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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Question Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    We're being picked up tonight in a pick-up truck with a back row. My son's carseat is a SK Radian which is tall and requires 45 degree recline which may not allow RF in the back seat. The front seat has one of those autosensor airbag things that deactivates the airbag for certain weights.

    My son weighs about 23lbs and the seat is about 20 lbs, so 43 total. He's 19 months old and has never been FF.

    We're in a town that the top speed on the one paved road is 35MPH. I've seen people go as fast as 40.

    So, is it better to use the back seat in FF position, or put him RF in the front seat?

    And, if I FF him, do I need to worry about the safestop feature of his carseat if I can tether him, or don't worry about tethering since he's so light still and needs the extra excursion?

    What would you do?

    (Please answer even if you get this after tonight, and include whether or not you're a tech.)

    Stephanie

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member 3acorns4Christy's Avatar
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    Could you try it RF in the back seat?

    My husbands truck is a Dodge Dakota Quad cab and can fit 2MA's Rf and possibly even a puzzled in infant seat. Will have to try when our new MA comes in.

    Joel - 9y nbb Pia - 6y maestro
    Henry 3y, nautilus

  4. #3
    Senior Community Member 3acorns4Christy's Avatar
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    Oh and I would try it RF in the backseat (may surprise you). If not and there is not an off button for the airbag but like in my dh's truck there is a light that says if it's on or not, I would install RF in front seat put your son in, if the light comes on and says the airbag is turned off then I would keep it that way. If not I would put him FF in the back seat.

    I am not a tech.

    Joel - 9y nbb Pia - 6y maestro
    Henry 3y, nautilus

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I plan on trying RF in back seat first, since it is the safest of all possibles. But I don't know for sure what kind of truck it is, and whether it will work without the foot being removed, which technically is a "no-no", even though it was originally tested without it.

    Stephanie
    Last edited by RearFacingAdvocate; 09-08-2007 at 08:13 PM. Reason: to clarify

  6. #5
    CPS Technician
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I have a Toyota SUV and there is a lengthy section in the owners manual about using the front seat, exactly what you need to do to keep the airbag off. However those instructions are to turn off the airbag for a FF seat, it says to NEVER put a rearfacing seat in front of an airbag because even when the light says "off" the airbag could still possibly deploy. I would NEVER trust one that uses the weight sensor because the load (the carseat) can shift and turn it back 'on'. I have one in my pickup truck that you turn on and off with the key, I trust that a little more but still don't really trust it enough a FF seat there, but probably not a RF seat. I *think* most trucks have the airbag shut off that works with the key, not the sensor. I only have Britax seats but all of mine fit in the center RF, the top sticks up between the two front seats.

  7. #6
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I agree, NEVER trust the sensor. DO NOT put a child forward facing in front of an air bag that hasn't actually been deactivated!
    "If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it." Severn Suzuki, age 12

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I'm not a tech, but I would have to agree with northriver. My light goes on and off all the time. I would think that a carseat would probably be big enough to trigger the airbag to come on, as sometimes by diaperbag triggers it. I know RF is best, but if you can't get RF in the back, I would opt for FF in the back. I'm glad you asked the question though; I'm curious to hear what the techs have to say. Good luck!

  9. #8
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I think you might be surprised about it fitting rf'ing in the back seat.

    Given the 2 options though, and your ds's age and size, I would choose ff'ing in the back row, tethered with the safe-stop.

    I am not at all comfortable with having a rf'ing car seat in front of an airbag when there is a back row - especially if it's a sensor and not a manual on/off switch. I think the benefits of rf'ing would be erased with the risk of an airbag deploying.

    I would definitely top tether the car seat and use the safe stop. Smaller kids benefit from the decreased head excursion, and the safe stop provides that extra bit of give to allow more gradual deceleration in the event of a crash.

    So given those options, and assuming the seat won't fit rf'ing in the back row with the boot on, I would install the seat ff'ing, middle of the back row, top tethered and using the safe stop. I also wouldn't install it without the boot. Even if we know it was tested without it and passed, I'm not comfortable going against the manual which clearly states the boot must be used for all rf'ing installations.

