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Old 09-09-2009, 11:56 AM   #1
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child safety

I hope I can get a few opinions here, so every comment is welcome.

So I am the proud father of two girls: 5 and 9 years old
They love to drive with daddy in his Boxster - and daddy loves to take them
So I got "the works": Porsche child seat + airbag de-activation bar

I also track my car as often as my wife and the economy allow me to and amongst other things I have a set of Momo bucket seats and 6-point harness, which I so far only use at the track.

So finally here comes the question:
I am not sure how safe the Porsche child seat + 3-point harness would protect be in case of a bad accident (not that I hope to ever have one), they're a bit wobbly in my opinion and I am wondering if it wouldn't be much safer to install the Momo seat + 6 point harness on the passenger seat and "strap my girls in"?

Opinions please

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Old 09-09-2009, 12:35 PM   #2
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Not sure what other will say, but when my kids were 10, 12 I strapped them in my old 944T (Momo seats and 5-pt harness). They actually liked sitting in those seats and told me that they felt very secure.
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Old 09-09-2009, 01:21 PM   #3
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My grandkids (7,8) ride in the Box with standard sport seats. Given the choice I would choose Momo w/harness and check their fit carefully.
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:38 AM   #4
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Chris,
I too take my 6 & 9 year olds with me in the Boxster with a Porsche child seat and deactivation bar, and share your opinion of the quality of the Porsche seat. I donít know what model child seat you are using but mine is an early re-badged Britax seat. Britax has since discontinued this seat and replaced it with at least one if not two newer generations of this model with more head and neck protection and possibly other advancements as well.

You must consider that the 5 or 6 point racing type harness that I think you are referring to does not have the same recoil system that OE belts have that are designed to have some ďgiveĒ or stretch. This may be a (big) disadvantage to your kids as the aftermarket harness is essentially adjusted snugly in a fixed state that doesnít allow the users torso to move in the event of an accident and may concentrate greater forces to their (smaller/weaker) necks when their heads have any sudden movement. You must also make sure the shoulder belts are positioned correctly and donít do more harm than good in the event of an accident.

I donít know the specific details of seat belt design and am defiantly not an expert but this is one area that I will trust the designers of the factory system.

Iíve thought of buying a newer child seat for the safety updates and reusing the old airbag deactivation buckle.

There is probably lots of info on the web about how seatbelts are supposed to work with child occupants. Iím sure there are probably some legal issues with using an aftermarket system as well.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:17 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the opinions.
I figured and get a few more opinions and asked the same question on the grassrootsmotorsports forum.
One poster had a very good point, I quote:
"If you are using non DOT rated harnesses and your kid gets hurt (God forbid) then you will be seeing the wrong side of a court room real quick."

So I am sticking with the stock seat.
However I since detached the seatbelt buckle (the one which deactivates the airbag) from the Britax seat, so that I am no longer stuck with this seat and I can look for and use a better fitting child seat instead of the ill fitting Britax
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:19 PM   #6
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I like your idea about cutting off the belt and plugging it into the "D" bar. Now you can find another seat but remember; the Boxster (or any other Porsche I think) does not incorporate the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren). That system is the only way you'll have a totally secure child safety seat and then use it's four point harness, the Boxster's seat belt is never used.

With that said it can't be that difficult to design a better mouse trap. How about have a couple of LATCH mounts designed on a singe bar that will mount to the aft seat mounts (longer bolts if needed) and top "D" ring that mounts to the lower crossbar of the seat rollover halo.

If this can be done, safely and with quality materials it will help us all that have children and no wanting to buy a $600 seat that's worth less than $100. The next thing is the airbag.

My question to the community is;

Can the airbag be deactivated without the $250 "D" bar and $150 service charge by a mechanic?

I think this can be done and it maybe as little as pulling the fuse when a child is ridding with us. Airbag light comes on...that can be cleared by Durametrics software.

