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Baby Car Seat base install

Old 12-06-2017, 08:58 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 30
Red face Baby Car Seat base install

Hello Gang,

Got a newborn on the way in the next week or so. Due Dec. 16. Having issues with installing the baby car seat base in our '97 Camry LE V6. Did some searching here to no avail. I do recall when our 8 yr-old was younger, I had to "install" vice-grips on the rear left (or right) shoulder strap to keep 'em from loosening and allowing the car seat to flop around. User Manual was not helpful as today's technology isn't considered.

Should I shoot for the rear-middle seat and corresponding seat-belt strap then? Thoughts? Thanks!

Old 12-06-2017, 09:39 PM
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What yr/brand of seat?

If the base is designed for shoulder straps. It may have a slot on each side of the base for the belt.

The belt is draped over the seat base. Then connected to the buckle and slid into the slots.

The belt slack is pulled out as much as possible.

Then a wide clam-shell arm (previously released) is pushed down on the two straps (shoulder/lap). This takes out all the slack and locks the base in.

The arm has a lock to hold it closed.

If no way to take out the belt slack. Might use the center belt which has no lap belt. The base should have slots for the belt.

Current regulations require a baby to face toward the rear of the car. If the base is too old, it may be designed for a forward facing seat installation.

Some bases have a built in level bubble. This level has various lines to determine the correct angle of the base for the age of the child.

If you have the brand name. Can call the companies customer support for guidance, as that's what they do.

Once installed. There may be a maximum side to side movement of the base as specified in the manual.
Old 12-07-2017, 12:42 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 30
Red face Seat Belt

Thanks for the detailed info, toyomoho. You rock. Always have.

The brand new rear-facing seat/base is Graco, "Click Connect". PD213859A. Regardless, someone has had to have had this issue with the rear shoulder straps before with these aging Camrys...where is that info on this site? My searches thus far have been fruitless. GAH!

Anyhow, I'm sure the new base is intended for shoulder straps, as was the Chico model we used 8 years ago. As an aside, it boggles my mind why similar 2009 rear-facing baby-securing model seats/base which worked great then are suddenly obsolete. Gah!! Why? They worked great in this car then, why not now?? SMH.

But the issue here is that the shoulder straps in our '97, either right or left rear config will not tighten permanently unless vice-grips are used above the top stop. Otherwise it doesn't take much for the child seat base to gain slack and wobble at any point in time. Anyone else encountered this issue? If so, how did you solve?
Old 12-07-2017, 01:35 PM
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It can be confusing to install these child seats! However, once understanding the installation process, it is a "snap."

The Graco Click Connect base IS designed for lap belts. When properly installed, the section of the lap belt that goes from the seat base to the inertia reel WILL BE loose.

The seat base does not use the inertia reel of the seat belt system for restraint in any capacity to hold the seat base in place.

The seat base is restrained in the rear vehicle seat by clamping onto the portions of the seat belt that would go over the occupants lap. PLUS a section of the belt that would normally go over the occupants chest.

The seat base clamps onto these two layers of the seat belt, one on top of the other (lap and chest portions).

The base is then restrained at each side. On one side by the chassis mounted end of the belt. On the other by the seat belt latch.

For an example.

Sit in the rear seat and hook up the seat belt.

Press the section of the belt going over the chest down to the section of the belt going over your lap. Try as best as possible to pull out any slack in the lap section by using the chest section of the belt.

Get the vice grips and clamp onto the both belts in the area below your belly button. This being both lap belt and chest sections in this area (one on top of the other).

Then try to move out of the seat, you can't. But the section of lap belt going to the inertia reel will be loose.

The seat base when installed. Should clamp near the same two sections of seat belt as the vice grips did, the lap and chest portions.

Since the belt is restrained at both sides of the seat base (seat belt chassis mount and latch) and clamped with great force in the middle. The base is not going to move.

Are you using the spring loaded arm on the seat base to clamp onto the two sections of the belt? This to take the place of the vice grips used in the above demonstration where you sat in the car?

Plus routing the lap belt under the side hook before it goes to the inertia reel?

For the Graco base.

Properly orient the seat base and level it in the vehicles back seat.

Release the spring loaded arm on the seat base that will clamp down on the belts. This to allow it pop up to the vertical position.

Drape the seat belt over the seat base in the area of where there is a plastic hook (or similar) on each side of the base. This area would be under the spring loaded arm when it is pushed down.

Connect seat belt to the seat belt latch.

Pull out as as much slack as possible from the belt. This pulling being done horizontally on would be the chest belt section of the belt that goes to the inertia reel.

When doing this pulling make sure the two belts are still under the hooks at each side of the base.

Of course, if this section of belt is released, the seat will be loose again.

With the car seat base as snug as possible and being held down into softer vehicle seat. Still pulling on the belt, FORCE the spring loaded arm down onto what is now a double layer of belt until the arm snaps closed.

Grab the base and try to rotate it for excess side movement. The car seat instructions specify the max movement allowed.

The seat base will have labeling stating which end faces the rear of the vehicle seat.

If the base is properly installed. It will be FIRMLY held the seat by being clamped to the double layer of the belt. The remaining belt going to the inertia reel will still be loose however.

As to car seat life times and expiration dates. It appears this is a combination of safety, keeping sales up and lawsuits.

There is apparently no federal time limit on the life of a car seat. Graco imposes its own suggested limit of say 6 years. They apparently really state 10 years is OK based on the life of the materials. They also state technology changes over time render older seats less safe.

Given the possibility of liability (lawsuits), having a manufacturer list some suggested life limit on car seat seems prudent.

Otherwise they could be held liable for not incorporating improvements into the old seat. Even if not found liable, they would still be paying lawyers to defend themselves.

Thus after 6 years (or whatever the specified time is), its buyer use at own risk.

The experts state a seat should be replaced if the car was involved in accident. Seats have materials that crush to absorb the forces of an impact.
Old 12-09-2017, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 30

Thank you for the great info. I'll give it a try!
Old 12-10-2017, 11:52 PM
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