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Hi, soon-to-be first-time mom here and I was wondering what car seats folks had installed in their 4th generation outbacks and specifically:

1) which car seats are installed and are they forward-facing (FF) or rear-facing (RF)?
2) where in the back row are they installed?
3) if installed in the outboard seats, how tall is the driver and/or front passenger?
4) is there any bracing against the seat back for RF seats?
5) are you using LATCH/super LATCH/seat belt?
6) how easy was it to install? did you have to get any special equipment, like extender straps, locking straps, or angle adjusters, to install it properly?

thanks, everyone! (i'll be sure to contribute once i get my car, which won't happen until mid-march... :()
 

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Dad here with a 17 month old. We started with a Graco SnugRide 30 and used that until our daughter was about to grow out of it. That has to be rear facing and we liked having the ability to her out with the seat so she could continue sleeping post trip. It was installed in the center of the rear seat, which is the safest place to put it. Now we have Britax Marathon 70. You have to keep it rear facing until your child is at least 20 lbs and they say the longer the better. We have this one on the passenger's side so someone can sit comfortably behind the driver's seat.

Now the real trick. The Britax Marathon, as with all of the convertible seats, has a strap that comes off the seat back of the baby seat (see pic). When rear facing they say to connect this strap to something on the floor as in option A of the pic. For this I used the provided short adapter strap, took the plastic cap off the seat rail for the passenger's side front seat, and looped the adapter strap around where the seat rail bolts to the car. This ensures in a rear end collision that the seat will not rotate rearward and crush my daughter into the rear seat pad.

Britax.JPG
 

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Dad here with a 17 month old. We started with a Graco SnugRide 30 and used that until our daughter was about to grow out of it. That has to be rear facing and we liked having the ability to her out with the seat so she could continue sleeping post trip. It was installed in the center of the rear seat, which is the safest place to put it. Now we have Britax Marathon 70. You have to keep it rear facing until your child is at least 20 lbs and they say the longer the better. We have this one on the passenger's side so someone can sit comfortably behind the driver's seat.

Now the real trick. The Britax Marathon, as with all of the convertible seats, has a strap that comes off the seat back of the baby seat (see pic). When rear facing they say to connect this strap to something on the floor as in option A of the pic. For this I used the provided short adapter strap, took the plastic cap off the seat rail for the passenger's side front seat, and looped the adapter strap around where the seat rail bolts to the car. This ensures in a rear end collision that the seat will not rotate rearward and crush my daughter into the rear seat pad.

View attachment 26587
Thanks! We have a Chicco Keyfit 30, which we obviously have not had a chance to put into the Outback yet, but we will be posting an update -- hopefully this thread won't get locked or anything by then -- once we do receive the car.

We also have a Diono Radian RXT, which we plan on using once the infant car seat is outgrown, but I am curious whether it will be bracing against the headrests and against the DVD screens. I've read that the Britaxes are a bit wider and sit taller (off the car seat) but that the shells can be a little short (in length) for rear facing for an extended period of time, which is why we opted for the Radian. How much space does the Britax take up behind the passenger's seat (i.e., how short would someone have to be to be able to sit comfortably without pushing their chair back into the child seat)?

I'm hoping this thread will be useful to those getting Outbacks with small children.
 

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We're using a Britax B-SAFE rear facing infant seat.

It fits fine. I'm 6'1" and I could sit in the front seat in front of it and have plenty of room for an all day trip. (Not that we could manage one right now!)

I haven't decided on whether to move it to the middle. Subaru recommends putting car seats in the side seats but the police department, etc.. really recommend putting them in the middle.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We're using a Britax B-SAFE rear facing infant seat.

It fits fine. I'm 6'1" and I could sit in the front seat in front of it and have plenty of room for an all day trip. (Not that we could manage one right now!)

I haven't decided on whether to move it to the middle. Subaru recommends putting car seats in the side seats but the police department, etc.. really recommend putting them in the middle.
I've heard that the Britax B-SAFE base is a little larger/longer than the Chicco base and assumed it wouldn't fit when we selected the Chicco, which does fit into our current vehicles (Accord and Camry), though it's sort of a tight fit in the middle w/o moving either of our seats up. We aren't terribly tall either (5'6" and 5'10"), so we must either be oddly proportioned or just prefer sitting more reclined, OG style. Either way, I was told that the B-SAFE would likely not comfortably fit in our current vehicles from someone who owns one.

Have you attempted a middle-seat install with the B-SAFE? (I'm assuming you're using the belt.) I've read that the middle seat is a bit lumpy, which can make it harder to get a tight install, but that is probably the position we will use with the Chicco.
 

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Thanks! We have a Chicco Keyfit 30, which we obviously have not had a chance to put into the Outback yet, but we will be posting an update -- hopefully this thread won't get locked or anything by then -- once we do receive the car.

