>Monday’s Mistake – Humps & Hinges – or "What was the auto maker thinking???"
>This is not the typical mistake Monday – as there aren’t even any car seats in most of the pictures! The sad part is that these “mistakes” appear in real vehicles – and they make installation of car seats/boosters quite a challenge. Unfortunately, there were many more vehicles with humps & hinges I could have shown – I just selected a few for this post.
Q: Why are hinges bad?
A: In order to install a car seat properly, you need to sink it down and back into the vehicle’s seat cushion. Rigid structures – like metal hinges & the plastic covers for them – prevent the car seat from sinking into the seat cushion – leaving you with a loosely installed car seat (and an unsafe child).
- You have 5 inches from the buckle for the center seat to the buckle for the driver side seat. Have you seen a car seat that is 5 inches wide? I didn’t think so – as newborns are wider than 5 inches!
- You have not only 2 upper hinges, but also one lower hinge cover in this center seat – all to prevent you from getting the car seat tightly installed.
- The “lumbar bolster” (my name for it) – will further push the car seat away from the back of the vehicle seat.
Q: The center seat in the back has a hump. Why are some humps bad?
A: Humps can pose a challenge for several reasons.
- The foam under the center hump is often more rigid than the foam under the side seats’ cushion – which means that when you try to install the seat you have to use more muscle to compress the hump so that the car seat gets tight.
- Some humps are off center from where the LATCH system’s lower anchors or the vehicle’s seat belt is located. In this picture below, the vehicle has a hump in the center. The lower anchors for the side seat are half on the side and half into the center seat (we’ll explain later on this week why they spaced the lower anchors this way). With the car seat sitting half on the hump in the center and half off the hump, you end up with a car seat that looks drunk.
- While most humps are on the bottom cushion of the vehicle seat – some are on the back cushion, which further pushes the car seat forward and prevents it from sinking into the vehicle’s seat cushion.