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Model S - Booster Seat Compatibility Experience

Discussion in 'Model S' started by hifienthusiast, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. hifienthusiast

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    I recently purchased three Graco AFFIX Highback Booster Car Seats for a VW Touareg, Nissan Leaf and a Tesla Model S. The booster seat fits well in all of the cars but the Model S. The canting of the outer edge of the rear Model S seat forces the car seat to be offset to the center, causing the associated seat belt buckle to be unusable. As an immediate fix, I have been using the center seat belt buckle. I didn't feel that this was an appropriate long term solution and I started researching recommended car seats or other workarounds from other Model S owners. I have found several references that the seat belt extenders are not a viable or approved option due to safety concerns, as my understanding is there intended use is for individuals that are unable to use a traditional seat belt. This took them out of the running for me. In the reviews that I read, I found that the Recaro Performance booster seat had multiple recommendations. After much debate, I decided to purchased one with the idea that I would return if it didn't live up to the recommendations. I received it today and installed it to find that this is a great solution to the design of the Model S backseat. The Recaro booster seat footprint is small enough to rest within the seat allowing for just enough room to use the associated seat belt buckle, thus rendering all of the seat belt buckles usable in the back seat. The bonus of the Recaro is that the seat itself is well cushioned and extremely comfortable for my 4 year old. He was super excited that he could un-clip his seat belt, like he can in the other cars all by himself. Additionally, I also purchased the Diono "Grip It" which has proven to be a great compliment to the Recaro. I was previously using the Prince Lionheart 2 Stage Seatsaver and found it to be too rigid for the Model S. Total cost of purchase was approximately $109 on Amazon, both items have the fit and feel of products costing much more. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions about my experience.
     
    • Informative x 4
  2. TampaRich

    TampaRich Member

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    Which back seat position did you install the seat? I'm thinking about putting the Recaro in the center. It looks like a big seat. I hope that I still have room for my two teenage girls to fit on each side.
     
  3. hifienthusiast

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    I installed it on the passenger seat. I haven't tried any of them in the center seat yet. I will try and take a picture tomorrow and upload it.
     
  4. hifienthusiast

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    Here are the pictures of the booster seat installed in my Model S. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions.
     

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  5. TampaRich

    TampaRich Member

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    Thanks for the pics. That's a big one alright. I'll see how it fits in the center when mine arrives tomorrow.
     
  6. sdorn

    sdorn Director of Awesome

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    Thanks for the info on the Recaro seat. I am still using a full Diono carseat for my daughter, but would like to get a booster in there instead as the Diono is a pain in the butt to get in and out, and also weighs a ton. Just ordered the Recaro and we'll see how it goes. I had previously tried a Graco and had the same problem with not being able to access the seat belt buckle.
     
  7. Nicola_Won

    Nicola_Won We're on the cusp of an energy revolution.

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    I bought Graco Affix Car Seat, Stargazer - Black, and added a short seatbelt extender. I don't know where you read they aren't legal or safe but they are safe and are legal to use not just for people who won't fit but for car seats that the belt can't be reached. My son loves it because he can clip himself in easily now - something he's always needed help with before in any car.
     
  8. sdorn

    sdorn Director of Awesome

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    I would be interested to know what sources you found that evidence those are safe to use for booster seat installation (and specifically which ones). For something that important I would want substantial ilaffirmative evidence of its safety in line with independent third party crash testing done on cars and safety testing done on car seats or something equivalent.
     
  9. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    #9 Max*, Feb 23, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    I'll preface this by saying I use a small rigid seat belt extender too. There is also no law saying you shouldn't use it, but pretty much ever car seat/booster manufacturer tells you not to do it. As well many car manufacturers tell you not to use one (didn't check Tesla's manual).

    With all that being said, using a seat belt extender is not the best option. It adds more points of failure in an accident, and if you bought a longer seat belt extender, you are changing the geometry of the seatbelt, which is very dangerous.

    The seatbelt should go across the childs lap, not stomach. Many seat belt extenders make this impossible. If the seat belt goes across the stomach, in an accident, it may cause internal organ damage - which is the whole point of the booster, it routes the seatbelt over their laps and prevents this.

    We only use them in the Tesla, not my wife's car (her buckles are easily accessible). But I might switch my daughter to a backless narrow-base booster, soon, and get rid of the extender; as there are safety concerns with extenders.

    YMMV

    I'm pretty sure there are no seat belt extenders that have been tested with booster seats. It's too much of a liability.
     
  10. hifienthusiast

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    Please reference the top right statement in the attached image.

    "Warning: Do not use seat belt extenders on a seat belt that is being used for a child safety seat or booster seat."

    I hope this helps.
     

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  11. hifienthusiast

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    What are your thoughts on the Recaro?
     
  12. sdorn

    sdorn Director of Awesome

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    I haven't taken it out of the box yet. Haven't had time to swap out the Diono that's in there currently.
     
  13. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    Whacked myself in the eye putting Cosco child seat (11 mo) in back. Used a rolled towel under under the foot which is nearest the rear (Seat faces rear). It fits, but.... I said "D***** seat, anyway." It's a pain. I think we'll just leave it there and not haul any adults for a few years until the kid is grown.
     
  14. TampaRich

    TampaRich Member

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    Decided that the Recaro was just too big to fit in the back and still seat two teenagers. The Tesla seat belt latches are just too hard to get at for all involved. The seat fits great in my wife's Pathfinder. Keeping my Graco backless in the Tesla.
     
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