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Child Safety Seat Installation, Compatibility and Technical Questions Discuss Proper Use of Infant, Convertible, Combination and Booster Seats, Automobile Compatibility, Three Across and Install Problems.


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Old 07-22-2007, 05:33 PM   #1
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Tiny little car

Hi everyone! I've been lurking trying to find answers, but have only found little bits here and there, so I thought I would just post my questions. I have a 7 month old who is approaching the 29inch mark and can't stand his infant carrier anyway. I have an Alpha-Omega that was given to me (I know the family very well, it's only 2 years old and never in an accident) that I tried installing in my '02 Hyundai Accent 4 door. In order to get it at the angle it says (rear-facing, of course) I have to have the drivers seat Waaaaaay forward and it doesn't feel safe for me or comfortable either. In lurking around here, I've seen it written that it might not have to be at the angle it says??? What would be the lowest angle, but still safe?

Also, any opinions on this car seat? Like I said, it was given to me and I haven't done any research on in yet. Thanks everyone! I look forward to what you have to say!
 
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Old 07-23-2007, 12:00 AM   #2
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Re: Tiny little car

Do you have the instruction manual for the seat?
Are you trying to install it with or without the base? The base can be removed and in my experience the AO will install much better with the base removed.

Your ds is 7mos old - how is his head/neck control? Is he sitting? In all likelihood, he doesn't need a full 45 degree recline.

The most upright a seat can be is 30 degrees, although I don't think I'd go that upright with a 7mo old. If you make his seat more upright and you find his chin is falling towards his chest when he falls asleep, then it's too upright and you'll need to add a pool noodle or rolled towel to recline it more.

The AO makes a decent rf'ing seat because it has a weight limit of 35lbs and a tall seatback so many kids can rf right to the 35lb weight limit in the seat. It is a real pain to adjust the harness though when the seat is being used rf'ing. For a ff'ing seat, it's outgrown early and long before a child is ready for a booster. Since you know the history of this seat intimately, I'd be ok with using it, but I'd start researching now and saving for what seat you'll put him in to once he outgrows the AO ff'ing.

I'm not familiar with the Hyundai, but I know in our Saturn ION, that we could install the AO rf'ing in the middle at the 45 degree angle without the base, and the top of the AO would go between the top of each of the front seat backs. This may be possible for you too, especially if the car seat is more upright.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:30 AM   #3
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Re: Tiny little car

1st please note that while weight limits are very strict, height limits are guidelines. Kids carry their height differently, torso tall vs. being leggy. There must be at least 1" between the top of baby's head & the inside edge of the carseat shell/frame. If there isn't, then the seat is already too small.

You won't find many people here who like the AO -- it's fine for RF, but it's wide & not the easiest to install + it's stop harness slots are unusable (reserved only for booster mode as per the manual) which is counterintuitive so this seat has a high misuse rate & there are more dedicated boosters (kids usually outgrow the harness and/or booster too soon) + it'll probably expire before your child can safely ride without a seat of some sort....

Hopefully others who have more experience with this vehicle can offer tips on installing the AO if needed (perhaps with the base), but I'd just consider puting it outboard on the passenger side for any other adult occupant to sit in the back: safer for them + it'll help keep kiddo entertained.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:23 AM   #4
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Re: Tiny little car

I have two AO's, and a small (but not tiny ) car -- '96 Corolla. My first piece of advice is to take off the base -- makes a huge difference in how much space the seat takes up front to back. Also (contrary to what another poster said), I think the AO harness is very easy to adjust RF, since you just reach behind the seat and move the adjustment bar up to the next notch as needed. Do be careful never to use the top-most slot (highest notches for the horizontal adjustment bar) while still using this as a harnessed seat. And, yes, it sucks as a booster, as others said. However, you already have the seat and trust its history, so I would certainly use it, if I were in your shoes (I would not recommend to anyone to buy this seat from scratch, but that's a different story, and has more to do with relative costs and possibility of misuse). We've liked our AO's as easy-to-install RF seats, with a high RF limit (35 pounds).

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Old 07-23-2007, 10:52 AM   #5
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Re: Tiny little car

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Originally Posted by singingpond View Post
Also (contrary to what another poster said), I think the AO harness is very easy to adjust RF, since you just reach behind the seat and move the adjustment bar up to the next notch as needed. Do be careful never to use the top-most slot (highest notches for the horizontal adjustment bar) while still using this as a harnessed seat.
I had been referring to the harness adjuster strap being hard to actually tighten the harness when it's rf'ing as opposed to adjusting the harness height. At least it was in my car because it was squished within a couple inches of the seatback and there wasn't much room to pull on it.
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Old 07-23-2007, 11:56 AM   #6
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Re: Tiny little car

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Originally Posted by snowbird25ca View Post
I had been referring to the harness adjuster strap being hard to actually tighten the harness when it's rf'ing as opposed to adjusting the harness height. At least it was in my car because it was squished within a couple inches of the seatback and there wasn't much room to pull on it.
Oh, you're sure right about that! Actually, the tightening issue I have is not so much getting hold of the strap, but that the part of the harness that runs under the carseat gets hard to pull because of friction against the vehicle seat, I guess. Sometimes the splitter plate also gets hung up on something. I always reach behind the RF AO and help 'feed' the harness down with one hand while pulling up on the adjuster strap with the other hand. Actually, I've gotten so used to this two-handed tightening technique, I don't even perceive it as a problem any more, LOL. However, when we've had the AO installed FF, it can be a real pain, because then you CAN'T reach behind the seat to help with the other hand... Hmmm, I had forgotten how much I dislike tightening the harness on this seat FF, since we use it pretty much exclusively RF now.

To the OP: the AO, without the base, is actually the only one of the various seats I've tried, which actually allows almost a newborn recline angle when installed outboard in a small car. Other seats I've tried (Marathon/Wizard, Radian, Scenera) are all too tall front to back when installed at this angle in our Corolla (pushes vehicle front seat up too far, or just plain doesn't fit, even with vehicle seat all the way forward), but the AO fits, so it definitely has its uses (despite its various drawbacks).

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Old 07-23-2007, 05:51 PM   #7
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Re: Tiny little car

I have a 2000 Accent Hatchback... so maybe not even quite as much room as you have... and I got my AO installed rf just fine. As some others have said, it's easier if you take the base off and use a pool noodle or a towel or something.

And I never had a problem adjusting the harness rf. Maybe that has more to do with the seat material and angle of the seat bottom than the actual seat itself. I have cloth seats in my car and they're not very squishy...
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