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      07-21-2009, 06:17 PM   #1
autofocus
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Is there a latch for putting a car seat in the middle of the back seat?

I'm asking because in my A4 the manual states you can either use the two side seats where the seatbelts are, or you can use the latch system and place the car seat in between the two back seats.

I prefer this because psychologically when driving I don't have to wonder about which side of the car to favor, if g-d forbid I got into an accident. My kid is in the middle, and the middle is the safest place for kids to be, statistics show this.

So my question is whether the M3 requires the seat to be in one of the two back seats, thus requiring it to be close to one side of the car, or if you can put it in the middle.

Anyone with the manual and kids know?
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      07-21-2009, 06:43 PM   #2
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There is a tether strap but not the anchors for the through loading system. What sort of seat is it? I have two kids in booster seats and one that doesn't use a booster seat anymore. They all fit in the back seat(for now.)
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      07-21-2009, 07:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyRoaster View Post
There is a tether strap but not the anchors for the through loading system. What sort of seat is it? I have two kids in booster seats and one that doesn't use a booster seat anymore. They all fit in the back seat(for now.)

Not sure I follow. So it's OK to put a car seat in the middle, in between both side seats? OK as in the car is designed for it and the manual authorizes it as a safe place?

I have a regular forward facing seat for a 2+ year old.
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      07-22-2009, 08:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autofocus View Post
Not sure I follow. So it's OK to put a car seat in the middle, in between both side seats? OK as in the car is designed for it and the manual authorizes it as a safe place?
E92/E93 - no.
E90 - yes.

In other words, the E90 is a five seat car and includes a center rear seat. The E92/93 are four seaters, and while I do not have the manual here, I cannot see how it is possibly safe or recommended to put a child seat of any kind in the center in those cars. Not to mention, it would destroy your center console section back there.

For historical persepctive - the E46 coupes (M3 and otherwise) were five-seaters just like the sedan. The convertible was a four seater. Now, with the E9x, the coupe is a four-seater (a "2+2" if you will) just like the convertible.
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      07-22-2009, 11:42 AM   #5
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Middle is the safest place in most cars, i have the coupe not sure if you can use the latches in the middle though for the sedan. Check the manual?
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      07-22-2009, 12:57 PM   #6
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I have checked the manual for the Sedan,which is posted on this site, I find it a little confusing as to whether you can put a baby seat in the middle. There are only 4 'LATCH' positions in the rear of the sedan but 3 tethers in the parcel shelf area.

I wonder if anyone knows if LATCH systems can latch from both directions (ie. the left and the right side) or if you can only latch it from one side?
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      07-22-2009, 12:58 PM   #7
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In any case, I'm certain you could use the center seatbelt to secure the baby seat in the middle position.
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      07-22-2009, 01:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMOCHOSTO View Post
I wonder if anyone knows if LATCH systems can latch from both directions (ie. the left and the right side) or if you can only latch it from one side?
The LATCH mechanisms are just a simple metal hook that grips onto a small metal bar in the seat. So yes, they could be used in the way you suggest. I admitedly have never tried this in our E90 335i but I'm think it will be possible as long as there is enough space between them to fit the car seat in question. I suppose as long as nothing in the manual explicity forbids it, it shoudl be fine to do assuming you can get the seat secured adequately in the center seat while using the LATCH anchors.
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      07-22-2009, 02:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
The LATCH mechanisms are just a simple metal hook that grips onto a small metal bar in the seat. So yes, they could be used in the way you suggest. I admitedly have never tried this in our E90 335i but I'm think it will be possible as long as there is enough space between them to fit the car seat in question. I suppose as long as nothing in the manual explicity forbids it, it shoudl be fine to do assuming you can get the seat secured adequately in the center seat while using the LATCH anchors.
Thanks,

My pre-natal parenting class said that the middle position is safest for baby (and anyone else I guess) so good to know I can LATCH the boy in the middle!
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      07-22-2009, 02:10 PM   #10
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My S4 had the same setup...3 tether hooks, and 4 LATCH connectors.

Don't remember if it was in the manual or not, but you were not supposed to use the LATCH connectors to secure the car seat in the middle as it was unsafe for some reason.

The E90 may be the same.... a quick call to BMW USA might give you the answer?


More info here (second "6Q" question): http://www.car-safety.org/latchfaq.html

Last edited by roofone; 07-22-2009 at 02:21 PM. Reason: Adding link to external info
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      07-22-2009, 04:24 PM   #11
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Wow, thanks for posting roofone. I wonder what the problem with using the the anchors to mount the seat in the middle in the general case? It seems like, as long as the spacing is correct, it should be perfectly fine.

I agree, calling BMW is the best idea. You could also search E90Post and see if this has ever been covered there.
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      07-22-2009, 06:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roofone View Post
My S4 had the same setup...3 tether hooks, and 4 LATCH connectors.

Don't remember if it was in the manual or not, but you were not supposed to use the LATCH connectors to secure the car seat in the middle as it was unsafe for some reason.

The E90 may be the same.... a quick call to BMW USA might give you the answer?


More info here (second "6Q" question): http://www.car-safety.org/latchfaq.html
Nice find.

