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Old 07-05-2010, 05:54 PM   #11
The Flash
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Drives: Firebird 95, Equinox 05, Camaro 2SS
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Panama
Posts: 250
Here's is what I have to offer on the subject

Hello monstertodd!

I have three kids myself, ages 5 1/2 years, 4 years and 2months old.

Even though I have another car designated to transport my children (an ’05 Chevrolet EQUINOX), there have been situations when I have had to transport them in the CAMARO, including my newborn.

As this last event happened recently I still have fresh in my head what happened.

Ok. I’ll try to be brief and share what I have experienced:

First: Since you are just planning now on having a baby, your first baby seat will actually be a base/carrier combination in which the base gets attached/hooked/fixed to the car seat and then the “carrier” attaches to the base for transportation in the car and detaches to take the child with you once you park your vehicle when you arrive at your destination.

Second: I suggest you check the CAMARO’s Owner’s manual and the car’s back seat for the location of the LATCH anchor system so that when you shop around for a base/carrier combo:

a) you are aware to ask for, and to look for a LATCH compatible/approved child restraint system, and

b) you have an idea of what should be the ideal size and shape of the “hooks” in the baby seat’s LATCH retention belt.

There are some baby seats I found which have long metallic (non coated) hooks that will mark or gouge the leather of the seats.

Most reputable brands offer their LATCH systems with hooks that are plastic covered or rubber coated, BUT NOT ALL COME WITH THIS FEATURE.

Third: I recommend you get a seat protector. They are sold at most dedicated baby stores and in the newborn department of larger department stores usually under the name “SEAT SAVER”

The underside of baby carriers, infant seats and most seat booster have lots of sharp plastic edges and protrusions which might scuff or damage your leather or fabric seat.

Remember that you will have to make the carrier base or baby seat get anchored very tightly against the seat, meaning you will have to pull on the straps of the baby seat until there is no movement or almost no movement of the device.

Setting the seat without a seat protector means you’ll get a nasty surprise when you have to switch into an infant safety seat some months down the road as your infant grows larger and is capable of sitting upright unassisted.

I always used seat protectors on the back seats of the EQUINOX and when it was time to change the child seats…. well I can say the protectors did their job!!

The leather on the back seat appeared to have large depressions in some parts, but there was no scuffing or scarring of the leather whatsoever and the depressions and marks were gone by themselves about one day after removing the seats.

The leather on the back seat of the CAMARO looks and feels way, way softer and thinner than that of the EQUINOX so I can almost guarantee you will regret it if you install a child seat there without the protector.

There are usually two types sold: the short ones which only cover the base of the seat (which are only good for base/carrier baby seats combos, which is what you will use first) and the larger ones which bend in the middle and offer protection for BOTH the base of the car seat and the back rest of the car seat.

The larger ones cost about twice the price of the short ones, yet the problem is that when you have to switch to a larger baby seat (when your child begins to sit upright unassisted) then you have to throw out the short seat protector (and then also throwing out the money you spent in it and trust me these are no cheap items, at least $25.00 for a good quality brand) in order to get protection for the backrest of the car seat as well.

The brand of baby care products “PRINCE LIONHEART” offers the solution I found most convenient: a two stage seat saver in which you have a shorter section for protection of the base of the car seat and then a back rest protector that attaches to the base or short section via Velcro (both sections have the Velcro pads already sewn in their backs) when its time to move up to the next level of child restraint system.

With this car seat protector you do not have to get a new one: just attach the upper part you kept when you first purchased it.

Keep this in mind when you shop around.

Also it would be a good idea to bring the car around to make sure the protector you buy has the slots/spaces for the baby seat straps spaced apart enough so that you can get the base of the carrier anchored to the LATCH system of the CAMARO without the seat protector getting in the way.

Make sure the protector you choose fits along with the baby carrier/seat of your choice.

Fourth: Set the base/carrier combo in the back seat behind the front passenger seat.

On the first trip I had to make with my newborn in the CAMARO I made the mistake of setting the carrier’s base behind my seat (driver’s seat).

Everything looked good and fit , EXCEPT that when my wife called to bring the carrier in with Gabriel and place him inside the car…AJAA!! then I discovered that the carrier and its large handle are way, way larger than the base that I already attached to the CAMARO’s backseat AND FURTHER TO THIS, the handle must fold forward and rest about the horizontal plane of the carrier/base combo.

So, I had to move the driver’s seat several inches forward which resulted into a cramped driving position!

And guess what?? At such time we were barely in time to make the baby’s appointment at his pediatrician for his first monthly check up.

As you probably guessed by now, there was no time to switch the baby seat to the other spot in the back seat so I had to drive as the set up was then!!

As much as I love driving the CAMARO I can tell you : driving a manual car with your legs bent is no fun. I was not close enough to the steering wheel (airbag) to call it unsafe yet I felt quite uncomfortable.

The only good thing is that this made me realize the one big flow in the CAMARO’S cockpit design : the reach to the shifter, as this was the first time ever, before and since, that all the shifts when quick, smoothly and precisely to the intended gate since I have owned the car.
In fact they even felt lighter in effort, so I concluded that, in the correct seating position for my height, the shifter is a couple of inches off place. But this is an issue to discuss elsewhere.

Back to your concern, I’m not a large guy at 1.72 mts so you can take this as an indication of what is in store for you if you fit the child seat behind your own seat!!

However this does not hold true for upright child seats and booster seats, as I commonly take both my elder kids to their school and in joy rides to the movies or ice cram shop, having them sitting in both sides of the CAMARO’s back seat on their infant seats with no hassle whatsoever.

Base/carrier seats are bulkier and tend to take more space, intentionally I think, to protect and shield the baby.

Fifth and final: Plan ahead and start the seat installation with plenty of time before you need to use it.

This I learned during the past years with my other cars and still holds true for the CAMARO: each car seating is unique, and properly installing children safety seats is a time consuming exercise, even in cars equipped with LATCH , even if you have previous experience, there is always something to hassle you!!!

The access to the back seat of the CAMARO is not easy even in a garage that allows you to open the door to their fullest with the front seats tilted and moved forward all out of the way : you will still find the space cramped so you have to be careful not to scratch any surface (seats, roof lining, back rests of the fronts seats, etc.) and not to pinch your fingers on any buckles or hooks.
Be hasty and you will regret it.

I tried to be explicit and informative without being boring to you.

I sincerely wish you and your partner and your future children enjoy your CAMARO for many, many years.

Drive safely!

The Flash
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