Safety Archive

The Dorel Technical Center for Child Safety – CPS Heaven in Indiana? Part II


In Part I, I discussed how we wound up visiting Dorel’s Technical Center for Child Safety in Columbus, Indiana and what they accomplish there.  It’s quite the impressive place and after thoroughly enjoying the little trip down carseat memory lane they have on display, it was time to move on to the next stop on the tour.

Getting an education on “Soft Goods”.  Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 pictured.



Next, the Model Shop where products and components are pulled and swung and twisted and hammered. And tested for Lead (using proper industry standard procedures).  That blue machine is pounding the chest clip… 15,857 times (and counting)!



Moving along to the lab…

The Dorel Technical Center for Child Safety – CPS Heaven in Indiana?


Dorel Technical Center for Child Safety

Picture this.  A taste of what *I* imagine Heaven is like – in Columbus, Indiana!  Who knew?  It was certainly a surprise to me.  I mean, sure, I expected to like the place.  But I didn’t expect to LOVE it as much as I did.  And our tour guides were simply the best!  Thanks, guys.  We really appreciate everything you did for our benefit!

Backtracking a little bit – here’s the full story:

Getting to the ABC Expo in Louisville involved me flying in and out of Chicago.  Since Darren was making the trip by car, he was kind enough to offer me a ride.  We decided that since we had to drive past Dorel’s HQ in Columbus, that we would try to make an appointment to stop there on the way back.  We missed the big grand opening celebration of their new Technical Center for Child Safety back in September 2010, and we were eager to check the place out.

How to Use A Rear-Facing Tether


RXT in MDX tethered

Using a Rear-Facing Tether

Updated 01-28-17

In the What Is A Tether? blog article, we learned all about forward-facing tether use. But what if you have a convertible carseat that can be tethered in the rear-facing position? How do you do it? And why?

Which Seats Can Be Tethered Rear-Facing?

Let’s start with which current carseats can be tethered rear-facing. There are four manufacturers which allow their convertibles to be tethered in the rear-facing position: Diono (formerly known as Sunshine Kids), *Clek, Combi, and Peg Perego. If your carseat isn’t listed, it can’t be tethered when rear-facing and the tether should be stowed safely away until you need to use it for forward-facing.

 Models That Currently Allow Rear-Facing Tethering
 Britax  Advocate (manufactured before 06/03/15)
 Advocate ClickTight (manufactured before 01/28/15)
 Boulevard (manufactured before 06/03/15)
 Boulevard ClickTight (manufactured before 01/28/15)
 Decathlon (Discontinued)
 Highway (Discontinued)
 Marathon (manufactured before 06/03/15)
 Marathon ClickTight (manufactured before 01/28/15)
 Marathon “Classic” (Discontinued)
 Pavilion (Discontinued)
 Roundabout 50 “Classic” (Discontinued)
 Roundabout (manufactured before 06/03/15)
 *Clek  Foonf
 Combi  Coccoro
 Diono/Sunshine Kids  Radian 65, Radian 80 & Radian XT (Discontinued)
 Radian R100
 Radian R120
 Radian RXT
 Olympia (Discontinued)
 Peg Perego   Primo Viaggio SIP 5-70

*Clek only allows rear-facing tethering when the vehicle has a dedicated, factory-installed rear-facing tether anchor available, such as in Volvos and Saabs. See the picture gallery at the end of the article for two pictures of factory-installed rear-facing tether anchors on a Volvo front seat track.

Britax, originally the only manufacturer allowing rear-facing tethering, offers anti-rebound bars for their G4.1 series convertibles and their ClickTight convertibles which serves to function like Swedish style rear-facing tethering (see below). Anti-rebound bars (ARBs) are available for convertibles manufactured after June 2010, excluding the Classic models. If in doubt, follow the instructions written in your carseat manual.