Love to hear your thoughts. I'm going to start a new tread with this and see where it goes
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Old 09-15-2009, 10:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxonalden
I like your idea about cutting off the belt and plugging it into the "D" bar. Now you can find another seat but remember; the Boxster (or any other Porsche I think) does not incorporate the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren). That system is the only way you'll have a totally secure child safety seat and then use it's four point harness, the Boxster's seat belt is never used.
I think that you may have a misunderstanding of the purpose of the LATCH system. This system was devised (and mandated on new vehicles built after September 2002) in order to provide an easier-to-use system for installing a child seat to a vehicle. It was felt that LATCH was necessary because many vehicle owners did not or could not install a child seat (particularly rear-facing infant seats) correctly as directed by the user's manual of the child seat itself. LATCH simply provides a standardized set of anchor points onto which the child seat attaches; the user still has to install, adjust and tension the straps on the child seat correctly. For much more detailed information, see: http://www.seatcheck.org/

Since some of the discussion in this thread seems to center on restraints for 5-9 year olds, it should also be understood that it's highly unlikely that a 5-year-old would still be using the harnesses that are built into some forward-facing child seats. This is because the upper weight limit on most of the child seat mounted harness belts is 40 pounds. For this reason, a 5-year-old would most likely be using a booster seat which restrains the child via the vehicle's seat belt. If you can coerce a 9-year-old into actually using a booster, they should absolutely not be using the harnesses that were built into the child seat, unless the child is exceptionally small and light . For exact information on the recommended belt usage with your child seat, see the user's manual that came with the child seat. It should be in the pouch or slot on the seat itself.

I just checked my 2000 Boxster and found that the passenger's seat belt is a dual-mode type: Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) for belt locking during frontal crashes, and Automatic Locking Retractor (ALR) for easier child seat installation. You engage the ALR mode by pulling the belt webbing out fully and then allowing it to retract after routing the belt (correctly) through the child seat's attachment points. The ALR mode is when the belt "ratchets" while it is retracting. The ALR mode makes a seat belt locking clip unnecessary when installing a child safety seat in the vehicle using the vehicle's seat belt. The LATCH system simplifies the child safety seat installation process because the vehicle's seat belt is not used to secure the child seat. LATCH equipped or not, any child safety seat with an integrated harness must be attached to the car seat very firmly. You may want to cover the car's seat with a towel to protect the leather before you strap down the child safety seat. Loosely fitting the child safety seat to the car's seat is one of the most common mistakes seen at safety seat checks. Above all, read and follow the directions that come with the child safety seat!

Of course, you would still need the airbag disable kit to safely use a rear-facing infant seat in the 986 Boxster. I could not recommend pulling the airbag fuses to disable the system, because that defeats the entire system - driver's airbags included. The Bentley manual says that beginning with the 2003 model year, each seat belt retractor has a pyrotechnic device to remove slack from the belt when the front airbags deploy. Extra safety for you!

BTW -- The factory-installed LATCH anchor points are crash-tested. Any homebrew LATCH-like system will not be crash tested...unless you volunteer for that duty!
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Last edited by Blue-S; 09-15-2009 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:07 AM   #8
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Points well taken, my child safety seat that's installed is so tight it feels like part of the seat. I don't feel the shoulder harness could get the same results.

Is the airbag only deactivated for rear facing baby seats?

I removed my other post on this subject.
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:17 AM   #9
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I am not familiar with the Porsche/Britax seat, but I assume that it's a "convertible" seat that can be installed rear facing (for infants) or forward facing for toddlers. If that's the case, then I suppose that the deactivation buckle would engage (to disable the passenger's side airbags) when the seat is mounted either forward or rear facing. The Seatcheck.org site recommends that all children 13 and younger should ride in the rear seat (in vehicles with a rear seat), which would also mean that they would not be exposed to a frontal airbag deployment.

I don't have much detail on the Boxster's restraint system. I would presume that by the 2000 model year they are using reduced airbag deployment force, as permitted by US regulations since around 1998. The change in the regulations was in response to reports of children injured or killed by airbag deployments. Prior US airbag regulations required that a 170-pound UNBELTED adult male must be restrained by the passive restraint system. The prior requirements led to very rapid and forceful airbag deployment, which was not ideal for children and smaller adult passengers.

I do not have the Porsche child seat airbag disabling system, but if I did have it I would disable the passenger bags when carrying a child who is under 100 pounds and/or under 4' 9" height. My opinion on that is based on the tips listed here: http://www.seatcheck.org/tips_safety_tips.html and also based on what I know about restraint systems. My 7 and 11 year olds love to ride in my Boxster, but I have no way to disable the passenger's airbags. It's not my daily driver so they're not in the car very often...

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