What is top tethers?


New member
What is top tethers & more carseat?? New Questions??

Okay see some stuff on installing a top tether. We have a 12 passenger van. And well lots of carseats. lol We have soon to be 9 children. We had them install ancors under the seats where they use to all go. But they got lazy and only installed so many of them. RRGGh, this was years ago. Very frustrating.

Now we are replacing seats - outdated and buying some TRue Fits -ect. Can you tether them to an ancor off to the side. like if the seat is belted into the middle seat can the tether angle off to the side to where the ancor is on the outer side. The reason I can't actually put the seat there is because I need my bigger guys that are in the highback boosters to have the shoulder belts. So no option there.

No i see something about top tethers. Is that putter the metal ancor on the roof. And how do you know if they put it in the right spot Can a 1997 12 passenger Savana have tether on the roof. This would be nice. Can all car seats be top tethered?

Thanks Shannon
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Ambassador - CPS Technician
Hi there. :)

Top tethers vary in position depending on the vehicle. Some are in the roof, others in the floor, some on the seat back. I'm sorry I don't know where yours should be, but someone on here who has a LATCH manual (a guide that lists where these things should be for individual vehicle models) should be able to tell you whether what you have is right, and whether and where you can have more added.

Unfortunately, you need to tether each seat to the appropriate anchor - so you can't attach the tether to the side for a carseat that's installed in the centre. Also, here in Canada, it's required that all forward-facing (FF) carseats be tethered. A good solution (with a huge increase in safety) to limited tethers is rear-facing as many of your children as possible. Rear-facing (RF) seats don't require tethers :thumbsup: (though some models have it as an option.) There are now seats available in Canada that can RF children up to 40lbs. RF provides a 500% increase in safety. :thumbsup:

If you want to provide us with more information, we can offer more suggestions. Things that we'd need to know are: Ages, weights and torso heights of your children (torso is measured sitting, from bum to shoulder; ) what seats you currently have; where you currently have tethers installed; and what kind of budget you have for new seats.

I hope that gives you some help! :)


New member
See that is the trouble, I am rear facing the children I can, but the still leaves 2 children that have to be ff but in harness and they have to go in the middles because all the older children have to go on the outside in their Britax Boosters that are coming.

Ther is another post where I tell a little about what seat we are getting and which ones we hope to get next as funds provide. As it is funds where not really available for what we got - they are on credit card. Which is not not not what we wanted but our seats are outdated and sooo the story goes.

My two that are going to go into True fits - forward facing are almost 5 years(in Jan) and 6.5. :O) They are 35 pounds and 36 pounds. With torso of 15 to 16. :O)

My 16 month old is curently rf in a marathon.

And my 3 year old is ff(do not want him to be - we do want to move him back to rf as soon as we can get another carseat fund wise) He is on an older style evenflow that outdates this dec. But the other two kids are in ones that were long before outdated so I have to move them for sure. He is about 29 to 30 pounds.

Baby will go into a bucket seat.

And of course all the olders will be in the boosters.


Carseat Crankypants
I don't think you and your kids are going to like this suggestion (I wouldn't either, to be honest), but since you are in Canada you cannot use forward-facing seats without tethers. How about getting Radians instead of TrueFits and RFing the 3, 5, and 6yos?

Please describe in detail the seating positions in the van -- which have tethers, which have shoulder belts, etc. And list your kids ages and sizes.


New member
For one we actually can not affor the radians across all the kiddos. They are an extra $100 just for the basic one not the upper ones here. And we just spent $713.80 for the 4 that are on their way and we still need to get 3 more.

First off all our children are smaller and seat belts are attached almost right up at roof level so all kids must be in a booster and such.

Right now the back bench has a graco backless booster on the one side(for my almost 13 yr old(this will be replaced with a Britax Parkway SG when we have some more funds) then next to it is my almost 5 yr old in an outdated century that is being replaced with a Ture Fit that is on it's way) and then next to him is my 10 yr old in a graco booster with a back that is being replace with a Britax Parkway Sg that is on its way.

Next bench. At the moment the one outside is empty as the belt needs to be replaced but will not be empty for long because baby will arrive and then all seats will be full. (so a big kid will move into this one as well - once seat belt is replaced) Next to that is my 6.5 yr old in an outdate century that is being replaced with a True Fit that is on its way) and next to her is my 8 yr old in a graco booster with a back that is being replaced with a britax parkway Sg that is on its way.

Okay now front bench - right now the outside has my 3 yr old in a ff Evenflow that will outdate in Dec. and next to him is my 16 month old in a rf Marathon, and then next to him on the other outside is my almost 12 year old in a backless graco that will be replaced with a Britax parkway Sg when funds are available. (he is the one that will move back to the middle bench porbably one seat belt is replaced - so baby when born can come up to his bench and be close to us.) :O)


Carseat Crankypants
Do the benches have high backs or headrests? 10yos and 13yos generally do not need high-backed boosters if there is adequate vehicle head support -- that could save you some money there.

I suggest you contact a dealer and find out where anchors can be installed. You are entitled to one free anchor and it seems as if you already have that, so be prepared to pay if additional anchors can be installed.


New member
Can you tell us what kind of seatbelts are in each position?

For example (and this is hypothetical, I don't know what you have):

2nd row: lap/shoulder passenger outboard, lap only center, l/s driver outboard

3rd row: etc

4th row:

1st row is the driver and front seat passenger....

We need to know where you have lap-only belts (if any), because boosters can't go in those positions EVER.

Oy. This might take a while, LOL!

ETA: You could help further by telling us what kind of seat (headrest/no headrest) is in each position too.


