Top Tethering in a Truck
While living in Alberta, you see trucks all over the place. It almost seems like there are MORE trucks than any other vehicle on the road, and it almost seems like you must own a truck to become a true Albertan, LOL. Well, I guess we decided we wanted to be a "true Albertan" because we bought a truck for the first time in 2013.
The first thing I noticed in my truck, was that the top tethering of a forward-facing car seat wasn't what I was used to seeing. I have done many forward-facing installs in vans, cars and SUVs, but I had never done a forward-facing install in a truck, and seeing as trucks are so popular here, I'm still a little surprised at that. It was very different, so different that I had no idea what I was supposed to do at first. So I grabbed the vehicle owner's manual (something everyone should look through when installing any car seat in their vehicle) and flipped to the "Child Restraint" section and read up on the top tether requirements. Turns out I was correct, it IS a very different routing procedure. Not super hard or difficult, just different.
Now not every truck has the same way to route the top tether, it varies from truck to truck and even between cab sizes or vehicle models. This is why its EXTREMELY important to double check your own vehicle owner’s manual to find out exactly how to top tether your forward-facing car seat in your truck.
The top tether loops may look different from vehicle to vehicle, some may be a single webbing loop or other may be a wire wrapped loop, or have a loop with a metal washer type thing inside it, or it may have a webbing loop with a solid metal bar behind it. No matter how yours looks, they all work relatively the same way.
To top tether in a truck with this type of top tethering it's fairly simple once you know what you are doing. So basically how this works is you place the car seat on the spot where you want to install it, and then take the top tether and feed it under the headrest and then though the loop, than you feed the top tether across the back of the seat and attach it to the fabric loop/metal washer/metal bar that is adjacent to the seat the car seat is being installed on. Note: If you are installed in the middle location, some truck are very specific on where you must attach the top tether hook too, so again check your manual for vehicle specific details. Now install your seat, once your seat is installed correctly, you than tighten up the top tether. It doesn't need to be super tight, just nice and snug.
When installing 2 or 3 car seat in a truck, it is doable, and its the only time you can attach more than one tether hook to an anchor point. So if you have 2 seats installed on the outboard (by the doors) positions, you would thread the top tethers the same way, and have them both attached to the center top tether anchor. If your anchor point is a loop or the metal washer you will want to evenly tighten the top tethers so that they are equal. Now if you add a 3rd car seat to the mix, you'll do the same thing as above, and thread the top tether through the center loop and attached it to one of the outboard loops, you'll want to tighten up the outboard seats first, again making sure to they are tightened equally on the middle loop, and then tighten up the middle one.
The picture below shows how this would work.
Here is a video I made to help show how top tethering in a truck is done. Sometimes its easier to understand when you can visually see how its done.
Car Seat information links
Car seats are very confusing and so I hope to be able to post links and videos here to answer most questions. If you have further questions feel free to reply here or message me.
*~*~ Some of the info I will post has U.S. info but for the most part (except some of the Forward-facing weight limits) it applies to us north of the border. :)
Rear-Facing Information: Why you should try and rear-face to the limits of your child's infant/child seat, or until age 2
Forward-Facing Information: Why you should keep your children Harnesses as long as possible.
Booster Seat information: Why children should use them and when can they graduate to the Adult seatbelt
When should you move your child out of a booster seat?
* Why you should never use a lap only belt with a booster seat (or with anyone to be honest with you)
Installing and Using your Car seat: Some videos and links to help with proper installation and use
A helpful trick for installing any car seat with an open belt path
The safe swaddle in the car seat with an infant
Why you shouldn't use both the UAS/Latch and vehicle seat belt to install child car seats, There in currently only ONE manufacturer, and one car seat on the Canadian market that allows both installs. The Clek Foonf, in forward-facing mode only. The reason that this is allowed, because the Foonf uses the rigid latch/uas at the base of the seat, and then the seat belt is threaded through the forward-facing belt path, they never over lap. There is no over lapping belt systems.
