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Old 11-09-2008, 11:35 PM   #1
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side facing seats and kids...safe or not?

howdy, im getting ready to pull the trigger on a used smb. for quite a while now ive been thinking that we would go with an eb 50 or 51 layout, possibly with extra capt seat, which is similar to our old syncro westy, which worked fairly well for us with our two kids, (3 and 5) but wanted to know if anybody has any thoughts on side facing seats and their compatability with children/safety. im getting cinflicting opinions on the safety of the lapbelt situation for these kids as they get older. i did read that according to chp guidelines, car seats are never to be used on side facing seats. but what about when they are older? would you feel comfortable overall with kids in the gaucho seats?
im starting to ponder again a floorplan that has four captain seats maybe...
but i must say there are some really good layouts with the gaucho type seats.
anyway, just wondering if anyone has any particular thoughts on the subject! thanks, jas
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:47 AM   #2
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http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/portal/site/nh ... 060008a0c/

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/DO ... sFinal.pdf

This second link gets specific about side facing restraints for children.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:28 AM   #3
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This is just my opinion, and I'm sorry to complicate your decision, but here goes. Our third-hand SMB has only the two front seats and the dinette sideways seats in the rear. Despite the presence of lapbelts for these rear seats, we will not let anybody ride back there. That would be true even if the sideways seats had true shoulder-and-lap belts. As I get it, having your body thrown sideways against a lap and a shoulder belt can do a lot more damage to it than having your body thrown forward. So, for us, our rig is a two-passenger vehicle when moving. On a brighter note, once you make your decision, you'll love your SMB!!
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:20 PM   #4
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I thought both the 50 and 51 floorplans had a forward facing bench seat that makes into the lower bed. Neither one seems to have a side facing gaucho or sofa.

Or is there something I'm missing in your concerns?

Mike
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:26 PM   #5
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We use them but since we have no kids at home, very seldom. Maybe twice a month hauling the nephew around.

Since my wife has a Miata, the SMB gets the occasional chore of taxi.

I have been in side-way seats in airplanes and in helicopters, BART (our rapid transit system) has sideways seats. I would definitely buckle up in one.

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Keith
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:33 PM   #6
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My brother did the research on side seats for his 3 and 4 year old and determined they were O.K. both from safety and legality, enough so that he bought a Sprinter with a side bench for the kids.

Of course the younger one gets terribly car sick sitting sideways, so it wasn't 100% perfect. Try the search too, I know this has come up before.
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