    (I'm a tech.)
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


  10. #9
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I'm not a tech, but i wouldnt' put him in the front seat RFing if you have the option of putting him in the back. THe back seat is the safest, and who knows that senor may fail to detect correctly in an accident. KWIM. If it were me, i'd put him FF in the back seat, since this is not an everyday thing, but just a one time deal, for this trip. ANd then turn him back around in your primary vehicle.

    Beth

  11. #10
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    Quote Originally Posted by Northriver View Post
    I *think* most trucks have the airbag shut off that works with the key, not the sensor. .

    To my knowledge the only trucks that have the turn off switch that uses the vehicle's key are regular cab trucks or those without a full backseat (the slightly extended cabs with the little jump seats in the back that fold up into the back of the truck when not in use) If there is a back seat available most trucks will not have a shut off for hte passenger side air bags, or they have the sensor, but like you I would not trust those sensors.
    Beth

  12. #11
    CPS Technician CDNTech's Avatar
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I agree with everything Trudy (snowbird) said.

    Try RFing in the truck first, center position is your best bet because the seat can stick up between the front seats.

    If that does not work, then FFing in the back seat with the Safestop and tethered.

    I am a tech... it's also in my siggy.
    Jen, Former CDN CRS Tech
    DS1 /02, Seatbelt in the driver's seat now!
    DS2 /05, Seatbelt

    DS3 /12, Britax Frontier/Parkway SG
    DD1 /15, Rfing Peg PVC

  13. #12
    CPS Technician crunchierthanthou's Avatar
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I'm a tech. It says so by my avatar.

    I would try rf in the center first. Make sure you have a good place to tether it because you don't want him to rebound into the back window.

    If that doesn't work, I'd do ff in the back seat. Is ff tethering an option in the back seat?Like others have mentioned, I'd never put a rf child directly in front of an airbag that is activated by a sensor. I'm not even sure I'd trust the kind with a key.

  14. #13
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    Oops, sorry to assume, both of our trucks are Fords with the mini back seats, and they both have the key shut off.

    How did it go, OP? Did your seat fit RF in the back?

  15. #14
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    Quote Originally Posted by Northriver View Post
    Oops, sorry to assume, both of our trucks are Fords with the mini back seats, and they both have the key shut off.

    How did it go, OP? Did your seat fit RF in the back?
    Oh dont' worry about that, i assume WAAYYYY to much LOL. with trucks like that they do have the shut off switch. But i think a few years ago, "they" passed a law that said if there was a back seat available then teh passenger side airbag would no longer be allowed to come with the shut off switch. That's when sensors came into to play.

    Beth

  16. #15
    Moderator - CPS Technician safeinthecar's Avatar
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    Quote Originally Posted by aidensmom02 View Post
    I agree with everything Trudy (snowbird) said.

    Try RFing in the truck first, center position is your best bet because the seat can stick up between the front seats.

    Also, you might be able to fold down a center console to give more room to RF. Honestly, I don't think you'll have a problem rfing him. We are a very truck crazy family ( me, mom, brother , aunts, cousins, we all drive trucks or SUV as a primary car) and I have put rfing seats in at least 10-15 different trucks. If you can find out what truck it is I can give you a better idea.

    If it doesn't work rfing, them ffing in the rear seat, but beware that the tether anchors can be tricky in trucks, so make sure to check the vehicle manual. You may have fabric loops ( go through one and attach to adjacent one) or the tether hooks could be on the wall of the cab behind the vehicle seat. (you may or may not be able to lock the seat back in place on top of the big Radian tether adjuster. I can in my mom's truck, but not in my brother's)

    Don't forget to adjust harness height if you turn him.

    Kimberly CPST

  17. #16
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    Luckily it did fit RF in the middle. Only the Radian would have done it at such an angle and only because the center part of the front seat folded down. The seat barely fit between the two front seats (an inch wider and it wouldn't have). It only took about 2 minutes to get a rock solid install and most of the time was from trying to fish the belt through the belt path. I didn't work on a tether spot as we were in a hurry and I left the tether connector loop thing up in the apartment. He's still short enough that it didn't look like he could possibly hit the rear windsheild, but next time I"ll try to tether. I LOVE my Radian. My husband and I (he's big and I'm 5 1/2 months pregnant) fit comfortably on either side of him.

    I want to continue the thread becuase we may face this again. We are in Bethel, AK for 3 months with no vehicle, so everywhere we go by car is in someone else's vehicle.