Thanks!
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      07-22-2009, 10:13 PM   #13
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Works perfectly in the middle. Fastens to the inner latch on both sides.
I do it every day in my e90 m3. Cheers.
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      07-23-2009, 12:24 AM   #14
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Sorry if I was vague on the last post. The manual is a bit confusing on the issue. If your seat uses the seat belt and tether anchor, it should work fine to put the seat in the center. There is sort of a hump in the middle seat, so it depends on how wide the child seat is. I would take the seat up to the dealer and see how it fits.
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      07-23-2009, 06:38 AM   #15
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A baby seat cannot be placed in the middle on the E92M.
I have tried and the seat would have to sit on the middle console. Not to mention, it would be easier to have it placed in one of the rear seats so you dont have to get into the rear seats to get the car seat out (for a baby)
The console in the rear could get scratched up pretty badly with the carseat moving around on it.
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      07-23-2009, 09:49 AM   #16
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I assume he was asking about the E90. It would not work in the coupe or convertible.
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      07-23-2009, 10:06 AM   #17
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To try and get the official answer I called BMW, who said to call my dealer, who didn't seem to know but said "they probably weren't intended to be used that way."

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
I wonder what the problem with using the the anchors to mount the seat in the middle in the general case? It seems like, as long as the spacing is correct, it should be perfectly fine.
So in lieu of offical word, I dug up the thread where I got my info originally: http://forums.audiworld.com/showthread.php?t=2691344,

Convincing bit here:

"The distance between the lower anchors is defined as 280mm (11") apart on center and is the same as the ISO-FIX standard found in Europe. It is not arbitrary and is not a 'function of specific dimensions of the vehicle seat.' When you use the inner two anchor points from the outer seats for a center seat install, the anchors greatly exceed 11" in the Q7 (around 16-17"). Do you know or can you say with conviction that the anchors were designed and tested with a force load that is different than the LATCH standard? I don't and can't, so whenever I use the middle seat, I always use the seat belt -- why chance it?"

So a car seat may be fine in the middle of the E90 if the spacing is right, but, for me, it isn't worth the risk.

Last edited by roofone; 07-23-2009 at 10:23 AM.
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      07-23-2009, 10:30 AM   #18
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I just measured my 09 sedan and the distance between the lower anchors on the right and left side is 11 inches. If you use the two inner anchors, the distance is 11 1/4 inches so it should work fine.
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      07-23-2009, 10:34 AM   #19
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Thanks again for the link roofone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roofone View Post
So a car seat may be fine in the middle of the E90 if the spacing is right--I'll measure it when I get home tonight.
Yep - and it all makes perfect sense too, based on the explanation the poster in the Audi forum provided. I.e. the forces on the latch belts and latches will be different if the spacing is wider (or narrower).

So it sounds to me like, as long as the spacing is correct (within some small threshold - though I would not want venture a guess as to what that threshold might be) it should be fine.

I have to say, this issue brings up some questions about the LATCH system itself. At the link you had posted earlier, the answer to the previous question (5Q) said this:

...those anchors are required to be a specified distance apart for safety protection in a crash. Because of this required spacing between the lower anchorages, most vehicles do not have a rear seat that is wide enough to accommodate anchorages in the center seating position and in an adjacent outboard position.

Ok - great. But that doesn't mean that you could not use LATCH to attach a child seat in the center seat of the car alone with no child seats on either side. I think this was a poor design decision - to not require or even recommend the latch tethers in the middle seat simply because it would allow someone to erroneously install two seats using LATCH too close to one another (i.e in adjacent seats). Why? Because, presumably it would be no safer to have adjacent child seats where the center one is using the seat belt, instead of the LATCH system. So, you can still screw it up if you are determined. To me, all that not having center LATCH attachments does is ensure that no one will ever be able to install a child seat in the center in a reasonable way. I say reasonable because, based on my years of experience installing these things, the LATCH system is much, much more likely to give you a safe, proper install than the belt. You can do it right with the belt, but I'll bet that fewer than 50% of people do. Hence the creation of the LATCH system to begin with - it was just too hard for most people to use the safety belts and get it right.
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      07-23-2009, 10:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyRoaster View Post
I just measured my 09 sedan and the distance between the lower anchors on the right and left side is 11 inches. If you use the two inner anchors, the distance is 11 1/4 inches so it should work fine.
Thanks for measuring. I would tend to agree with your conclusion. After all, the LATCH anchor brackets in the seats are roughly an inch wide themselves. And the hooks that attach to them are free to float back and forth on the anchors. So clearly some variance in the distance between the hooks when they are attached is expected and acceptable.
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      07-23-2009, 01:04 PM   #21
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I have a forward facing seat in the back of my E90 in the center position. I used both the latches (sides and top) and the seatbelt. I don't see where it can hurt to have more support so why not use both?

I've read the fact that NHTSA tests with both the seatbelt and the latch system but not both together and for that reason, you shouldn't use both since it hasn't been tested in that setup. Seems like BS to me. If the seat is strong enough to hold up to either, a second strap can't possibly hurt anything.
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      07-23-2009, 01:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorscheRacer View Post
I used both the latches (sides and top) and the seatbelt. I don't see where it can hurt to have more support so why not use both?
Your thinking about using both the LATCH connections and seatbelt may be sound, but I wouldn't do it since it hasn't been tested, isn't recommended, and isn't necessary.

Link (another!) to a discussion on it: http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=88964.

Quote:
It is NOT advised to use both and in fact might even be dangerous.

Seats are tested stringently to particular standards. Either the seats weren't tested with both, or DID test with both and failed dismally. We have no way of knowing, and in either case, you're putting the child in the seat in harms' way.
Quote:
There is some thought (and keep in mind this is just speculation, but it makes sense) that using both systems can make a crash harder on a child.

In a crash, even a super-tightened seatbelt or LATCH strap will stretch significantly, and that's a good thing. It allows the child to "ride down" the crash. If the belt/strap didn't stretch, the seat wouldn't move at all, and all the crash forces would be transferred onto the child.

One theory is that using the seatbelt and LATCH together will cause neither system to stretch enough, and therefore transfer more forces onto the kid.
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