It’s one of the most common problems really when we check car seats or help parents find car seats for their cars.
Why? Well because of many reasons, but most common are these:
- many cars have front seat rails that are extremely close to the floor
- some rails have plastic coverings – but don’t worry because you can in most cases remove them!
- some cars have front seats with no slit in the front seat back – but don’t worry! Chances are you can go through the rail. ;)
So if you do have a car where you find these things to be a problem – I’m happy to tell you that I full heartedly believe I have solved your problem. That is unless you have a converted camper van from nineteenhundredandbygones. I will admit that in some cases it just isn’t possible to tether – but even in those cases, where there is a will – there is a way.
Luckily those cases are few and very very far between. So let’s focus mostly on your everyday car in this post!
*insert high street retailer* told me it’s not possible!
Sadly this is a common problem – and it’s a very big one, because if this happens to you – chances are that you are very likely to leave the shop with a forward facing car seat. Even with today’s recommendations being vastly better than only a few years ago – high street retailers in general (I want to point out that it’s not ALL of them!
There are a few good ones! But sadly they are indeed few…) tend to show you forward-facing car seats, and they tend to not really “SELL” you a rear facing one. They also in my experience have large issues picturing older rear-facing children – which is a major problem…
The thing is that there are a very few *high street* retailers who actually sell ERF seats that install with tethers. So unless the person has done some research on their own, chances are they have not got much clue about lower tethers or what they are.
This isn’t so much the person’s fault – as it is the actual shop’s fault. It is after all the shop’s job to make sure that their car seat fitters actually get the proper training. But I feel the ‘trained fitter’ really need to do their own research and keep up to date – they are, after all, selling car seats!
I do tend to go on a bit of a rant here, sorry! So let’s just get back to tethers – and how you can fit them in – as I said – almost any car on the market.
There are different ways
Yes, there are. Here are all the ways to do it:
- Lower anchor points already located in your vehicle
Volvo, for example, tend to have them already! If you do not have them, you can buy them. And you simply use a ‘ 12 point Torx’ to loosen the screw and push the tether under – then screw it down again. Make sure you only screw with hand force – any more and you risk blunting the screw, which is not good.
- You can use the bar under the seat
Though be aware that in some vehicles there is wiring going there, around or very close to this bar – which makes it unsuitable. Speak to another ERF specialist or email me if you think your car has this.
- Go through the slit in the front seat.
- Go through the rail
A nice visual to show you what I mean, note the “good to have” helpers on the left top image.
Installing attachment loops
As you can see – there are a fair few options. In some cars, the rails could be quite close to the floor – and maybe you don’t have any of the aftermarket anchor points you can buy. In those cases, many believe they still can’t get under the rail…but by now I’m pretty sure you know I’ve got another trick up the sleeve…
I’m happy to show you this nifty trick my good friend and fellow car seat expert Ron is doing in this video:
Good thing most of us women have a bra wire hehe. So make sure you nick an old one before you throw away the bra! hehe
If you are in Ireland please check him and his team out at their RSA ‘Check it fits’ events! For free car seat checks all over the country!
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Therese has completed the ‘Advanced Child Car Seat Training Course’ at TRL (Transport Research Lab) and is a CPD accredited car seat expert. She blogs about in-car safety, car seats, tips, reviews, giveaways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breastfeeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.