We also have a Diono Radian RXT, which we plan on using once the infant car seat is outgrown, but I am curious whether it will be bracing against the headrests and against the DVD screens. I've read that the Britaxes are a bit wider and sit taller (off the car seat) but that the shells can be a little short (in length) for rear facing for an extended period of time, which is why we opted for the Radian. How much space does the Britax take up behind the passenger's seat (i.e., how short would someone have to be to be able to sit comfortably without pushing their chair back into the child seat)?

I'm hoping this thread will be useful to those getting Outbacks with small children.
It fits well but we do have the front passenger's set set back so it's just not touching the baby seat. I am 6'4" tall and can sit in the front passenger's seat with this setup if that's any indication. All baby seats are big and take up too much room but that's how things are now. We specifically got the Britax because it was a little shorter, ensuring I have more room in the front seat. No issues for the little one so far and she's around 25 lbs. We were just talking about switching it around yesterday.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It fits well but we do have the front passenger's set set back so it's just not touching the baby seat. I am 6'4" tall and can sit in the front passenger's seat with this setup if that's any indication. All baby seats are big and take up too much room but that's how things are now. We specifically got the Britax because it was a little shorter, ensuring I have more room in the front seat. No issues for the little one so far and she's around 25 lbs. We were just talking about switching it around yesterday.
Thanks! Was there a reason why you elected the outboard (passenger-side) seat versus the middle?
 

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I used the Chico Keyfit 30 when my son was an infant, it fit in the back and left enough room for me to sit comfortably in front of it on the passenger side. I don't think I would have been comfortable driving, but it was ok to sit. I'm 6'3. My wife had plenty of room.

We have since used a couple of rear facing convertible seats. I'm not sure what the first on was (sorry) but I now have a Safety First Alpha Omega and it fits well. For both of the rear facing convertibles, I have had to roll up a towel and place it under the rear of the seat to get it to fit at a proper angle, but I had to do the same in my Hyundai and my Forester. The manufacturer suggests this method, so I am comfortable with it.

The Safety 1st one doesn't take up as much room as the other while rear facing, but I don't think I could drive comfortabley with either one behind the driver's seat.

The recommendation is now to leave your child rear facing as long as they meet the seat's safety requirements. That's my plan. I don't plan to have another one until mine will be big enough to be forward facing... the rate he's growing it might be sooner than later lol.

As for using a tether while rear facing, both of my sears explicitly state NOT to use the tehter while rear facing, only while forward facing and to attach to the tether anchor on the car. The seat is designed to have some give and bounce up in a crash. The 5 point harness is there to hold them tight in the seat.

Here is a great article I read detailing the benefits and mis-understood facts about rear facing v forward facing.

How long should I keep my child in a rear-facing car seat? | BabyCenter
 

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I've heard that the Britax B-SAFE base is a little larger/longer than the Chicco base and assumed it wouldn't fit when we selected the Chicco, which does fit into our current vehicles (Accord and Camry), though it's sort of a tight fit in the middle w/o moving either of our seats up. We aren't terribly tall either (5'6" and 5'10"), so we must either be oddly proportioned or just prefer sitting more reclined, OG style. Either way, I was told that the B-SAFE would likely not comfortably fit in our current vehicles from someone who owns one.

Have you attempted a middle-seat install with the B-SAFE? (I'm assuming you're using the belt.) I've read that the middle seat is a bit lumpy, which can make it harder to get a tight install, but that is probably the position we will use with the Chicco.
We do sit fairly upright.. we are using the passenger side of the rear seat with the Latch system since that is recommended in the Outback/Legacy Owner's manual. The Subaru manual says the middle seat is not recommended due to the shape of the middle seat, but then goes on to give advice as to how to use it if you want to.

It kind of blows my mind LATCH wasn't properly designed to have middle anchors in all cars.
 

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It kind of blows my mind LATCH wasn't properly designed to have middle anchors in all cars.
The problem is that LATCH uses uniform spacing, so unless you car is wide enough to fit 6 anchors, or be just wide enough so that the middle anchors fit specs, you'd have anchors overlapping anchors, which could be confusing to know which ones to use where. As it is now, it is completely apparent which anchor is to be used for the left and right seat.

All statistics and tests agree seatbelts are just as safe WHEN USED PROPERLY, it's just that not enough people use them properly, so LATCH was invented to make it easier. The rear tether is available for all 3 seating positions, so you don't lose anything there.
 

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When I was a LEO car seat installer, Britax Roundabout was the best seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
When I was a LEO car seat installer, Britax Roundabout was the best seat.
Sorry for my ignorance, but how do you define "best"? My understanding is that most seats have to pass the same safety test requirements here in the US. Are there ones that rate better based on other, elective standards (like in Europe, for instance)? Or do you mean based on ease of installation, etc.? Thanks!
 

