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Seat Belt Malfunction - Had to Cut it to get my son out

Discussion in 'Model X' started by daapower, Jun 11, 2017.

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  1. daapower

    daapower Member

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    My toddler was in the 2nd row with a booster and as we were approcahing the New York Aquarium he was excited and unlatched his seat belt. He was attemting to take off the seat belt when the seat belt suddenly retracted and got him stuck. My wife was sitting in between him and my other son in the 2nd row and was trying to free him but everytime she tried to get the seat belt off, it would tighten some more. I stopped the car in the New York Aquarium parking lot and went to take a look and tried to see what was wrong and the seat belt would not loosen and it was on my sons neck very tight. I had to hold the seatbelt in place in order for it not to choke my son.
    At this point my wife took some pictures and called Tesla roadside to try to see if there was a release button somewhere for the seat belt so that it would stop retracting. The tesla rep said that there was no button to release it.

    Next we tried asking a group of people who parked in front of us if they had a scissor to cut the seat belt but they did not. Together we tried to see if there was a way to get it off but it looked like it wasn't going to happen unless the seat belt unlocked itself. Next my wife found a security guard who was directing traffic into the New York Aquarium and asked if he had scissors and he just so happened to have a seat belt cutter. We made some more attempts to get it off and then asked Tesla rep if we should just cut it and she said yes.

    Both my son and my wife were crying as it looked like it would get tighter if we tried to create more room...our fear was that it would eventually choke our son because the belt was already pinned against his neck and only my hands were pulling on it so that it wouldnt pull him into his seat. I even tried lifting him a little hoping it would give him more room to breathe.

    Going to schedule a service appointment tomorrow, I would recommend anyone with kids to keep a cheap seat belt cutter in their glove box just in case. Just bought one off Amazon for $5.
     
    • Informative x 3
  2. mal_tsla

    mal_tsla Member

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    Just to clarify: the seat belt was already unlatched, but was retracting, kind of like when it is put into child seat retract-only mode by fully extending it?

    Does the model X have power retracting belts in the second row?
     
  3. andrewket

    andrewket Well-Known Member

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    Please let us know what Tesla finds. I'm glad your son is OK.
     
  4. daapower

    daapower Member

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    yes, he unlatched it himself as we were approaching. We were in stop and go traffic line to get into parking and my guess is he must've unlatched and as i hit the brake it must've tried to retract it or something.
     
    • Informative x 1
  5. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    I've read this a few times and still don't understand it. It sounds like it locked, like all seat belts do, to where you have to reel it all the way in before it comes out again. Also sounds like it was already unhooked from the receiver? So somehow it got jammed up with the child carseat to where it was still restraining your son? Sounds like an incredibly strange and rare occurrence. Is there something special about the Tesla seat belt that made the problem worse, or was this just a peculiar happening completely unrelated to the make of the vehicle? Did the child car seat design perhaps contribute to the problem?
     
  6. zackmilo

    zackmilo Chrome Delete and lowering champion

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    That once happened to my friends kid in his old 2010 XC90. I was in car and ran out to get scissors. He got tangled and it wouldn't unbuckle and was choking him.
     
    • Informative x 1
  7. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT Quickish

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    #7 ShockOnT, Jun 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
    I'm not sure who supplies Tesla's seat belts, but this tight locking problem does seem to happen a lot with modern seat belts, especially the "safer" ones.
    Hope your son wasn't too panicked, and you're all OK.
     
  8. zackmilo

    zackmilo Chrome Delete and lowering champion

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    Take the car into service really soon. I hope they won't charge you. At least not for labor.
     
  9. daapower

    daapower Member

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    It isn't really a child seat, more like a booster https://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-Big-Booster-Seat-Sprocket

    So i don't think the booster did much to interfere with the function, all it does it extend it lower for smaller children. It was already unhooked from the receiver. I don't know the full sequence of events as I was driving but I heard my son say he wanted to take his seatbelt off as we were in the line to pay for parking and then my wife panicking shortly after and asking for me to park. It wasn't until i pulled over and parked that I realized that he was really stuck and the belt was up against his neck. Never had a seatbelt do this before and I've gone through 9 cars by now.

    By the time i got to it there was almost no slack at all..just enough for me to put my fingers there to try to keep it off his neck. My wife said that initially it had a little slack but everytime she tried to move it off my son it would take the belt back and the slack would be less.
     
