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Old 06-22-2010, 02:32 PM   #1
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rear bench seat safety harness

One thing that freaks my wife out about the RB 50 layout is the fact that the rear bench seat only has one shoulder belt and the other is a lap belt. We have kids that are still in booster seats (ages 5 and 7). The lap belt is proven to not be safe in an accident and will actually cause more problems in some cases. This was a big concern for us and I know the Westfalia people have made a shoulder belt retrofit package for this reason. However we don't have anything like that for the Ford nor that will work with the cabinets on the one side so no place to mount an upper shoulder belt.

I found something that seems to do the trick and was designed for seats with lap belts only. We have an advantage as our SMB came with the latch system installed from the factory on the original build sheet. I am sure that you could retrofit the rear attachment point somewhat easily even without the latch system. For kids 66lbs - 168lbs.

The company and product is here;
http://www.ezonpro.com/products/fami...yHarness.shtml

You can't order directly from them however but if you go to their distributors site they may have one in your state. I called the company and asked where to buy it if I didn't have one in my state and they gave me this number for EZ Way Safety Services (800) 543-0575. They sell it for $75. I ordered one today and will let you know how it works. Just a note they are used to selling it to organizations and schools so tell them you are an individual and there should be no problem.

Here is their website info;
http://www.easywaysafetyservices.com/gpage2.html

Hope this helps you as I have researched this topic extensively on the web and they all point to this harness system as the best way to make the lap belt safe with kids. The Westfalia boards talk about this issue in depth as their vans also are lap belt only.

Also I found this company through research as I am not affiliated with them what so ever... etc etc. Will post up review when I get it.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:52 PM   #2
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Re: rear bench seat safety harness

Thank you very much for posting this. We have 3 kids (7, 7 and 3) and our middle seat doesn't have a shoulder belt only a lap belt. We're using a standard Ford 3rd row bench seat (rows 2 and 4 have been removed). 08s and newer have an integrated shoulder belt for the middle seat but our van is an 06.

It isn't an issue yet since a full car seat is in the middle seat and is LATCHed in. Eventually the little booger grows up and out of a car seat. Your info has made my day. Wifey would be pleased as well.

Ray + lovely wife + our 3 kids
06 Ford E350 RB 5.4 2WD
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:22 PM   #3
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Re: rear bench seat safety harness

Thanks for this information and the links really helpful. One question, does this work only when the kids are out of the "booster" type seat or would it replace the "booster" in the car seat timeline?
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:36 PM   #4
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Re: rear bench seat safety harness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle
Thanks for this information and the links really helpful. One question, does this work only when the kids are out of the "booster" type seat or would it replace the "booster" in the car seat timeline?

You know I am not sure... that is a great question. I looked up purpose of booster seat (cut and pasted below).... After reading that the main purpose of a booster seat seems to get the kid up so the shoulder belt rides at the appropriate height across the chest. With this harness it obviously sits where it should with or without a booster seat. I am thinking it skips the booster seat altogether which is great since it will be one less thing we have to move when we set up for camp. I won't know for sure until we have the harness and try it all out. I will take some pics of it with kid in when I get it. If so then I am ordering another one so we can leave the booster seats at home and skip the other shoulder belt altogether.

Zach



Why We Use Booster Seats?
Safety belts are not designed for children. Beginning at around age 4, many children are too large for toddler seats but too small for adult safety belts. A booster seat raises your child up so that the safety belt fits right – and can better protect your child. The shoulder belt should cross the child’s chest and rest snugly on the shoulder, and the lap belt should rest low across the pelvis or hip area – never across the stomach area.

In the event of a crash, the poor positioning of a seat belt can cause a child severe or even fatal injuries. The main purpose of a booster seat is to allow proper belt positioning for children. The lap belt should rest low across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt should fit snug on the shoulder and across the chest. A booster seat raises your child and guides the belt to achieve this fit.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:01 PM   #5
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Re: rear bench seat safety harness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roonie
One thing that freaks my wife out about the RB 50 layout is the fact that the rear bench seat only has one shoulder belt and the other is a lap belt. We have kids that are still in booster seats (ages 5 and 7). The lap belt is proven to not be safe in an accident and will actually cause more problems in some cases. This was a big concern for us and I know the Westfalia people have made a shoulder belt retrofit package for this reason. However we don't have anything like that for the Ford nor that will work with the cabinets on the one side so no place to mount an upper shoulder belt.

