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Old 01-18-2021, 06:52 PM   #1
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Safety of rear seating....

Sorry if this has been discussed. Did a quick search but didn't find what I was looking for....

In SMB vans that have the rear Gaucho beds (I think that is what they are called) with the benches running along each side of the rear part of van, how safe are they for normal driving? It looks like they have lap belts but the passenger would be seated perpendicular to the direction of travel.

Attached a pic of what I am referring to. I am not trying to put a baby carrier in. Have 2 teen daughters.

TIA
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Old 01-18-2021, 07:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardifftodd View Post
...Have 2 teen daughters.
Seems to me this could be your answer if either has a license already - put them in the front seats!

To your question, I had the same thoughts when I purchased our Van. It really was a non issue since its just the two of us, so never felt the need to pursue it. Subscribing to your thread since I too would like to see what answers develop.
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Old 01-18-2021, 07:14 PM   #3
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Yeah, it seems like most of the vans, especially RB versions, are built with only 2 people in mind. I'd like to be able to travel safely with 4 people. Putting one of the teens in the driver's seat means we'll all end up dead!
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:28 PM   #4
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I don't think you will find any "crash tests" on that type of seating. Are the occupants safe in a crash? Obviously not, but it's similar to a riding in a bus - no belts or restraints of any kind on the city bus.

We've used seats like that in our van while underway for thousands of miles. Knowing I have unrestrained people back there, I take it ultra safe, slow and easy.

So if you want to use those seats while driving, I'd say relax, slow down, and drive like a bus driver - conservatively and safely at lower speeds, staying in the center or the right lane. Enjoy the journey!
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:58 PM   #5
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My van has basically the same gaucho. There are seatbelts that I tuck underneath most of the time. They're proper belts and securely anchored to the van (not the gaucho frame), so my main concern would be the geometry and the lack of shoulder restraints.

The people I bought it from were selling because they had young kids and couldn't put car seats in the sideways-facing gaucho seats. Their replacement was a Westfalia that had basically an RB50 layout. That kind of forward-facing Z-bed seat is probably the best you can do safety-wise, although most of them will still lack head restraints.

It's worth noting that side-facing jumpseats *do* exist in "official" form in other vehicles -- I've ridden in one in an extended-cab Ford Ranger, for example.
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:28 PM   #6
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Appreciate the above comments. I agree, they are definitely a compromise. I love the Westfalia layout (and VWs in general) but they aren't going to make it 2400 miles roundtrip towing my boat in the summer!
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:46 PM   #7
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Sportsmobile made a few layouts that had forward-facing rear seats. They seem particularly sought after, probably for all the reasons you've noted.
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:00 AM   #8
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The ModVans CV1 comes with safe and comfortable seating for 5. You can add a 3rd row for 7 seats total. All seats come with 3 point seat belts, LATCH and car seat tether anchors. https://www.modvans.com
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Old 01-28-2021, 12:42 PM   #9
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If you need more forward facing seats with proper restraints, you'll need to look for a model with second row captains. They aren't super common, but they're out there. You give up cabinets but, you'll have a safer setup for passengers.
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Old 01-28-2021, 01:00 PM   #10
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Just guessing, but I'd say have the two girls sit on opposite sides of the van. If really concerned you might check out installing shoulder harness straps -- the ones that run diagonally across the body. I suspect they'd only work for the very back position on the Gaucho benches, as you probably have windows across the center part of those benches, so no place to secure the top part of the belts.

We've got the same layout so I've put a bit of thought into it, but don't carry many passengers during the pandemic so I figure I've got time.

https://www.seatbeltsplus.com/product/WSCH300.html

https://www.wescoperformance.com/1126s.html
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