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  1. #1
    CPS Technician CRS's Avatar
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    Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?
    Bonnie, Mum to a (38lb) 3 year old rear-facing in a Brio Zento (Black)
    and a (40lb) 4 1/2 year old in a Booster in New Zealand.

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member Melizerd's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    Short answer, because they haven't been tested that way.

    I think it has something to do with the force placed on the metal in a crash though.
    Mel,RN
    Married 13 years to a wonderful DH and mom to an amazing 8 year old boy.

    Living the dream...Blogging about love, life and family

  4. #3
    CPS Technician CRS's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    Anyone know the technical reason?
    Bonnie, Mum to a (38lb) 3 year old rear-facing in a Brio Zento (Black)
    and a (40lb) 4 1/2 year old in a Booster in New Zealand.

  5. #4
    Senior Community Member mommyto4's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    I've wondered this too. I just don't do it because they say not to do it. I would assume that it is because it has not been tested that way.
    Melinda-mom to 4 rugrats

  6. #5
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    well I would think partly would be because you would have to install it forwardfacing on the rearfacing seat in order for it to be a rearfacing seat... and for an infant even if you could install it in forward facing mode in the recline it would be too upright.
    Also in order for it to face the front it would have to be installed rearfacing, which would make it very insecure.

    I dont know if those are legit, but they make sense to me! lol!
    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes...
    That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away AND you have their shoes.”

  7. #6
    Car-Seat.org Ambassador Patriot201's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuvBug03 View Post
    well I would think partly would be because you would have to install it forwardfacing on the rearfacing seat in order for it to be a rearfacing seat... and for an infant even if you could install it in forward facing mode in the recline it would be too upright.
    Also in order for it to face the front it would have to be installed rearfacing, which would make it very insecure.

    I dont know if those are legit, but they make sense to me! lol!
    I agree. I'm not sure if that is *actually* the reason, but it sounds good.

  8. #7
    CPS Technician CRS's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    bump
    Bonnie, Mum to a (38lb) 3 year old rear-facing in a Brio Zento (Black)
    and a (40lb) 4 1/2 year old in a Booster in New Zealand.

  9. #8
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuvBug03 View Post
    well I would think partly would be because you would have to install it forwardfacing on the rearfacing seat in order for it to be a rearfacing seat... and for an infant even if you could install it in forward facing mode in the recline it would be too upright.
    Also in order for it to face the front it would have to be installed rearfacing, which would make it very insecure.

    I dont know if those are legit, but they make sense to me! lol!
    The inadequate recline for an infant makes sense, but, other than that, wouldn't one always want the carseat to be installed 'FF' (i.e. facing the rear of the vehicle) anyway? Since rear-facing in a frontal collision is theoretically safer for everyone (assuming proper head support)? I've wondered about this question also, since a rear-facing vehicle seat would seem to provide particularly good support to the installed carseat in a frontal collision. I assume the reason not to do it is that it is an untested configuration. For that matter, is there ANY testing of these types of vehicle seats -- i.e. for occupants riding there with the regular seatbelt? I thought vehicle crash tests only put dummies into the front seat of the vehicle? I wonder if there is any accessible real-world data about the safety of rear-facing vehicle seats in actual crashes.... There probably isn't much economic incentive to crash-test carseats for use in rear-facing vehicle seats, since crash-tests are expensive, and the number of rear-facing vehicle seats out there is fairly low.

    Katrin

  10. #9
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    Because the FF belt path is not reinforced to take crash forces in that way.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
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  11. #10
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus UlrikeDG's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    FF belt path not reinforced to take crash forces in WHAT way? A frontal crash would push the CR into the vehicle seat putting little to no strain on the actual belt path.
    Ulrike, mom to:
    Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)


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  12. #11
    Member Squeaky McMurdo's Avatar
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    Thread resurrection

    Resurrecting this thread because I'm genuinely curious. I get why you wouldn't want to put an infant seat or a baby that needs the recline there, but is there really no reason buckling a seat onto a rear-facing seat using the ff belt path is dangerous other than "I don't think it has been tested"?

  13. #12
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Well, at Lifesavers last year I had a very thorough conversation with an engineer for a company that makes ambulance seats. He explained how they were crash testing rear-facing seats (for grown-ups) for ambulances, and the first several designs caused the dummies to ramp up dangerously. One wouldn't expect that of an upright rear-facing seat, but it happened. It took a few more designs before they got a "safe" one.

    So I'd say the fact that it hasn't been tested is a valid reason not to do it.

    Incidentally, that also made me suspicious of the swivel seats in the Town & Country. We assume that riding rear-facing (for a person too large for child restraints) would be better, but what if it's not? (I mean, in terms of pure physics, of course it is, but what if the specific design is such that it makes it worse?) Those seats do not have to be crash tested, and I don't know what kind of testing, if any, the manufacturer conducted.

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  15. #13
    CPS Technician cookie123's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    I thought those seats in the T & C had to be ff if the vehicle was moving. Did I imagine that?
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  16. #14
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie123
    I thought those seats in the T & C had to be ff if the vehicle was moving. Did I imagine that?
    Pretty sure they can be backwards as long as there's no child restraint on them.

  17. #15
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    I think it is allowed other places. The Kiddy World car seat that is coming soon here is allowed to be used on rf seats in Europe. I read the manual for the European version a couple of years ago and thought it would be cool if it was allowed here. At the time I had a station wagon with the rf third seat. It doesn't seem like kids would ramp up a car seat installed on one of those anymore than a rf car seat installed on a ff seat. With the straps holding them down at the hips and shoulders......That's just my ponderings though!!
    Aurora 5/23/94 (married 3/9/13), Oliver 12/27/95, Simon 9/11/98, Savannah 4/9/00, Harrison 2/26/03, Genevieve 2/24/05, Sebastian 4/24/08-Monterey, Radian XT, or Literider, Magnus 4/26/14-Combi Shuttle 35

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  19. #16
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    I have no idea what the answer would be, but a parent at my son's school has carseats installed on her rear facing seats in her van.

  20. #17
    Carseat Crazy robbertbobbert's Avatar
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    I don't know, but I really wish I could put seats there. I have an 8 passenger station wagon and can only use four seating positions. It's inconvenient.

    Truth be told, I DID put two kids in the back of my car this fall. The two useable middle seats were in use, and it was an emergency with nobody else available to transport.

    The girls normally sit in lbbs, but they five stepped in that seat.

    I wouldn't do it under most circumstances, but it was an emergency and I was glad to have the seats there. They're normally useless.
    Well... that was fast!
    Baby #1 due 10/1/16

  21. #18
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mommyfrog
    It doesn't seem like kids would ramp up a car seat installed on one of those anymore than a rf car seat installed on a ff seat. With the straps holding them down at the hips and shoulders......That's just my ponderings though!!
    The ambulance seat in question also had a harness. IIRC, it was a very minor change that took the seat from "major injury" level to acceptable. Given such a small margin of error, I wouldn't assume it's safe without the testing to prove it.

  22. #19
    CPS Fanatic agave's Avatar
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    I think they should start making cars with the 2nd row RF and the 3rd row FF. That way no one has to sit with the cargo.
    N - 6/08 51" 59 lbs, Backless Monterey
    E - 11/09 48" 48 lbs, Parkway

  23. #20
    CPS Technician Brigala's Avatar
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    Re: Why can't you install car seats on rear-facing seats?

    I feel "It's not tested" is a good enough reason also.

    That said... given no other options... I would think that a convertible seat (which is already designed to be used both RF and FF) installed in a FF-way on a RF-seat probably would provide adequate (though most likely not optimal) protection in a minor to moderate crash. So if I absolutely had to transport, say, six toddlers in a station wagon, I'd sooner do that than put kids on that rear-facing seat with no CR at all.

    As a temporary situation, I had a friend with a huge family and all she could afford that had enough seat belts was a sable wagon with a jump seat. At the time, most of her kids were still car-seat age. The jump seats and two of the cabin seats were lap-belt-only. There was no safe way to transport all the kids in that car, but not transporting the kids was not an option (it was a divorce/custody/visitation situation). We experimented with various combinations to try to pick out the least of all evils. I don't remember what exactly she decided to do, but we did test-install some seats there to see if it would work. We knew full well that it wasn't allowed, and not the safest thing to do, but she was left with limited options.

    As soon as she could, she bought a Suburban.
    Mom to 2 adults and 2 little kids.
    Tall 8 year old in Incognito; Petite 3 year old RF in CA65

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