I found something that seems to do the trick and was designed for seats with lap belts only. We have an advantage as our SMB came with the latch system installed from the factory on the original build sheet. I am sure that you could retrofit the rear attachment point somewhat easily even without the latch system. For kids 66lbs - 168lbs.

The company and product is here;
http://www.ezonpro.com/products/fami...yHarness.shtml

You can't order directly from them however but if you go to their distributors site they may have one in your state. I called the company and asked where to buy it if I didn't have one in my state and they gave me this number for EZ Way Safety Services (800) 543-0575. They sell it for $75. I ordered one today and will let you know how it works. Just a note they are used to selling it to organizations and schools so tell them you are an individual and there should be no problem.

Here is their website info;
http://www.easywaysafetyservices.com/gpage2.html

Hope this helps you as I have researched this topic extensively on the web and they all point to this harness system as the best way to make the lap belt safe with kids. The Westfalia boards talk about this issue in depth as their vans also are lap belt only.

Also I found this company through research as I am not affiliated with them what so ever... etc etc. Will post up review when I get it.

Very helpful info, thanks for posting. We've also got 3 kids about the same ages. We have an extra captain's chair in an EB51 setup, but still need another seat with a shoulder harness. I'll be ordering one of these asap.

Just curious, where do you intend to anchor the harness behind the bench seat? I can't imagine any natural spots except to the frame of the bench seat itself. I'll figure something out. Anything is better than a lap belt only.

Rob
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:53 PM   #6
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Re: rear bench seat safety harness

Another thing to consider beyond the Shoulder belts is headrests. Having a headrest decreases the chance of neck injuries in an MVA by 40%. I think it is seriously remiss of SMB not to have these things built in as standard or at least as options for the bench seat options.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:44 PM   #7
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Re: rear bench seat safety harness

I have the latch setup which is basically a metal bar behind the seat where some belts are attached to it already. It looks like it is almost part of the bench seat itself.

As far as the head rest is considered we also looked into this as well. There are no aftermarket removable headrests made for this seat that I have found. We have however found big kid booster seats with a headrest built in that is adjustable to growth. We have one and considered getting another one for our other kid. It should be able to be used with the harness.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:55 AM   #8
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Re: rear bench seat safety harness

Yes, there's a thick piece of steel (with a hole in it) bolted to the frame of the bench where you attach/clip the back of the harness. This is the same place you would attach the strap from your toddler seat. They're very common (the attaching point), you see them on the rear deck of a passenger car and you see them on the bottom of bucket seats. Recent bench seats are the same. When I get some time I can take a pict of this as I already have two of the bench seats removed.

Regarding headrests for the youngins ... currently the booster seats we use are in two parts, the bottom part the helps elevate them as already describe and a back part that is adjustable in height. We have them pulled up high enough to prevent whiplash in case of an accident. The headrest portion also have little wings canted inward at about 30 degrees to minimize the side to side movement.

Eventually they outgrow the boosters, then I have a larger problem to deal with because the bench seat has no headrests. In a different post someone has thrown a lot of money at the problem and replaced the bench seat with Sprinter buckets (and they look fabulous). I'm still researching a lower cost alternative so all of us can enjoy our van excursions.

Hope this helps™,
Ray
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:50 PM   #9
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rear bench seat safety harness

I'm the one experimenting with Sprinter bench seats. The van was just completed and is scheduled to be delivered Friday.

As far as costs are concerned:

1. You can find the benches on Ebay for about $700-$1,000.

2. I paid $1,000 per seating position to have the brackets installed (3 per bench). Ultimately, the bracket installation was very simple. I think it could be done by anyone now that I've seen it.

3. SMB West charged $400 to raise the floor slightly from standard to make the brackets flush.

Completion photos/explination to follow shortly. Watch topic "Large Family Sportsmobile".
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:23 AM   #10
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Re: rear bench seat safety harness

I did a bit more internet research and learned about this product. Very similar to the other harness. I've ordered one and will give a report after giving it a try. It is more expensive, but I liked this design's ability to reposition and direct the shoulder strap into the proper position for a smaller child.

http://www.safetrafficsystem.com/


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