  10. daapower

    daapower Member

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    scary, in my instance though the belt was already unbuckled

    Between myself, and my wife, the group of people in the car parked in front of us, and the security guard...we couldn't figure out a way to get it off...I'd say we probably spent 10 minutes trying to get it off...the group of people wanted to dial 9-1-1 but my wife got the security guard and he had the emergency belt cutters
     
  11. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I've seen similar happen to someone in their car. The seatbelt wasn't buckled (driver was getting into car to leave), but it simply got stuck (can't pull out nor retract). Seemed like it was close to fully retracted and without that extra click of loosening room it won't free. The driver asked for help and I tried for like 10 minutes trying to pull or get it to retract further and it wouldn't budge. In the end, she had to call for a tow to the dealership to fix.

    It's rare but it does happen.
     
  12. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    Sympathy for the mishap. Tesla will fix it free. Not sure I agree with your advice that everyone carry a seatbelt cutter around. If you're looking to reduce the relative risk of rare problems you'd be better off statistically carrying an epi-pen or a fire extinguisher. I understand the threat seems very real to you because you've been through it. Sorry I'm kind of a relative risk nerd.
     
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  13. Jrogville

    Jrogville Member

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    I don't know in the case of Tesla whether the glove box would be the best place for any kind of emergency equipment. In an emergency situation, it bothers me that to open the glove box it requires the release of an electrical lock. What if there's a power issue? Maybe under the front seat?
     
  14. VMark

    VMark Member

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    I have seen seat belt gets twisted at top and I have to pull the whole belt out and then untwist it. When it gets twisted it looks as if buckle is backwards, when this happens I have noticed belt does gets tighter than usual if you are trying to release it or remove it fast. Happened three times so far. Haven't been able to recreate problem yet and not sure what causes it. Happened all three times in second row, once behind driver seat seat and other two times behind passenger seat.
     
  15. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Modern seat belts (including the Model X second row, I just checked mine) can go into a ratchet mode where they won't unloosen, but just get tighter and tighter. It stays in this mode until you unhook it AND let it play back into the housing all the way, and then it behaves normally - only then can you pull it out.

    A seat belt gets into this mode when you pull it out all the way to the end. People with baby seats (like the backward facing ones for infants) use this feature all the time - they loop the seat belt around the baby seat, latch it, pull it out completely, then let it tighten (I would often kneel into the car seat to get it extra tight). Because of the one way ratchet, it gets it really tight so that the baby seat won't budge.

    I suspect that your wife or your son mistakenly pulled out the seat belt all the way to the end at some point. Either that or the mechanism got into the ratchet mode due to a flaw.

    Missing in your post was a description of why you couldn't get your son out of the seatbelt since it was unlatched. It must have caught on something? I am having a hard time picturing a situation where an unlatched seat belt could trap someone.
     
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  16. daapower

    daapower Member

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    Mine occurred 2nd row behind driver seat
     
  17. BrettS

    BrettS Member

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    I’m kind of having a hard time understanding what happened here as well and I don’t think it was really a seatbelt malfunction but more the way seat belts are designed to operate in conjunction with an unfortunate tanglement or something. If you stretch a seatbelt all the way out it will then ratchet back and get tighter and tighter as you described. This is used to secure car seats. The simple solution to prevent this from choking someone is to unlatch the seatbelt and let it retract fully, at which point it will no longer be ratcheting. However, you stated that the seatbelt was already unlatched. If that was the case, then how was it tightening around your son’s neck? The buckle end should have been free and the seatbelt should have retracted fully back without any interference.

    Was the seatbelt tangled up in the booster seat preventing it from fully retracting? If so, then it seems that the fault lies there, rather in the seatbelt design as the seatbelts in all cars will ratchet back as described if they are extended all the way. It certainly seems like a dangerous situation, but as long as the seatbelt is allowed to retract unhindered you won’t be able to have this issue.
     
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  18. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    In an accident a seatbelt can get jammed and electric locks no longer operate, so having a seatbelt cutter with a window breaker can be very handy. I keep one in all my cars.
     
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  19. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    This is great advice which I learned in a first aid course years ago. I've kept a seatbelt cutter with a pointed end in my car and my wife's car as long as I can remember.
     
    • Like x 1
  20. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

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