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CAR SEATS - General Child Safety Seat Questions, Help and Advice>Toyota Vent
Unregistered 07:42 PM 04-21-2006
We just purchased new Toyota, a 2006 RAV4. I have some questions regarding installation of our Britax, and Toyota is giving me a royal run around. I have asked my dealer at least 5 times if there is a certified car seat tec on staff and still haven't been given an answer - yes or no folks. Some guy they keep refering me to won't return my calls, I have been trying to reach him all week. I finally called Toyota directly and they told me they didn't keep up with all the changes in child safety seats, and refered me to a non-profit website. Um, ok, I have a BRAND NEW CAR. Have we heard of corporate responsibility?

SO - don't buy a Toyota. I thought I was moving up when I replaced my Subaru last week, but DEFINATELY should have gone with a new Forester.

DONT BUY TOYOTA.

(Ok, I know that wasn't constructive but I feel better.)

Here is my real question:

1st, my manual says nothing about rear facing convertable seats. There is only a passing mention of the LATCH system. This starts with:

1. Fold down the seatback and back to the 1st lock position (most upright position) until it locks into place. Adjust the seatback to the 7th lock position.

Then it goes on, but WHY the 7th position? My seat definately doesn't fit, reclining to the 7th position reveals the plastic things that hold the seatback, the base of the carseat hits them and no way will I get a secure fit, I only get a secure fit with the seat in the most upright position. I asked the Toyota person and he said the manual says the 7th position because the car seat would fit better that way - but I'm SURE he had no idea what he was talking about, and he wouldn't connect me to anyone who could answer my question. So I guess I just don't worry about what the manual says - really? I always thought you were supposed to do the vehicle manual said?

Thanks for listening,
Amy, 10 mo old dd in a RF Britax Roundabout, driver outboard position, rocksolid instal w/LATCH + tether, seat fully upright!
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jenny03 10:12 AM 04-22-2006
I'm no help with the seat positions, but it sounds like the dealer is a dud. Try a different one. Or someone could help you find a good tech in your area?? There are lots of free seat checks--firehouses, police, etc.
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Unregistered 04:20 PM 04-22-2006
I can't help you with the car seat installation, but I hate Toyota too

Good luck and let us know what you find out!

Brooke
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Unregistered 07:46 AM 04-23-2006
Hi, I'm the OP.

I finally got someone on the phone at the main Toyota customer service place who was able to answer my question. She looked into this 7th position thing and found that they just put that in the vehicle manual because their testing found most FF convertible seats fit most securly in that position, but she said the child safety seat should be installed with whatever seat angle is most secure. The manual makes it sound like that 7th position is a hard and fast rule, so I was really concerned! She let me log a complaint about the dealer that wouldn't return my calls, and also a complaint about the poorly written manual. I don't know if either will make any kind of difference.

We live in a rural area and the nearest tech is about 45 miles from here. I've been looking for a tech in our area for almost a year, and just got the name of one a few weeks ago, so we will get everything inspected as soon as we can.

Thanks for th replies!
~Amy
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Unregistered 07:34 AM 06-02-2006
Hi,

I found your message because we're getting ready to buy a new RAV4, with the third row seat, and was looking for info. on carseats and the RAV4.

Just a quick story -- when we took my 3yo with us car shopping, the salesman (Toyota) had no idea how to hook her carseat in the car, and said "Well, you're going to be back here with her, right? Can't you just hold her in your lap or use the seatbelt for her?" UGHHH!!! I couldn't believe it.

Anyway, I'm curious why you went with the driver outboard position, as opposed to the center position. Is it because there's no Latch system in the center? Would there be enough room for passengers on either side if a carseat/booster was installed in the center? I'm just trying to figure out the best/safest configuration in this car!
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my3girls 09:22 AM 06-02-2006
I guess I'm alone here, I never expect a car dealer to know anything about carseats or installation. They barely know anything about the vehicles they are trying to sell. When my dh and I were trying to buy our van, we went to a Dodge dealer. They had about 10 Caravans to chose from, I asked which ones had the split folding 3rd row seat, cause I knew that was something I was interested in and it was a way to narrow my choices. He informed me that Dodge didn't make a 3rd row folding seat, but I told him he was wrong, and even found one on his lot! Freakin idiot!! A different Dodge dealer couldn't answer my question about if the solid 3rd row bench could be moved to the middle row, but I found it in the manual and showed him. So when it comes to carseats, I just look in the manual myself. I would never trust one of them to install my carseats and I wouldn't expect the dealership to have a car seat tech available.
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HannahsMom 09:28 AM 06-02-2006
I agree with you, I never expect a car dealership to know anything about carseats. That's not what they focus on. They repair cars and are out to make a buck on a car they sell you. Like you said, most sales people don't even know much about the car they are trying to sell you.