Other Safety Resources:
- You should not be able to pinch a fold in the harnesses at the child's collar bone once they are properly tightened - http://www.carseatsite.com/pinchtest.jpg & http://carseatblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Pinch-Test.jpg
- Although all Shield car seats are now expired this is why they are not safe - http://www.cpsafety.com/PDFfiles/ShieldSeatBrochure.pdf
- Why you should be aware of Used car seats, they could be putting your child's life at risk - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC5ifQ6ho1U (be aware he does talk about expiry of 10 years. He's talking specifically about the over head shield seats)
- Car seat use and winter. Why Snowsuits and bundle me are not safe - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM1LJaOIu34 & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDhng9hvjlI
- WHY seats have expiry dates. This is a 10 year old Britax seat (on of the older classic models) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvCRz7BRAM0 and a more detailed explanation on why seats expire http://vicarseattechs.com/2013/why-do-car-seats-expire/
- Texting and Driving ***Warning, graphic, please don't wants with young children around*** - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0ukd7xTQ9g & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rClJW9gnchc
- Busytown Characters help tech about car seat safety - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdJmAtJ7zsM
- Some car seats talk about leaving a child in the seat until they max the weight limits or they have less than 1 inch of room from top of their head to the hard seat shell. Here is how to measure that - http://carseatblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/How-to-measure-1-inch-rf.png You can also measure by taking a book that is 1 inch thick and placing that flat on the child's head. https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/58384_416717211721870_1524673548_n.jpg?oh=45bf649a91d0b099d25407b487e8e1d2&oe=570E19B3 Remember to make sure that your car seat allows for this measurement and doesn't just go by an overall height limit.
- Make sure you are using the correct belt path (there are 2 on every Convertible seat) - http://carseatblog.com/30683/the-wrong-belt-path/ & https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/v/t1.0-9/12105931_1514680478824518_2819441163920338143_n.jpg?oh=e882ad18aa30d61428e4254ab1745779&oe=56FCD96E
- Top tether use is MANDATORY in Canada for all forward-facing car seats, here is a picture to help determine what you are looking for - http://carseatblog.com/9226/what-is-a-tether/ & http://vicarseattechs.com/2013/top-tether-troubleshooting/
- How much a bundle me/cuddle bag can leave, even when you think your child is in there snugly - http://thecarseatlady.blogspot.ca/2011/01/bundle-me-everyone-uses-it-in-car-seat.html If you have one, here is a way to alter it to make it safe in the car seat https://thecarseatlady.wordpress.com/rear-facing/cutting-a-bundle-me/
- How to make sure an infant fits their seat properly - https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtp1/v/t1.0-9/10154419_527500620704400_1862433534267261476_n.jpg?oh=9cfa64f07e84ec948ec63755cff52767&oe=570E00CA & http://23ejf145mpkj40crs82u74e9.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/CrotchRoll.jpg (This is the ONLY time its acceptable to put anything between the child and the harnesses, and the reason for this is that the washcloth between the baby's legs is filling the gap there to keep the child in the proper position. Make sure to double check that your child's seat doesn't have another option to make the crotch buckle strap shorter, many seats now are making this part of the seat fit infants better)
- How to keep children warm in the winter - http://thecarseatlady.com/warmandsafe/
- An alternative to removing the child's jacket in the winter. "The Coat Trick" - https://www.facebook.com/maddie.quinn/media_set?set=a.655405427102.2211036.199108530&type=1
- Lock offs and locking clips - http://www.carseatsite.com/lockingclips.htm & http://carseatblog.com/28049/lockoffs-what-you-need-to-know-which-carseats-have-them/ & http://csftl.org/lock-it-up-how-to-lock-a-seat-belt-for-car-seat-installation/
Info about selling used car seats - http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/cons/garage-eng.php
Expiry date list from Transport Canada - http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/safedrivers-childsafety-notices-2011c01-1168.htm
Transport Canada's child restraint recall list - https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/safedrivers-childsafety-notices-menu-907.htm
Where to find a Canadian car seat tech: