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Discussion Starter #1
I am on the dealers list for a 2002 Odyssey. Now that I am going to have a vehicle that has both tether and LATCH types of anchor systems available, I have a few questions about my understanding of what’s out there.

The tether anchor is an additional safety system that keeps the top of the seat back from moving forward during a crash, thereby reducing strain on the child’s neck? If your car seat is pre-tether (too old), you may be able to get one from its manufacturer? Installing it is generally a DIY job? If your car is pre-tether, you may be able to get the anchor points installed by the dealer? This is probably not a DIY job?

The LATCH anchor system came about as an attempt to simplify car seat installation by making it the single, universal way to install any seat? LATCH replaces the use of your cars seat belts and is used in conjunction with tether? There are no pre-LATCH car seats, but there are plenty of pre-LATCH cars?

Am I OK so far?

Last time I looked into car seats was about 3 years ago, shortly after we found we were pregnant with our second child. I checked recalls on our cars, car seats, strollers, etc. and fixed anything that needed fixing. At that point I believe that car seat tethers were fairly new and LATCH was on the horizon about a year or more away. As neither of our cars (’86 Civic, ’90 4Runner) have either type of attach points (hell, the Civic doesn’t even have rear shoulder belts) and all of our car seats are from ’96-’97 pre-tether era, I looked for another solution to my safety concerns.

One day, while in Toys-R-Us, I found a device that made moving our convertible car seats around a little easier and made their installation extremely secure. Check out the product at this web site called the Mighty-Tite: http://www.mighty-tite.com/index.html. Using it allows me to make a rather loose-strapped connection at the latch plate/belt buckle, easily threading the locking clip in place, then attach this device to the other side of the seat on the belt and synch the whole thing down very securely. It's like a tiny come-along. It seems well made of heavy materials, is easy enough to use, and has the instructions attached to it. Once I have secured the seat using the mighty-tite there is NO play in ANY direction and rocking the car seat rocks the entire car.

Has anyone else, especially Caviler, heard of or tried this, or another like, device? With the final installation being so tight I wonder if I still need to tether and LATCH solutions for our older car seats?

PS. I don’t work/endorse/solicit for anyone (stay at home dad), except maybe my wife and children.
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’90 4Runner – great, but inadequate for a family of 5
’86 Civic – bye, bye my little old friend
’02 GG Odyssey EXL-RES w/all the fixings – hello, my new best friend

tnuckels
 

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I have seen the mighty tite that you are discussing. But I thought the mighty-tite was a "replacement" to the locking clip.

From what I can tell, you do not need a locking clip with the odyssey.

I first installed our car seat with a locking clip. Reread the owners manual, and secured the car seat better without the clip.

However, after reading this forum, I went and bought the Century EZ Latch Retrofit for my Century Smartmove carseat. And it is AWESOME!!

I can honestly say that the Odyssey has one of the easiest car seat installations with the seat belt. But the latch system is even easier!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply, m_teresa_v.

That’s what I thought initially when I bought the mighty-tite (MT), that it replaced the locking clip, the bugaboo of installing and/or moving our car seats around, IMHO.

I’ve never enjoyed installing a car seat because I’m always trying to get a really tight fit and the point where you install the locking clip makes or breaks that fit. But, with the shortage of seat belt, angles of the belt, point where it bends into the car seat frame, etc. to contend with, this can be a very difficult and time consuming process. It usually takes me 5-10 minutes, several curse words, and a fair bit of sweat before I’m satisfied with having a little bit of play in the installation.

When I first installed the MT I did not put the locking clip in place. When ratcheting the seatbelt around the MT’s spindle, more and more belt was fed out of the car’s side pillar, through the buckle and latch plate point, back through the car seat base, until you fill the limited clearance with wound belt and it jams up, leaving considerably more loose shoulder belt to go.

After reading the instructions (Duh!) carefully, I found that on our 4Runner, with a single lap/shoulder belt, the MT simply takes up the slack between a loosely installed locking clip (now a fixed point on the inside of the car) and the other fixed point where the end of the belt attaches to the car’s frame. Allowing you to make a loosely installed locking clip makes it easy to install or move the seat, for me anyway, and once you crank the MT down it is extremely secure.

As our car seats are pre-tether and pre-LATCH, I’m trying to determine if I understand these newer setups well enough to decide if the MT is as good, or if I need to pursue retrofits?
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’90 4Runner – great, but inadequate for a family of 5
’86 Civic – bye, bye my little old friend
’02 GG Odyssey EXL-RES w/all the fixings – hello, my new best friend
tnuckels
 

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I think I can field your questions:) If not, also see http://www.car-safety.org/latch.html

First, you are correct about tethers. If you have a carseat without a tether, you will have to call the manufacturer to see if one is available. If so, it is usually an easy DIY job to put the tether on the carseat, and instructions are included. Most cars since the 1989 model year can have a tether anchor installed in a pre-existing factory location. Some dealers do it free (GM, Chrysler, Ford), others may charge. Sometimes it's a simple DIY job, other times it may require drilling and might be better left to a dealer. LATCH is supposed to be simple and universal, but it isn't perfected. There are still some incompatibilities. LATCH retrofits exist for some Century carseats. Graco and Evenflo should also have a retrofit for newer seats available soon. LATCH retrofits for cars are generally not available except for soem VW and Audi models.

Newer Civics do have 3 weld nuts in the rear parcel shelf. Yours may be too old, but you might be able to see them from the trunk. If your dealer is clueless, also try Honda at 800-999-1009. I suspect that an '86 would need a custom installation. If they are present, the part # should be 82410-SE3-C01. You may be in luck for your 4Runner. I have no specific information except that most models after 1979 have weld nuts that accept Toyota part 73709-12010, about $10. The locations should be listed in your manual, or you can contact the dealer or Toyota at 800-331-4331. If you have further questions not specific to the Odyssey, I'd be happy to try to field them on the forums at http://www.car-seat.org . If your Civic has no rear shoulder belts and no headrests, there may be some newer carseat options for you as well, especially for children who would otherwise require a booster.

Before using an aftermarket product like the one you mention, I would recommend that you have your carseats inspected by a technician. Hospitals, police and fire stations may have a certified tech, or post your zipcode and I will search for someone in your area. Most carseats can be installed tightly in most vehicles without an aftermarket product. Aftermarket products like this are not regulated by the government and are not tested by carseat manufacturers. While they may or may not work for their designed purpose, they may be adding other risks. For example, it could fly off in a serious crash and leave the seat loose and also become a heavy projectile. It could also be stretching or fraying the seatbelts after repeated use. Technicians, partially for liability reasons, can not recommend any products which are not recommended or tested by the carseat manufacturer. A locking clip, when used properly, is a perfectly acceptable and safe way to install a carseat for some types of seatbelts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Caviller, thank you for your reply. A good deal of what I know about tether & LATCH came from your excellent website and the numerous pointers there. Many thanks for this wealth of information.

I contacted Honda several years ago about installing shoulder belts in the ’86 Civic and was told that there was not sufficient structure in the upper seatback for this to be done properly. Because of this and the relatively few safety features (in comparison with new vehicles) we no longer use the Civic when we have to transport our older child. As we will be parting company with this vehicle when we take delivery on the Odyssey we are not pursuing this issue any more. I will follow up with Toyota as we intend to keep this vehicle for a few more years.

All but one of our car seats are made by Evenflo (On My Way, Ultara V, Medallion V, & Right Fit booster), as Evenflo seemed less prone to recalls at the time we purchased. Since their fairly recent availability here in the states, we’ve switched to buying Britax and we own a Star Riser Comfy (great seat, dopey name) booster. Anyway, I’ve been out to Evenflo’s website and it says that tethers are available for both of the convertible seats we own, but nothing about LATCH at this date.

I understand the reluctance to suggest a product be used in any manner where the exact same setup has not been thoroughly tested. Witness your cautions to Nyvram & Gfxguy on their use of the Century LATCH belts with their Graco & Cosco car seats. More specific to the Mighty-Tite, I am curious if anyone can comment on the wording, government standards referenced, or the testing procedure discussed here: http://www.mighty-tite.com/pages/testing.html. Many thanks for any feedback.
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’90 4Runner – great, but inadequate for a family of 5
’86 Civic – bye, bye my little old friend
’02 GG Odyssey EXL-RES w/all the fixings – hello, my new best friend

tnuckels


[This message has been edited by tnuckels (edited 08-14-2001).]
 

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Evenflo did announce a LATCH retrofit kit at a recent conference. They said it would be compatible with "newer" models. So, I'm pretty sure they will have a retrofit this year, but it's impossible to say if it will work with your particular seats.

