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Discussion Starter #1
We're preparing for our new arrival due exactly 1 year and a day (Mar 5th) after we first bought our MDX. However, I noticed that the infant car seat stated that it has the new LATCH system. Does my '02 MDX have the LATCH system so I can install the car seat correctly or do I need to buy another type? BTW, this is our first child and we appreciate all the help that we can get.
 

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Yes, federal law requires LATCH in cars, minivans, and light trucks made on or after 9/1/2002. Thus the 2002/2003 MDX's have LATCH (just two positions, in the second row outboard seats).

You can find the LATCH anchors on your MDX by sticking your hand in the area between the seatback and seat cushion on the second row, on the outboard side. You can attach your seat to those points.

However, some folks prefer to keep a single child in the center, reasoning that that is a safer position from side impacts, and help reduce potential injuries should a seatback collapse in a collision. Please note that some folks do not like the center position because of fears the center armrest may come down in a collision and strike the baby -- that is up to you when you look at how the infant seat is placed relative to the cushion.

If you put the seat in the center, you might be able to use the two inboard LATCH hooks if your attachments go that far. If not, a conventional belt will attach it. A properly-done conventional belt installation is just as secure as a LATCH connection.

Congratulations on the pending addition! Please let us know when you're ready for the next seat, some of us have done a lot with car seats!
 

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I've been using the LATCH to keep the car seat in the center position - and it works great. As long as your car seat is a LATCH that uses a belt (although, this is now only slightly better than a seat belt), you should have no problem mounting it in any of the three seats in the second row.
 

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If your car does not have the LATCH system, don't fret, you can still install ANY LATCH compatiable car seat in any seat just using the traditional seat belt method. Don't worry about which car seat to buy, and even if you don't have LATCH, a quick call to your dealer will probably enable you to have LATCH retro-fitted for your car. Since LATCH wasn't required on cars until after Sept 2002, your car may/may not have it since you picked it up before then. All you need to do is stick your hand in between the seat cushion and back and feel for brackets similiar to the ones located on the back of the seat for the tether anchor. If you feel them, then you have LATCH, if you don't you can use the seatbelt, or have your car retro-fitted.
 

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jelbnl said:
... even if you don't have LATCH, a quick call to your dealer will probably enable you to have LATCH retro-fitted for your car ...
Do Acura dealers actually offer a LATCH retrofit for 2001 MDX's? How much does it cost?

Not all manufacturers offer a LATCH retrofit for their vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks! I found the LATCH hooks. I will let you all know about the installation.
 

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LATCH retrofit

My wife and I ave a baby on the way next month. I called my Acura dealer to inquire about a LATCH retrofit and was informed that there is not one available for a 2001 MDX. Bummer, man...anyone who hears different please let me know. Sometimes dealers are clueless, you know.
 

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Perhaps you could try Acura Client Services? Of course I'm too lazy to call them myself!
 

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No retro-fit

I tried to get the dealer to install the latch on our 2001 - for liability reasons this cannot be done. The latch's anchors are welded onto the frame of the car, which according to my dealer can only be done at the factory. Any after build work would leave dealers liable in case the latch would fail in a crash. I found installing the car seat in the center a necessary pain in the rump. The shoulder strap is totally useless. My suggestion is to get two "c-clips" and just use the lap belt. Hope this helps.
 

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LATCH retrofit

I'm very close to trading the '01 MDX in on an '03 Pilot...just for the LATCH and the significantly lower payment. At this point the extra $5000 for the Acura doesn't make sense...especially when I can't use the latest safety item out there.

Thanks for your input!
 

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Re: LATCH retrofit

shogan said:
I'm very close to trading the '01 MDX in on an '03 Pilot...just for the LATCH and the significantly lower payment. At this point the extra $5000 for the Acura doesn't make sense...especially when I can't use the latest safety item out there.

Thanks for your input!
IMO, I wouldn't trade a car based on the LATCH system. Lower payment? - maybe. As discussed elsewhere, LATCH is not any safer than a correctly installed seat using belts (just be diligent about getting your install checked). Unless you are removing and reinstalling the seat every day or two (which I do not) I cannot see LATCH as a big deal. I have two seats installed in second row (driver side and middle) and I can still access the 3rd row via the fold-down pass. side 2nd row. Thus, I rarely need to remove the seats.
 

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Here is what NHTSA says:

INSTALLATION-RELATED QUESTIONS:

1Q._ Is LATCH safer than installing my child safety seat with a seat belt?

A._ A properly installed child restraint system and a LATCH system, without the use of the tether, offer the same levels of protection in a crash._ Using the tether on either system improves overall effectiveness in reducing fatalities and injuries._ LATCH was developed for improved ease-of-use and correct installation without using vehicle seat belts._ LATCH anchors solve the challenges of vehicle seat belt incompatibilities from different types of vehicle seat contours, seat belt anchor locations, and seat belt locking mechanisms._
http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/childps/LATCH/QandA.html

So, according to NHTSA, which is the agency mandating LATCH, a properly installed child seat is just as safe as a LATCH install. If one has studied the installation and have had their techniques checked, they are just as well off with belts than as with LATCH. LATCH of course may make it faster and easier to install the seat.

That all said, LATCH will improve child passenger safety overall simply because the real-world instances of improperly-installed seats will go down because of LATCH. The percentage of improperly installed seats is quite high according to various estimates. Though it must be noted that LATCH is expected to only cut into the percentage and there are still many other areas of installation errors (e.g. not having the harness tight enough).
 
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