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Discussion Starter #1
I tried to install a child car seat using the LATCH on the 2nd row seat on a 02 MDX . The hooks are available on the right and left seat. However, the hook on the middle seat appears to be under the seat cloth and not accessible. I would have to cut through the cloth to get to the hooks. Does any one here experience this problem?? Please look and see if you can access the hook in the middle seat.

Thanks
Jeff
 

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Unfortunately, there are only hooks on the outboard seat locations. You can, however, use the two innermost hooks from either side if your LATCH strap is long enough. That's how we recently installed our Britax Roundabout.

Good luck!
 

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Yes, relatively few vehicles have a LATCH position in the middle of the second row. I wish manufacturers would add them if there's room.
 

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car seat installation in middle seat

My graco snugride instructions says the LATCH attachments need to be within 11.5 inches apart. This means that installing this carseat is unsafe in the middle seat. Has anyone tried this and found this not true (or true)? Are the requirements for the Britax seats (or any other) the same?

Thanks
 

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Re: car seat installation in middle seat

ckchanha said:
My graco snugride instructions says the LATCH attachments need to be within 11.5 inches apart. This means that installing this carseat is unsafe in the middle seat. Has anyone tried this and found this not true (or true)? Are the requirements for the Britax seats (or any other) the same?

Thanks
I'd recommend that you call Britax. I think that on at least one of their seats, they recommend that the inner LATCH points be within 21 inches. Ultimately it's a parent's decision.
 

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying here, but we have had our childseat installed in the center position of the middle seating area since day 1. There is an attachment bar on the back of the seat to which we attache the strap for our Britax seat.

We own a 2001 X. Did Honda/Acura subsequently change the design?

-Traveller
 

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ghm2112 said:
Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying here, but we have had our childseat installed in the center position of the middle seating area since day 1. There is an attachment bar on the back of the seat to which we attache the strap for our Britax seat.

We own a 2001 X. Did Honda/Acura subsequently change the design?

-Traveller
Trav,

New models incorporate LATCH (so called "easy anchors"). Don't worry, you can still do it the old-fashioned way.:D Since I had mine inspected and it's very secure, there is no real need for LATCH (someone correct me if I am wrong). LATCh just makes installation mistakes less likely.
 

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A2:
I was going to be a bit surprised if that feature was eliminated. I like to use it since it makes doubley-sure that the seat (and our little bundle of joy) stays secure, particularly wrt forward movement.

Happy Trails,
Traveller
 

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Yes, you don't need LATCH to get a rock-solid car seat installation. The old-fashioned belts work fine.

LATCH just makes it more convenient, and less likely to be an erroneous installation.

The former part strikes me because our new sedan has LATCH while our 2001 MDX does not. While I am very fast in installing the carseat with the belts after having had enough repetitions, LATCH is a comparative breeze.

I have to reinstall the seats occasionally. E.g. sometimes we use the MDX to carry something big and I have to take out the car seat and fold down the second row (as well as the third). LATCH would be convenient, but sofar as I know, there is no retrofit for older MDX's. Pity, I'd pay for it.
 

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We have actually been referring to the lower anchors. There are three top tether anchors for forward-facing child seats in the second row. Clearly the intent was to have any seat installed in the middle use the middle shoulder belt and the tether (if forward-facing).

We installed our rear-facing seat in the middle with no tether and the outer lower anchors as I mentioned before. It is as rock-solid as a seat can be, and we don't have the middle belt hanging down from the ceiling. If your seat works in the middle with LATCH, then do it, otherwise go with the belt or one of the outboard seat locations. The middle seat is without question the safest, although when you have more than one child that whole theory is no longer relevant.
 

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Car seat using the inner LATCH anchors?

Rather than speculate, here is what NHTSA says. I've emphasized some of their statements.

6Q._ Can I use the two inboard lower anchors (of the outboard LATCH seating positions) to install my child seat in the rear center seating position?

A._ No, unless both the child restraint manufacturer's instructions and the vehicle owner's manual specifically state that this is acceptable._ A child restraint can be installed using the rear-center seat belt and, if forward-facing, the top tether anchor.
http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/childps/LATCH/QandA.html

As I've been saying, be sure to contact your seat manufacturer, and Acura Client Services to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Folks,

There are LATCH hooks in the middle seats in my 02 MDX as said in my original post. The issue is that they appears to be under the thin seat covers and not readily accessible. You can feel the HOOKS with your hand.
 

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jeffn said:
Folks,

There are LATCH hooks in the middle seats in my 02 MDX as said in my original post. The issue is that they appears to be under the thin seat covers and not readily accessible. You can feel the HOOKS with your hand.
Are you sure those are really LATCH anchors, and not some structural part of the seat? Do they actually feel exactly the same as the two outboard pairs of LATCH anchors? Sorry for the questioning, but my MDX is a 2001 and doesn't have any LATCH so I can't try for myself.

Thanks.
 

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Just a few weeks ago I checked into this. The LATCH positions are indicated with those little plastic button things on the seat just above the seam. Thats what they're for. Apparently in Canada they have a child seat logo on those button too. There isn't LATCH for the center. Due to the folding arm rest a child seat isn't supposed to be located there.
 