When it comes to carseats finding a certified CPST is your best bet
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ZephyrBlue 10:16 AM 06-02-2006
The Dodge dealership where we bought my new Grand Caravan SXT had no idea about seats, either. The salesman did say that there were carseat hooks but he had no idea how many, etc. I don't trust dealerships to know squat about carseats, either.
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griffinmom 11:42 AM 06-02-2006
Originally Posted by my3girls:
I guess I'm alone here, I never expect a car dealer to know anything about carseats or installation. They barely know anything about the vehicles they are trying to sell. When my dh and I were trying to buy our van, we went to a Dodge dealer. They had about 10 Caravans to chose from, I asked which ones had the split folding 3rd row seat, cause I knew that was something I was interested in and it was a way to narrow my choices. He informed me that Dodge didn't make a 3rd row folding seat, but I told him he was wrong, and even found one on his lot! Freakin idiot!! A different Dodge dealer couldn't answer my question about if the solid 3rd row bench could be moved to the middle row, but I found it in the manual and showed him. So when it comes to carseats, I just look in the manual myself. I would never trust one of them to install my carseats and I wouldn't expect the dealership to have a car seat tech available.
You're definitely not alone! I don't depend on dealers for anything car seat related. The last car we looked at, the salesperson was pointing out the new, *safer* latch anchors. It was clear he didn't have a clue what he was saying. Then he threw in a few incorrect facts about latch and I had to correct him saying that I was a car seat tech. His response, "wow, I've never seen one before. You look pretty normal."

We left as fast as we could!
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kelly 12:12 PM 06-02-2006
Originally Posted by griffinmom:
You look pretty normal."
Ok, I found that really funny. Wonder in what ways he thinks that car seat techs are "not normal" looking people?

My Audi dealership has a little sign that says it has a certified tech on staff. I've never needed their services, but they were pretty knowledable when I got lower anchors retro-fitted there. (Only available on some Audi/VW's, in case others are wanting retro-fits.)
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Jeanum 12:33 PM 06-02-2006
I urge anyone to do their own homework rather than rely on the salesperson whose job is to sell and not necessarily to correctly inform customers about a vehicle's features, safety or otherwise.

This thread reminds me of the Saturn sales consultant who tried to convince me the cargo anchors in the Vue's rear cargo area were top tether anchors, when the top tether anchors were in plain sight on the rear seat backs. I switched to another salesperson before closing the deal on a later date, and would've switched dealers had another dealership not been so far away. The Toyota salesman whom we dealt with when buying our Sienna seemed pretty with it, but I already knew most of the safety features and specs ahead of time. I started out our whole buying process by schlepping a bunch of infant seats and a Britax Marathon with me to try out in the Sienna before even test driving it. The salesman assumed I was expecting multiples because of all the carseats, lol. If he thought I was nuts for bringing in multiple carseats when I was five months pregnant with only one baby, he wisely kept his opinion to himself.

I've heard of some VW dealers with CPS techs on staff who hold seat checks and think it's great. Too bad other manufacturers/dealerships don't follow suit.
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CPSDarren 08:21 PM 06-03-2006
For corporate responsibility, Toyota is among many brands who promote and contribute to child passenger safety at a national level.

Unfortunately, for most manufacturers, this responsibility does not extend to local dealers and sometimes not even to national customer service representatives. It also doesn't extend to every vehicle in their lineup. Various models from every brand have design issues that cause child restraint incompatibilities.

If you believe it is fair to tell people not to buy a Toyota on this basis, you can included almost every other manufacturer as well. The vast majority of dealerships for all brands do not have a child passenger safety technician on staff. You would be lucky to find someone with a general interest in the topic.

There are a couple solutions. First is to visit a certified child passenger safety technician in person. This network of over 50,000 technicians exists for this very purpose. If you have a tough situation, search around your area for an instructor or a senior checker.

Second, many carseat advocates try their new child seats in their vehicles before they purchase them. They do the same when buying new vehicles. With all the different designs, it's really the only way to be sure that what you have will work. In that regard, I would agree that it is pretty awful that a better system of making child seats and vehicles hasn't emerged.
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wendy 08:42 PM 06-03-2006
We have a Toyota Sienna and it had good instructions for installing a seat ff or rf in the manual. I didn't expect the salesmen to know how to install ds's Boulevard seat, I did it myself when we test drove. I did have to get out the Britax manual (which we keep attached to the seat) b/c the bucket seats want to recline rf seats TOO much (how's that for a change? rofl) All in all, I have been very happy w/ our Toyota experience. Before our Sienna, we had a '96 Camry. Before that, I had an '84 Tercel. We got the Sienna b/c we have had very good experiences w/ Toyotas and the Sienna's safety features are above and beyond other vans. The Sienna is the most kid friendly van I have ever seen. It is very apparant they had kids in mind when designing it. And I think that includes car seat installation.
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Unregistered 06:53 AM 06-04-2006
Originally Posted by Jeanum:
I've heard of some VW dealers with CPS techs on staff who hold seat checks and think it's great. Too bad other manufacturers/dealerships don't follow suit.
I was very surprised when I went to pick up my VW Passat from the dealer (I dropped it off for a good detailing!), and they had a guy there waiting for me at pick-up, who was a certified tech. He made sure I put my seat in correctly before I drove off, even offered to put it back in for me. Now, that's service!
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