New member
Oh wanted to say I know they need to be tethered and hubby has them tethered and tight(we always make sure they are tethered) - they do not move but it is just that the tether is angled a little bit to the side where the ancor is on the position of the outside seatbelts.

Now from my understanding the Marathon says you can do that - like when rear facing it attaches to the leg of the front captains chair.

Again our chairs are not moving anywhere just not tethered directly underneath the chair.

Really people always find us amazing that we even have all our kids in car seats still -- right up to the oldest. and now we are trying to update and it was big big to spend what we did already. The $713 for the seats that are on the way and we need 3 more seats yet. And our baby bucket will need replacing next year this time. Before another baby and of course that also means more funds into a bigger van as well. A 15 passenger. :eek:)
Kids have laughed and parents have given us weird eyes so please understand that wow we have done our very best to carseat all our children and it is important and we have spent a lot.

I just think we should not have such a hard time getting ancors put in. Frustrating with lazt dealers.


New member
Sorry I thought when I explained where the kids with boosters that you would know I meant they had shoulder belts - that kind of explained it. Made an absumtion. Sorry. So that is why I have all the booster on the outside, I know they can not go without shoulder belts. :O)

Okay so the 3 benches the children are in. The outsides on each side have the shoulder belts. All center belts are lap belts.

Are van will be totally full when baby arrives.

There is tecnically 4 seatbelts in the back with 2 lap belts in the centre but with carseat there is no use with 4 seat belts just 3 belts like the other two benches. :O)


New member
I do not think they even knew they where they were suppose to put them ---- they were just putting them on the outside locations on the solid metal leg part of the van and then just stopped and did not even put on each leg part. And handed us back the extra ancors. So not sure. But even if that is the case we still putting our children in carseat and want them tethered.


New member
Oh and yes luckly at this point our old 97 van has head rests on all the outside locations with the shoulder belts -- I remember when we bought the can that was sooooooo exciting to me. Very very very hard to find in the big passenger vans. But once we do go up to a newer van that will have 15 passengers there is no headrests anywhere. Can you believe it. Newer vehicle but they no longer make any headrests for the passenger vans. Sad sad -- what about adults -- just totally does not make sense.


New member
Does your 13 year old not pass the 5 step test? It's very rare for a child that old to need a booster.
I am not sure what the 5 step test is but I doubt it, 64 pounds and about 54 inches. Torso just aover 19.

And like I mentioned the should belts in the 12 passenger are attached very close to the top of the roof so the shoulder belt comes up way to high on them. way to high. it comes across my neck to if I sit back there. Not confy and not safe. So he sits in a booster. And we want to get him one with the safe guard to help with the slipping underneath thing.


Carseat Crankypants
A 13yo who is 64# is not very much at risk for submarining, and as I wrote above, 13yos generally do not need highbacked boosters. If you and he want to have him in a highbacked booster there's nothing wrong with it, but you have mentioned that money is tight, and really, IMO, that's money that could be better spent elsewhere.


New member
He does need to be in a booster no matter what because of the height of the shoulder belt and I like the idea of him having side impact protection since he will have big carseats ride beside him --- so you could imagine on side impact or a roll over especially in a tall big van that if it got hit and sent into a ditch to roll it would not be nice and the seat beside him and the window. He would get sandwhiched.

Besides if you can believe it the the two older children are even willing to actually pool thier very hard earned money they made with combining and such to get themselves two Britax carseats and we pay them back later down the road in like 5 months or more when we can. That is pretty amazing children.

He does not have a big build - - though he is stronger and tougher and has more inderance than all children his age and older that he has been around. But he always gets made fun of because he is so short. I am short, dad is totally average - though he himself was the tinest in his classe all through school - he grew after grade 12 and actually is taller than most of his former class mates are now. lol So our boys will probably grow later as well.

So just with such a big van and the seat belts being so very high and to think what it could do in a roll well I want him protected as well..
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New member
Sorry for a lot of spelling errors and wording in my posts - I hope you can make sense of most of it. I am often typing quickly between getting things done with kids or little one trying to climb up and then send it just because I do want to do my best to figure this out. So please please hang in there with my akward wording at times. My mind gets ahead of my typing. I am excited to figure this out and a bit overwhelmed.

You can see carseats, ancors, and vehicle set ups are not exactly large family friendly and I think that is sad. here we are a large family, loving it and well we are told we can't properly seat your children. Shouldn't that be what a large passenger van is designed for.


Senior Community Member
You can see carseats, ancors, and vehicle set ups are not exactly large family friendly and I think that is sad. here we are a large family, loving it and well we are told we can't properly seat your children. Shouldn't that be what a large passenger van is designed for.
I just wanted to say way to go for making passenger safety such a high priority! :D

And sadly, no, large passenger vans are not really designed for child passenger safety. They have very high rollover rates, low seatbacks, awkwardly fitting seatbelts, etc. With large families, though, they are sometimes the only option. You just make the best out of what you have and make your van the safest it can be.

I want to touch on the highback booster vs. no back booster situation for your oldest children. If your van is like the 12 passenger vans I've seen, the seatbacks are not high enough to support a no back booster. That and like you've said, the high back boosters provide more SIP and if the child still fits, why not use them?


Carseat Crankypants
I do agree that if there is not adequate vehicle support, HBBs are a must. I also agree with "why not?" -- but the OP had said that she was waiting to be able to afford a RFing seat for a 29# 3yo. In this case, the "why not?" was that all things being equal, I'd prefer to see a 3yo RFing than a 13yo in a HBB.

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