There was much interest in the presentation by the Mighty-Tite people at the same conference.

The tests they did are legitimate, and in fact were done at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. That is probably the leading facility for testing, and is well respected. The issue is that FMVSS 213 does not cover aftermarket devices. The government does not have any standards for their regulation or testing. FMVSS 213 applies to child restraints. Basically, they installed their device and their tests showed that the carseat still met the requirements of FMVSS 213. While this is nice, it does not in any way mean that their device is approved, regulated or tested by the government, auto manufacturers or carseat manufacturers.

If I recall, there is a label on the device that says something to the effect that you should install it according to the instructions in the manual for the carseat. Of course, no carseat instructions will include this device as part of an installation. In my opinion, it's a nice way to remove any liability on their part if the device causes an injury.


Before using any aftermarket device, I would again encourage you to have your carseats inspected. Also, call the manufacturer of your carseat and get their input on any specific aftermarket product. You can even call the manufacturer of the product. Ask them for their input as to why neither carseat manufacturers nor certified Child Passenger Safety technicians can (for liability reasons) recommend or install their product. Whatever their answer is, make sure you are comfortable with it.

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 08-14-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Caviller. It's nice to see a few folks over here in Kids & Safety discussing issues a little more weighty than how to turn your van into a Hot Wheels.

I'll be having our seats inspected and make the calls you suggest. I'll post the results, if only for your benefaction. I hope I get an inspector as well versed as yourself to inspect them.

I felt that Mighty-Tite's wording was a bit fuzzy & open ended, allowing, as you cited, wiggle room in the event of future problems. It's a shame that, assuming Mighty-Tite has really done the best job possible, they would cast doubt on their product in order to cover their butts. Such is our lawsuit crazed society.
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’90 4Runner – great, but inadequate for a family of 5
’86 Civic – bye, bye my little old friend
’02 GG Odyssey EX-L-RES w/all the fixings – hello, my new best friend
 

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Try this link, too: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/People/Injury/Childps/CPSFitting/FindFitting.cfm?q_state=&q_zip=35630 . Good luck!

Don't know how far things are from you, but I saw a couple contacts at Decatur General Hospital, and a few at the TN Highway Patrol in Lawrenceburg.

If you go to Huntsville, I suggest this person, as he is listed as an instructor. He also works for Safekids, so I suspect he has a lot of experience:

Alabama's CPSS Mike James
Alabama Safe Kids
2727 Triana Blvd
Huntsville, AL 35805
phone: 256-536-4115
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Dude, are you, like, from the psychic friends network? Guess you “deduced” my zip by checking my profile? OK. What’s my shoe size?

The Huntsville reference sounds great. I feel much better about someone doing the inspection with a few extra credits to their name. The in-laws live there and we visit quite frequently as its only 54.3 miles from where we are. Like I said, we visit a LOT. Good thing I like them and they all seem to like me. Again, thank you.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by tnuckels:
Dude, are you, like, from the psychic friends network? Guess you deduced my zip by checking my profile? OK. Whats my shoe size?

The Huntsville reference sounds great. I feel much better about someone doing the inspection with a few extra credits to their name. The in-laws live there and we visit quite frequently as its only 54.3 miles from where we are. Like I said, we visit a LOT. Good thing I like them and they all seem to like me. Again, thank you.
</font>
Don't tell anyone, but Jim is Ex-Cia and has complete bios on all the members....


I'm happy to do 5 minutes of legwork (fingerwork?) if it increases the chances that someone will get their seats checked:) The USPS, Mapblast and NHTSA sites are very convenient. I use them quite a bit for exactly this reason, especially on the forums where I'm supposed to act like a moderator. Let us know how it goes. There are a few clueless techs out there, but most are competent and helpful, and a number are very knowledgeable. Instructor+Safekids is probably an automatic for the last category.
 

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I dealt with Mike when finding our first Car seat. He is very knowledgeable and helpful. He is (or was) very busy. You should call him before just showing up. He used to schedule his installations/inspections on specific days of the week.

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David
'01 GG EX, Full Nose Mask, Cargo Tray, Splash Guards, Leather Steering Wheel Cover
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Gunznmo. I'll call and/or email Mike prior dropping in for tea. I guess it'd be best to bring all our seats at once, so I'll have to dig out the infant seat out of storage before we can schedule an appointment.
 
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