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  1. #1
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    Question Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    Our first baby is due this November, and we purchased a Chicco Keyfit 30 carseat to be installed in my 2015 Prius v (the wagon). The car has latch on the outboard seats, and we can get a super-solid install on those seats w/ either the latch or belt. However, we would prefer to install on the middle seat (no latch, belt required) if it is possible to achieve a safe install there. The problem we have run into is that there is an odd cutout in the seat where the center belt buckle can be stowed. We can get the base nice and tight (2-person job) when we recline the seat a bit, position the base against the bite, and put the seat back up after we've tightened the belt as much as we can. In that position, the leveling feet are planted behind the cutout. The catch is that tugging or bumping the front of the base upwards (not the normal test, I know) can cause the leveling foot to slip into the cutout and the base flips completely out of position.

    Two questions -

    1) We're pretty sure this would be a problem with most infant seat bases, but does anyone know of an infant seat that somehow stays 100% solid in the middle seat despite this cutout?
    2) Would it be safe to use a towel or cut a piece of pool noodle to fill the cutout, assuming testing confirmed it stayed firmly in place?

    I've read here that Chicco doesn't recommend pool noodles to level seats, but this seems like a special case (not supporting the seat or keeping it level, just preventing it from being able to slip out of position after rebounding).

    Worst case scenario, we install the seat on the passenger side where we know it fits well. The car does have side curtain airbags, but we would prefer for her to be positioned away from side impacts if possible.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    Re: Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    OP here (just registered) - here is a pic of the buckle cutout. I'm thinking the elastic could be used to keep the towel/piece of pool noodle in place.


  4. #3
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    You can't use a noodle or towel to fill the space.

    How is the seat not working there? There's more than 1" of movement at the belt path when you install?

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  5. #4
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    Re: Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    Quote Originally Posted by wendytthomas View Post
    You can't use a noodle or towel to fill the space.

    How is the seat not working there? There's more than 1" of movement at the belt path when you install?

    Wendy
    With the leveling foot all the way retracted, we can get it fairly leveled and tight at the belt path as long as it is really pushed against the back of the seat. No side to side or front/back movement at the belt if you pull parallel to the seat. However, this compresses the slight roll between the cutout and the seat bite, so the foot is on a slippery slope towards the cutout. It takes at least a moderate force, but it is possible to lift the front edge of the base up to where the foot slips into the pocket. (This is true both w/ and w/o the seat locked in to the base.) When this happens, the seat ends up completely loose and flopping around, because it takes the tension off the belt. If we were in an accident, I can easily see the seat popping into the cutout from the force of a rebound and being free to jerk/flop around wildly if there is anything but a single impact. This is what concerns us.

    We've also tried installing the seat with the foot purposefully placed into the pocket and tightening it enough that it compresses the other side of the seat and sits tight and level side to side. This either results in the seat being at completely the wrong angle, or, with the foot lowered so it ends up level, the front edge of the base rises up nearly 2" off the seat. I have no idea if that is safe, but either way it would be a very bouncy/springy ride.

    It's too dark for me to get good pictures right now, but I can take some tomorrow if it would be helpful.

  6. #5
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    It sounds like with the foot in is a good install. You can nearly always dislodge a proper install with moderate force to the head. We don't check for movement there. Yes, in a crash it will bounce around. The backseat will compress, both the bottom and back, the front of the carseat will move. That's all normal and expected and not a huge concern as it's how the seat works. All seats will do that in a crash. Crashes are quite violent, moreso than we think.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  7. #6
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    Re: Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    Quote Originally Posted by wendytthomas View Post
    It sounds like with the foot in is a good install. You can nearly always dislodge a proper install with moderate force to the head. We don't check for movement there. Yes, in a crash it will bounce around. The backseat will compress, both the bottom and back, the front of the carseat will move. That's all normal and expected and not a huge concern as it's how the seat works. All seats will do that in a crash. Crashes are quite violent, moreso than we think.

    Wendy
    Thanks. When you say dislodge, do you mean possible to move the seat with force on the head, or possible to pop it loose so it is no longer tight once the force is gone. We're experiencing the latter. By that definition, it doesn't seem possible (or is at least much much harder) to dislodge the latch install on the outboard seats, so I guess the question then is whether there is real benefit to putting her in the middle?

  8. #7
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    Both.

    The middle is 43% safer, assuming you can get a good installation. Have you met with a tech locally? http://cert.safekids.org/find-tech Just put in your city or county and state. Leave everything else blank.

    If you can't get an installation that's correct in the center, the side is safer.

    But it's completely common to be able to move the head of the seat, and cause the installation to suffer if you shove enough. It's especially noticeable with a baseless install of most rear facing only seats.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  9. #8
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    Re: Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    Thanks, Wendy! That makes me feel a lot better. We haven't seen a local tech yet, but it's definitely planned. There are a few places we can go around us, but the appointments aren't the most convenient with our work schedules. It seemed like a prudent first step to run our concerns past this crowd on the hope it could save us some frustration, repeat appointments, etc, if the install just wasn't sounding good. I really appreciate your insight!

  10. #9
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Working around 2015 Prius V middle seat buckle cutout?

    Glad we could help!

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

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