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zafer said:
... There isn't LATCH for the center. Due to the folding arm rest a child seat isn't supposed to be located there.
May I ask what is the source for the information that a child seat shouldn't be where the center armrest is? I'm curious if Acura says that, but why would they, since the center of the rear seat has a top-tether anchorage? If Acura didn't think it was safe, they wouldn't have put a top-tether hook there. Not having LATCH there is usually because of concerns of spacing and cost-avoidance (LATCH wasn't originally available in the MDX, but the top tether anchors always were).

Some seat manufacturers (e.g. Evenflo) have advised not to put a rear-facing car seat where the center armrest is, and some car seat installers also advise the same thing. Some are afraid of what happens if the armrest comes down and hits the front of the rear-facing seat. I haven't heard the same restriction applied to forward-facing seats.

However, most car seat installers and manufacturers advise using the middle seat as the safest position.

Since there is no true standard on using the middle seat or not, it's ultimately up to the parent to decide based on the available information.

In my own personal opinion, based on what I've learned, the middle seat is far and away the safest location. There, the vast majority of side impacts will not directly hit the restraint and the child. What kills people in side impacts is the actual intrusion of the other vehicle into the side structure and onto the occupant. One reason why side airbags (both thoraxic and head-protecting) are so important.

Put the seat in the middle, and it takes a much, much more catastrophic level of intrusion to get to the child. Put the seat in the outboard position, and the odds of a child getting hit by the t-boning vehicle go up dramatically.

Continuing my personal opinion, I think the danger of the middle armrest is low. Non-existent for forward-facing seats, and minimal for most rear facing seats. That is because the armrest is not usually tall enough to really hit the child, even during the flexing of the seat position in an accident. From watching crash test footage, a frontal collision has a rear-facing seat canting forward, suggesting that any armrest fold-down will just hit the lip of the front of the seat. There is (I think) a chance that a very large (wide) armrest could hit a larger child's legs, but I'm not convinced that the impact would be sufficient to cause serious injury.

Personally, I think that if anyone is really worried about the center armrest in a rear-facing seat, they should consider a rear-facing seat with a rebound bar. E.g:

http://www.britaxusa.com/products.cfm?action=ShowProduct&pro_id=D1274E39-6E8B-479C-978F16464B95C3A9

The rebound bar in the Companion is primarily designed to keep the secondary recoil (in forward-facing accidents) of the rear-facing seat from driving it into the seatback. However, given how strong it has to be for that purpose, it would probably also protect against an armrest.
 

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The reason the 01's don't have the LATCH anchors and the 02's and beyond do, is because the government starting requiring it with all 02 model year vehicles. Check the user's manual for an 02 - its got a whole section about the LATCH system.
 

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neide said:
The reason the 01's don't have the LATCH anchors and the 02's and beyond do, is because the government starting requiring it with all 02 model year vehicles. Check the user's manual for an 02 - its got a whole section about the LATCH system.
Quite right. I think the original issue in this thread is that the owner thinks they can feel a third set of LATCH points in the middle of the second row. They're not marked as LATCH points and there's no mention of them in the manual. Thus they're either LATCH points that are "undocumented and just there," or they really aren't LATCH points.

If the former, I'd be afraid of attaching a child seat to them. Maybe they're a manufacturing afterthought, but there'd be no way of knowing for sure if they're secure or not. I'd rather just belt the childseat into the middle position!
 

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I went through all these same questions a year ago. Eventually I installed a Graco Snugride in the 2nd row middle seat using inboard latch connectors from left and right seats. I then took it to a Police inspection station for baby seats. The certified instructor (who has seen thousands of cars and baby seats) made the following three points:

1. All you are trying to do is secure the baby seat as well as possible - whether it is with Latch or seatbelts or whatever. Manuals don't test every combination of car and seat - better to do the best you can and get it checked by a professional.
2. The center is MUCH safer than the outside seats for a baby during a crash (think door intrusion, broken glass etc).
3. In some older cars the armrest may be heavy/hard and flip down onto a rear facing baby - or something may push through a pass through ski-hatch and hurt the baby. Neither apply to the MDX so best to use the center seat (the armrest can't even flip down with baby seat in front of it).

He told me that with my baby seat (again at that time Graco Sungride, now using Britax Wizard) and my car the best location for the baby seat was the center using latch (or seatbelt). During testing he remarked how solid the attachment was - the seat did not budge at all and was correctly leveled.

If you want to use the center seat (and I recommend it) install the seat yourself as best you can and get it checked afterwards.
 

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I had similar confusion upon investigating my 04 mdx with an evenflo carseat. My conclusions thus far:

1) NO center LATCH tie points. If you wish to use the two 'inner' LATCH points from the outboard seats, try this: take the rear passenger seat and use the lever to move the seat up to access the rear row. The entire assembly moves, INCLUDING the LATCH point. To me, it would seem using the inner LATCH points would not be correct.
2) Evenflo explicitly indicates not installing it in the center due to armrest issue.

My belief: I plan to install it in the middle center seat via the ol fashioned seat belt. Common sense dictates this to be the safest of all the locations available.

I am going to the CHP for 'certified installation' on Thursday and will update here accordingly. I am guessing the response will be common with that of others who have been to certified installers.

Another 04's 2 cents....
 
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