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I used the Chico Keyfit 30 when my son was an infant, it fit in the back and left enough room for me to sit comfortably in front of it on the passenger side. I don't think I would have been comfortable driving, but it was ok to sit. I'm 6'3. My wife had plenty of room.

We have since used a couple of rear facing convertible seats. I'm not sure what the first on was (sorry) but I now have a Safety First Alpha Omega and it fits well. For both of the rear facing convertibles, I have had to roll up a towel and place it under the rear of the seat to get it to fit at a proper angle, but I had to do the same in my Hyundai and my Forester. The manufacturer suggests this method, so I am comfortable with it.

The Safety 1st one doesn't take up as much room as the other while rear facing, but I don't think I could drive comfortabley with either one behind the driver's seat.

The recommendation is now to leave your child rear facing as long as they meet the seat's safety requirements. That's my plan. I don't plan to have another one until mine will be big enough to be forward facing... the rate he's growing it might be sooner than later lol.

As for using a tether while rear facing, both of my sears explicitly state NOT to use the tehter while rear facing, only while forward facing and to attach to the tether anchor on the car. The seat is designed to have some give and bounce up in a crash. The 5 point harness is there to hold them tight in the seat.

Here is a great article I read detailing the benefits and mis-understood facts about rear facing v forward facing.

How long should I keep my child in a rear-facing car seat? | BabyCenter

Hm, this is what confuses me a bit. I've read elsewhere that most experts would advise using the tether anchor -- and by that, I mean a belt that wraps around some part of the car frame (by the ground), effectively securing the car seat at another point other than lower/LATCH anchors -- since the benefits outweigh the risks. Is that what you mean by tether anchor?

The Car Seat Lady - The LATCH System
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The problem is that LATCH uses uniform spacing, so unless you car is wide enough to fit 6 anchors, or be just wide enough so that the middle anchors fit specs, you'd have anchors overlapping anchors, which could be confusing to know which ones to use where. As it is now, it is completely apparent which anchor is to be used for the left and right seat.

All statistics and tests agree seatbelts are just as safe WHEN USED PROPERLY, it's just that not enough people use them properly, so LATCH was invented to make it easier. The rear tether is available for all 3 seating positions, so you don't lose anything there.
Do you, or does anyone, know what are the weight limits for LATCH on the Outback? I think I remember reading that the limit included the weight of the car seat. Unfortunately, our convertible seat will be 25 lbs.

My issue is that the Diono Radian RXT comes with Super LATCH, allowing you to restrain a child up to 80 lbs so long as the vehicle was manufactured after September 2005, according to their manual. However, I came across this bit of news (link below), which, in my mind, would make the benefits of the Super LATCH obsolete if Subaru says the LATCH weight rating is less than 80 lbs, which I think it is.

Car Seat LATCH Rules Change in 2014: anchors could fail
 

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Sorry for my ignorance, but how do you define "best"? My understanding is that most seats have to pass the same safety test requirements here in the US. Are there ones that rate better based on other, elective standards (like in European, for instance)? Or do you mean based on ease of installation, etc.? Thanks!
Best in terms of quality, ease of installation and ease of use. Best in the opinion of car seat installation professionals I was working with.
My knowledge is about 10 yrs old so there might be better stuff out there now. But 10 years ago, Britax was the gold standard.
BTW, no seat is safe unless it is installed properly.
 

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Subaru Outback 2011:
Twins....
Two Chicco Keyfit 30's (left and right). Using the latch system, very easy, rear facing. I'm 5'11" and my wife is 5' 4", we could still drive with the seat in the proper position. We NOW have two Britax BOULEVARD 70-G3, we did have them rear facing from 1-2 years-old. Again, we could put the front seats in the proper positions for us. Then, we just flipped them forward facing and again, there is even more room between the front seats and rear car seats. We used Latch for both configurations. Also, my wife can sit between both kids in their Britax seats. No bracing needed to get the proper fit either. Easy to install too. Good luck!
 

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Hi, soon-to-be first-time mom here and I was wondering what car seats folks had installed in their 4th generation outbacks and specifically:

1) which car seats are installed and are they forward-facing (FF) or rear-facing (RF)?
2) where in the back row are they installed?
3) if installed in the outboard seats, how tall is the driver and/or front passenger?
4) is there any bracing against the seat back for RF seats?
5) are you using LATCH/super LATCH/seat belt?
6) how easy was it to install? did you have to get any special equipment, like extender straps, locking straps, or angle adjusters, to install it properly?

thanks, everyone! (i'll be sure to contribute once i get my car, which won't happen until mid-march... :()
7 week old baby girl...

1) Graco Snugride 30
2) Center seat
3) n/a
4) n/a
5) Seat belt (as stated, LATCH cannot be used in the center). I actually prefer the seat belt to LATCH.
6) No special installation accessories needed.