    So, from what I'm gathering, the RISK of accidental deployment of the airbag outweighs the benifits of RF???? What if he was under 1 year or under 20 lbs? Would the force of an accidental airbag deployment be worse than the strain on the neck of a smaller/younger child? I've watched the RF vs FF crash videos, and the FF tests make me want to hurl.

    What if it did have an on/off key, or even didn't have an airbag at all in the front? Is the front seat, even if it's the only way to keep a child RF, still worse than FF in the back? (I mean, what if he gets sick and looses a couple lbs?)

    Also, would RF tethering reduce the risk/degree of injury at all if an airback did deploy? Or is the force of the airbag way too strong?

    I know if it was a regular vehicle I was dealing with, I would have to switch carseats or vehicles if I couldn't get a RF in the back. It does rest my mind a little that accidents are almost non-existant in this town and there is only one major road with a low speed limit. No freeways even exist and the side roads are too bumpy/dusty to go very fast.

    Oh, and why is FF with an airbag so dangerous? I thought that the huge no-no was RF becuase it slams the back of the seat and creates a bad whiplash result. I know FF in the rear seat is WAY safer than the front, but what if the front was the only option for whatever reason, and there was a sensor of off switch?

    Sorry so many questions. I really don't understand the airbag thing that well.

    Stephanie

  18. #17
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    [/B]
    Quote Originally Posted by safeinthecar@mac.com View Post
    Don't forget to adjust harness height if you turn him.

    Kimberly CPST
    THankfully, at least for now, he is literally right AT the harness slots he is on. I would have to double check if I have to FF him, since installs can very where their shoulders hit. I REALLY hope I don't have to FF him, though, for any reason while he is still so young and lightweight. So far, we've made it RF in all 8 vehicles I've had to install it in.

    Stephanie
    Last edited by RearFacingAdvocate; 09-09-2007 at 02:50 AM. Reason: Fix number of vehicles I've used it in. I forgot the airport shuttle van.

  19. #18
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I'll try to answer some of your questions. on getting it installed in the back, and for asking questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by RearFacingAdvocate View Post
    So, from what I'm gathering, the RISK of accidental deployment of the airbag outweighs the benifits of RF???? What if he was under 1 year or under 20 lbs? Would the force of an accidental airbag deployment be worse than the strain on the neck of a smaller/younger child? I've watched the RF vs FF crash videos, and the FF tests make me want to hurl.
    Have you seen the RF + airbag videos? They're much, much worse.


    Also, would RF tethering reduce the risk/degree of injury at all if an airback did deploy? Or is the force of the airbag way too strong?
    It's way too strong. The tether would do little or nothing.

    Oh, and why is FF with an airbag so dangerous? I thought that the huge no-no was RF becuase it slams the back of the seat and creates a bad whiplash result. I know FF in the rear seat is WAY safer than the front, but what if the front was the only option for whatever reason, and there was a sensor of off switch?
    FF children in front of an airbag is dangerous because they're usually not properly restrained, and are thus much more likely to be too close to the airbag when it deploys. A FF child in a harnessed seat, with the seat as far back as it can go, is an acceptable situation if the back seat isn't an option.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  20. #19
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    Quote Originally Posted by Defrost View Post
    Have you seen the RF + airbag videos? They're much, much worse.

    .

    No, I haven't. Do you have a link?

  21. #20
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: Truck question WWYD?--FF rear-bench seat or RF front seat with Auto Airbag Sensor??

    I have one link bookmarked from a NHTSA page about various crash tests with improperly restrained occupants, but the NHTSA site won't load the video for me at the moment due to an apparent problem at their server.

    Here's an excerpt from the above page, with the link to the RF infant seat in front of a frontal airbag crash test video, and a description of what happens (major yikes to watch when the link loads properly, the description doesn't do it full justice):

    "Clip #4: This video clip is shown courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The test vehicle is crashed head-on into a flat barrier at 35 miles per hour. An infant-sized crash dummy is restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat. The seat is placed in the vehicle in front of the passenger airbag.

    When the test vehicle crashes, the airbag deploys. The airbag crushes the child safety seat and the infant dummy against the seat back. The infant dummy's head is slammed into the seat back. The airbag pushes the rear-facing child safety seat into an upright position.

    The test crash is shown once in real-time and three times in slow motion at progressively closer angles."
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

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