I think that in cases like this where we ask if it’s a good installation and the answer is “I think so, but I can’t tell,” it is the same as saying, “No, it’s not.” Why? Because we DON’T know, and when it comes to safety, it’s best to err on the side of caution than to cross your fingers and hope you were right.
It’s too bad the seatbelt comes from the outboard seat. Otherwise you could pull the middle seat out, install the Radian on it, and see how you felt about it that way.
I think it’s ok. Especially with the Radian, if there was any wiggle you’d be getting front to back motion as well as side to side. So given the lack of front to back, I’d feel comfortable with it.
Is this a “for real, there’s a child involved”? Or is this just a mental exercise. If it’s the 2nd, here’s my idea: Since the RF foot is basically taking the place of a pool noodle or towel, you could mark the seatbelt with chalk and the point where the Radian hits the back seat with a piece of masking tape. Then you could re-create the install without the foot and see what you get.
@Wendy- The rubber on the bottom of the Radian can grip the seat when checking for movement, making it appear secure, even when the seat is loose.
For clarification, I can assure you that there was no front-to-back movement, even with a strong pull. As I mentioned in the video, it was solidly installed, with the only possible question being whether or not the toe of the recline block was affecting side-to-side movement. Also, even if it was, does it matter, given the rear-facing installation in the center that quite possibly was secure regardless. I don’t have the answer, but I’ll offer my opinion later.
I have a Radian and I’ve notice the boot getting caught on things like that before. It’s been my experience that you can definitely tell when it’s an actual solid install or just the boot fitting between something.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it until I confirmed some things…
1. what does the manual of the highlander say?
2. can you slide the outboard seats back or remove them??… I doubt you could do it with the radian installed, but what I’m saying is that you could measure and mark how much seatbelt you used with and without those outboard seats in place, and see if it was the same… if it was, it’s a snug fit.
if you CAN’T… where is the seatbelt and buckle on that removable seat coming from? if it is from one or both of the outboard seats, that won’t help, but if it is from that little seat itself, the same measurements could be done with the middle seat installed in the vehicle, and with it installed on that seat outside of the vehicle, even though the top tether would not be in use outside of the vehicle.
okay… yeah, no way to confirm by removing any of the vehicle seats… the seatbelt itself comes from the driver’s side seat, and the buckle is part of the passenger side one… I would just not feel comfortable with it without getting some type of approval from toyota’s manual for that vehicle or sunshine kids
Seems to me like it’s just like a 3-across. 3-across carseat installs are fine as long as they aren’t interfering, right? In this case it’s not another carseat interfering, but it’s still an interference. I wouldn’t consider a 3-across install complete until I’d checked to make sure each was independently secure, so this one’s not complete, either, and since it can’t be checked independently, I’d consider it incompatible.
I wouldn’t consider an un-verifiable Radian install to be good, even if it appears to be. In my Radian experience (we have three), the Radian is very deceptive. I can have it as tight as can be, and then when I take the slack out of the tether (for example), the entire seat shifts several inches. So for the Radian, I’d definitely want to be able to verify that side-to-side movement.
I also wouldn’t be happy with it, but I’m also questioning if the vehicle manual allows a carseat to be installed in that position?
One question that I couldn’t quite tell in the video was if the plastic moulding was preventing the boot from making full contact with the vehicle seat – it looked like the toe of the boot might not be fully sitting on the vehicle seat.
Given the inability to verify that it was independently tight, I’d have to err on the side of caution and say that middle position was incompatible with a rf’ing Radian. I do wonder though how other seats would fare in that position since it also appears to be fairly narrow – assuming the manual allows carseats to be installed there.
The manual does allow it. It does say that when installing a child seat in the center seat, you must adjust the seats to the same position and the seatbacks to the same angle. The center seat also includes a top tether. The outboard seats do not remove (they fold). In the photo/video, they are all the way back.
When installed, the center seat is attached to the captain’s chair behind the driver. I could move that seat forward, eliminating the conflict on one side. That would not be allowed for child seat installation according to the Toyota statement above, but it would give me freedom to move side-to-side in one direction as a test.
But, would even that be enough to know for sure?
Just watched the video on Youtube. I was also wondering if the foot was in full contact with the rearseat cushion. But firstly I am worried about the buckle, as it is so close to the beltpath. I know this would qualify as buckle crunch in Europe even tough the buckle doesn´t come into the belt tunnel.
The foot was in as far as it would go, as the seatbelt is quite tight and securely pushing it back, resulting in a rock solid front-to-back install. The buckle is actually just off the recline block, since it is actually narrower than the shell where the latchplate is touching. I don’t see any indication that the buckle release could be a conflict with anything. I also don’t see that the buckle is resting on any corner that could cause it to break in a crash.
I think the manual directions do help me think that it MIGHT be okay… but I’d still want some input from sunshine kids (someone high up of course) on whether or not they approve of that type of plastic thing contacting the foot… and whether they feel that would cause any issues with the seat.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, since it’s a bit of an unusual situation. My opinion is that I’d have no problem having one of my children ride in this seat as it is shown. It’s a very tight install and even if it did move around an inch side to side if the toe wasn’t present, it still is going to be quite safe as a rear-facing center install with a tether for stability. A representative from Sunshine Kids commented: “Installation looks fine.” My concern would be more for a parent installing a convertible seat for the first time who might not have it as tightly installed with the seatbelt, but could still believe it was acceptable because of the toe and because of the grip strips on the bottom of the shell.
knowing what sunshine kids says… I totally agree… and it IS an unusal situation, but I could definitely seeing it being one as the vehicle (especially the hybrid version) becomes more popular with large families.
The Radian is definitely unusual in the amount of movement it can mask. I tend to be pretty extra-cautious with them and would rely on other indicators and how other seats install in that spot for cues…
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