I actually have the Snugride 35 base in my car, which is a little nicer than the one that came with the seat. It has a way to lock the seat belt in place and a knob to adjust the angle. The included Snugride 30 base (in my wife's car) has to use the car's seat belt locking mechanism (where you have to pull it all the way out until it clicks upon retracting - apparently all cars do this). The angle is adjustable on the SR30 base, but it only has 3 positions instead of an infinite knob adjuster. The SR30 bas has a built-in level, while the SR35 base does not. A level is not necessary as long as you learn how to eyeball it correctly.

When it's time to move up to a convertible, I don't know what to get yet.

I would definitely recommend having your seat inspected by a pro. They do not advise the use of add-ons (baby inserts, locking straps, etc). We had Children's Hospital do it, but your local FD or PD might be able to help.

Also, some good reading here: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/87-new-member-user-look-here/26621-baby-infant-toddler-seats.html
 

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Discussion Starter #18
7 week old baby girl...

1) Graco Snugride 30
2) Center seat
3) n/a
4) n/a
5) Seat belt (as stated, LATCH cannot be used in the center). I actually prefer the seat belt to LATCH.
6) No special installation accessories needed.

I would definitely recommend having your seat inspected by a pro. They do not advise the use of add-ons (baby inserts, locking straps, etc). We had Children's Hospital do it, but your local FD or PD might be able to help.

Also, some good reading here: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/87-new-member-user-look-here/26621-baby-infant-toddler-seats.html
We actually did have a certified installer (at a local FD) put in our car seat (the Chicco) -- this after my husband attempted it after reading through the manual -- and we both thought that my husband's install was more secure (and at a better angle). He, the installer, had also not really heard of Diono/Sunshine Kids and seemed to prefer outboard seat installation, though it seems that the mantra is that the middle seat is the safest. :confused:

Also, congrats on your new addition! Almost over the 2 month hump... ;)
 

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We use two Graco Argos 70's in both our Outback & WRX. Our kids 1) 4-yrs and 2) 18-mos like them and seem to be very comfortable in them. There are tons of other seats for either more money or less out there, these Graco's are on the pricey side at $199 ea. But they seemed to be built extreamly well and are comfortable for our kids, plus easy to load them in & out of.

1) which car seats are installed and are they forward-facing (FF) or rear-facing (RF)?

Me: Graco Argos 70, (FF)

2) where in the back row are they installed?

Me: Outboard positions

3) if installed in the outboard seats, how tall is the driver and/or front passenger?

Me: I'm 5'6" my wife is 5'4"

4) is there any bracing against the seat back for RF seats?

Me: If you mean LATCH system yes, I'm somewhat confused what you are asking here exactly??

5) are you using LATCH/super LATCH/seat belt?

Me: Using the LATCH points that come with the car, but my wife runs the seat belt through the car seat as well for extra protection. She is a Firefighter so shes a bit overboard on safety at times.

6) how easy was it to install? did you have to get any special equipment, like extender straps, locking straps, or angle adjusters, to install it properly?

Me: Pretty straight forward, probably took 10-20 minutes tops each seat
 

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Discussion Starter #20
We use two Graco Argos 70's in both our Outback & WRX. Our kids 1) 4-yrs and 2) 18-mos like them and seem to be very comfortable in them. There are tons of other seats for either more money or less out there, these Graco's are on the pricey side at $199 ea. But they seemed to be built extreamly well and are comfortable for our kids, plus easy to load them in & out of.

1) which car seats are installed and are they forward-facing (FF) or rear-facing (RF)?

Me: Graco Argos 70, (FF)

2) where in the back row are they installed?

Me: Outboard positions

3) if installed in the outboard seats, how tall is the driver and/or front passenger?

Me: I'm 5'6" my wife is 5'4"

4) is there any bracing against the seat back for RF seats?

Me: If you mean LATCH system yes, I'm somewhat confused what you are asking here exactly??

5) are you using LATCH/super LATCH/seat belt?

Me: Using the LATCH points that come with the car, but my wife runs the seat belt through the car seat as well for extra protection. She is a Firefighter so shes a bit overboard on safety at times.

6) how easy was it to install? did you have to get any special equipment, like extender straps, locking straps, or angle adjusters, to install it properly?

Me: Pretty straight forward, probably took 10-20 minutes tops each seat
Sorry for the confusion. I was wondering if anyone's car seat was actually bracing/leaning against the back of the driver or front passenger's seat back/head rest. I think this varies from car manufacturer to car manufacturer. (I don't know what Subaru's position is on this.) I'm also not certain if anyone would intentionally brace the car seat against the seat back, when not prohibited, or avoid this to ensure a safer seat in the instance of a crash.

Also, RE: #5) I was wondering why more people don't do this.
 
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