Britax Boulevard with ARB  


The reasons for a movement toward anti-rebound bars are two-fold: vehicle manufacturers are concerned with the advanced airbag wiring that may be housed around the front seat legs and ARBs perform the same Swedish style rear-facing style tether function with less force being transferred to the child. Even though there’s minimal force applied to the tether and carseat on rebound, that force is transferred to the child as a sudden stop when it’s tethered rear-facing. The ARB absorbs the force and allows a bounce-back so the child isn’t absorbing that sudden stop. To date, we don’t know of any injuries to children in carseats tethered rear-facing vs. using ARBs. These are energy management features on higher-end carseats that are like icing on a cake. Any rear-facing child is going to be *very* safe.

Styles of Rear-Facing Tethering

There are two styles of rear-facing tethering: Swedish and Australian method. Swedish is the more popular of the two in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and has the tether attached to a point under the front seat. Australian is more common in, you guessed it, Australia. In the Australian method, the tether comes back over the carseat and is anchored to the vehicle’s tether anchor. Britax was the only manufacturer that allowed Australian tethering because of the shape of its tether. There are pros and cons to each method.


 Pros  Cons

 Australian RF Tethering

Toward the rear of the car

  • Carseat won’t over-rotate towards floor of vehicle.
  • Provides some side impact rotation stability.
  • Lessens rebound because downward movement is lessened (energy is dissipated before carseat has a chance to bounce back up).
  • Must maneuver child under tether strap to load and unload.
  • Doesn’t limit rebound. Just because energy is already dissipated because carseat can’t rotate down, there’s nothing holding it from hitting the vehicle seat back.

 Swedish RF Tethering

Toward the front of the car

  • Tether is out of the way for securing child in carseat.
  • Provides some side impact rotation stability and installation stability in a rollover.
  • Reduces head excursion in rear impacts.
  • Limits rebound.
  • Doesn’t prevent over-rotation toward floor of vehicle.


Britax Pavilion - rear-facing tether - Swedish method  Australian tethering

A note about Australian seats and why they tether to the vehicle’s tether anchor: Australian convertible carseats have an ARB/foot that prevents the seat from rebounding into the vehicle seat. That anti-rebound bar, combined with the tether that doesn’t allow downward rotation, means that there is little movement of the carseat in an impact.

Why Should You Tether Rear-Facing

Many parents and caregivers are concerned about a rear-facing carseat rebounding into the back seat. Rebound is the secondary movement a rear-facing carseat will make during a frontal crash. The initial movement is a downward rotation as the carseat is pulled towards the point of impact in a frontal crash. After the carseat reaches its peak rotation down, it will start to rebound towards the back of the vehicle seat. This is similar to how a driver moves forward into his airbag and then rebounds back into his seat in the late stages of the crash sequence. This rebound motion isn’t necessarily a terrible thing since rebound is generally considered to be a “low energy event.”  If there are injuries to the child that occur as a result of rebound, they should be relatively minor because the main forces of the crash have already been absorbed by that point. The most common rebound-related injuries occur when children rebound into something that has been placed on the backseat facing them (such as hard mirrors or toys dangling from the infant carseat handle). Contrary to what some people believe, rebound isn’t something that was designed or engineered into a rear-facing carseat as a way to manage energy in a crash; it’s just the result of the top of the carseat not being connected to the vehicle.

By tethering a rear-facing carseat Swedish style, rebound is greatly reduced. The installation may also be more secure and there may be benefits in side impact or rollover crashes simply because the CR is firmly attached to the vehicle in more than one place which improves overall stability. There’s a definite benefit in rear impacts since tethering a seat Swedish style reduces head excursion, much the same way a tether works for a forward-facing carseat.

But let’s be clear: rear-facing tethering is optional. No carseat requires its use; think of it as an added feature.

How to Set Up A Rear-Facing Tether Using the Swedish Method

Since the Swedish method uses an anchor point under the front seat, you’ll have to move the front seats forward. Look for a solid point that’s anchored to the vehicle floor, like a front seat leg or seat track. If the point you want to use isn’t solidly bolted to the vehicle frame, there’s a possibility the tether might fail in a crash. A seat that is able to be tethered rear-facing will come with a tether connector strap, otherwise known as a D-ring (though lately, they don’t look like “D” rings). The current tether connector strap being shipped with Britax convertibles is a piece of webbing with a loop on each end; there is no metal ring on one end anymore. This D-ring is threaded around the solid point you’ve found and the carseat’s tether is attached to it. If the D-ring doesn’t fit around the leg, see if the plastic covering will pop off. These cosmetic pieces usually are removable and can be put back on either after you’ve attached the D-ring or after you’re done with rear-facing.


Britax Blvd CT RF tether connector strap Britax Blvd CT RF tether connector strap

If you are installing the rf seat in a 3rd row or have one of the rare vehicles that has a tether anchor on the back of the front seat or front seat track (some Ford minivans do, as do some Volvo and Saab models), you can attach the tether of Britax seats directly to the tether anchor on the vehicle seat in front of the carseat, as long as that tether anchor isn’t already being used by a ff seat (Diono/Sunshine Kids doesn’t allow their tether to be used in this manner). It’s much more important for a ff carseat to be tethered than a rf one if you have to choose between which seats get tethered. Plus, you can always use the d-ring for the rf seat. And it’s never preferable to turn a carseat ff because you can’t tether rf.

For positioning, try to use an anchor point closest to the carseat; for example, if you’re installing the carseat on the passenger side, use the passenger side front seat leg, not the driver’s seat leg. This will help keep the carseat from leaning excessively. Carseat manufacturers also test the rf tether when it’s 20° off-center or less. Twenty percent is about the distance to the vehicle seat front legs directly in line with the rf carseat. Attach the tether to the rf tether point you’ve created with the d-ring or to the tether anchor and pull the slack out of the tether. Do not use the tether to change the angle of the carseat; simply pull it snug.


  • Finding a suitable location to wrap the d-ring (aka tether connector strap) around. Many newer vehicles have potential locations that are covered by large plastic trim pieces that can’t be easily removed. In some vehicles rear-facing tethering just isn’t possible because there is no suitable location.
  • Airbag sensor wiring: As you wrap the d-ring around the front seat leg, take care not to disrupt any wiring that may be attached or near the leg. This wiring may be for the front seat airbag and you definitely don’t want to mess with it. If you notice any airbag warning lights coming on or going off after you’ve attached the rear-facing tether, discontinue use of the tether immediately.
  • Older vehicles: Some older vehicles in the rust belt may have problems with undercarriage rust. This could be a problem because if something is rusted, it’s a weaker point in the vehicle and the whole purpose of using the vehicle seat leg is to provide a solid tethering point. We don’t have any statistics on rusted vehicles, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind.
  • Vehicle manufacturer resistance: Because rear-facing tethering isn’t commonplace, most vehicle manufacturers don’t address it in their manuals (even Volvo omits it from their North American manuals). Some vehicle manufacturers are not on board with Swedish style rf tethering at all, though it may be because of user error in setting up the d-ring.
    • Chrysler brands, specifically, do not allow Swedish style rear-facing tethering in their vehicles. Current manuals address the subject and if you call and ask (if it’s not in your vehicle manual), you will be told it’s not allowed. Brands include: Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Plymouth, and Ram. Other vehicle manufacturers may be following their example in the near future.

Chrysler manual RF tether

Now for the pictures . . .

Swedish Gallery

2010 Ford Explorer driver's seat 2012 Prius V RF tether 2015 Kia Sedona 2nd Row RF tether 2014 Lexus LX570 RF tether 2014-2015 Mitsubishi Outlander RF tether 2013-2014 Ford CMax RF Tether 2012 Honda Pilot RF tether 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe RF tether  2011-2012 Buick Enclave RF tether     

   Britax Pavilion - rear-facing tether - Swedish method

If you have a 2005-2012 Honda Odyssey, you’ll be interested in reading this thread from our forums. It’s a step-by-step guide on using a rear-facing tether in those vans. If you have a 2013-14 Honda Odyssey, you can see video on how to tether rear-facing in this blog post.

Thanks to CDNTech for providing her ’03-’08 Grand Caravan pictures in this thread:; and thanks to Emily for providing the pictures of her ’12 Volvo S60 front seat track tether anchors!


Australian Gallery

 Aussie tethering  Britax Pavilion tethered rear-facing - Aussie style Britax Pavilion - tethered rear-facing - Aussie style


Shopping Carts – Eeek! What NOT to do with your infant carseat.


I see this ALL. THE. TIME. I know you must see it too. Perhaps you’re even guilty of this yourself. Here’s why it’s such a concern and what you can do to reduce the risk of your baby being seriously injured in a fall off a shopping cart.

The Problem: Infant carseats aren’t designed to be secured to the top of a shopping cart. Most carseat manufacturers specifically prohibit using their seats this way but that warning is usually buried along with 30 other generic warnings in the instruction manual so it doesn’t get much attention.

According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics):

It is more common than most people think for children to be hurt in shopping carts. These injuries can be severe or even deadly. Each year approximately 23,000 children are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from shopping carts. Most injuries are caused by falls from the cart or by the cart tipping over. Many injuries are to the head and neck.

Unfortunately, we’re a monkey-see, monkey-do society; so many parents think this is a perfectly acceptable practice. The problem is that the carseat isn’t strapped in or snapped onto the cart. It’s just perched on top. Sometime it’s perched in a way that’s fairly stable but very often it’s just teetering on the top of that cart with very little support. One good bump and that seat is going to topple. If baby is old enough to kick, grab or try to sit up  – that increases the chances of falling. If the harness straps are loose, or worse yet – not buckled at all, that greatly increases the chances of a fall. And if you have a preschooler shopping with you – the chances of baby toppling off the cart just increased ten-fold. In case you haven’t noticed, little kids like to push the cart, climb on the cart and hang off the sides of the cart as soon as you turn your back. The cart isn’t the most stable object on 4 wheels to begin with, so adding a toddler or preschooler into the equation can be a recipe for disaster.

The Easy Solution: Don’t do it.

The Reality Check: You gotta put the little critter somewhere and while a baby carrier or sling is a great option, wearing your baby while you’re trying to shop isn’t always practical or convenient. Here are some suggestions for making a trip to the store a little less hazardous for your baby.

  • Try wedging the infant seat sideways into the toddler seat of the cart. Different carts have different dimensions so it may be possible in some carts but not in others.
  • Place the infant seat in the main portion of the cart and drag an extra cart around with you if you need to do a big grocery shopping. I’ve BTDT so I know what a pain in the rear this is – but it’s doable. And it certainly beats a trip to the ER where you’ll have a lot of explaining to do while they examine your baby for serious head injuries.
  • Take advantage of carts that have built-in infant carriers. Just remember to buckle your baby in nice and snug. And I highly suggest a receiving blanket to cover the surface before putting baby down.
  • Use common sense! If the seat is poorly supported (as in the picture above), don’t leave it that way! Nothing you’re going to buy at Costco or Target or the supermarket is worth risking your child falling off the cart face first.

Way back in the late 90’s when DS1 was a toddler, I saw a woman’s baby fall off the cart at the drug store. I can still remember the sound that kid’s head made when it hit the floor. She scooped him up and ran out with him while the store manager ran out after her. I don’t know what happened after that but I remember being really upset by what I had just seen (and heard). It stayed with me and from that day on I was always super-conscious about how my kids were secured in shopping carts. However, I am obviously in the minority because far too often I witness dangerous baby in shopping cart situations. Sometimes I’ll say something – in the nicest way I can, of course. But giving unsolicited advice to strangers can be more dangerous than playing in New Delhi traffic, so usually I just keep quiet. And blog about it instead. Feel free to help spread the word!

Shopping Cart Diagram - Dorel