other day that 80% of child car seats are installed incorrectly. And this is acceptable! What other safety product is designed so that 80% of people using it cannot install it correctly? In fact, it’s recommended that you go to your local fire station and have them install it for you. As if it is expected that normal people probably can’t do it. Am I the only one outraged by this?
Getting the thing in tight means climbing in with your knee in the seat and pulling with all your might to get it as tight as possible. Overweight parents or those with compact cars may find that they can’t fit back there to do this.
When you do install your rear-facing car seat correctly, you’ll likely find that it takes up so much room that the front passenger seat has to be moved up to accommodate it. So, the entire first year of your baby’s life, anyone traveling with you in the front seat is sitting with his knees against the dashboard. That’s not exactly safe for the front passenger.
It’s one thing if the child’s car seat is on the passenger’s side, but what if you have twins and need a car seat on both sides? You either have to install it at the wrong angle, live with driving with your seat way too far forward, or buy a minivan or large sedan. Those aren’t good options.
And the angle of your seat may mean that you need to buy a special bolster to help position the child’s car seat at the correct angle.
Front-facing works better, but I’m still dismayed by the amount of space it takes up. My children’s car seats both have bases that are actually deeper than the depth of the car’s backseat bottom cushion. My daughter’s poor feet are squished sideways between the child car seat and the back of the driver’s seat. I’m looking forward to her weighing 40 pounds so I can switch her to a backless booster to give her more legroom.
Then there’s the whole issue of a three-passenger backseat not being able to actually fit 3 children’s car seats.
And if you have a booster up against a child car seat, how do you manage to buckle the seatbelt without having to move the booster over to reach the buckle?
And don’t even get me started about traveling with your child’s car seat in tow.
So frustrating. And yes, I realize I’m offering no solutions, only complaints. But that’s not my job. I’m appalled that whoever designs these things hasn’t come up with something better.