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Underfloor storage and car seat support legs

(18 Posts)
Tangle Tue 01-Dec-09 16:10:05

Partly looking for any suggestions and partly to share my horror!

We currently have an Audi A3 Sportback and have one DD (2.7) RF in a BeSafe IziKid. DC2 is expected in a couple of months and, with the best will, in the world, the Audi just isn't going to be big enough to be our main family car - so we've been looking at larger options. Both the BeSafe and the infant carrier we have use support legs. When we bought the infant carrier for DD I remember being told that you had to be very careful with support legs and underfloor storage, and so was suprised that so many "family" vehicles have underfloor storage fitted as standard.

What really shocked me, however, was when one dealership told us "it does seem odd - but I'm sure they wouldn't do it if it wasn't safe" (which was at least presented as a personal opinion), but the lady then called over a colleague who told us "if the car seats fitted with ISOFIX then you don't need to use the support leg." Ehhh shock angry?????!!!!!!!

I know that they're there to sell cars, but this astounded me (to the point I'm writing to their central office to recommend training for their staff on this issue).

Anyhow, just to make sure I hadn't over reacted I talked to the In Car Safety team from Essex County Council, who confirmed that if a seat has been designed with a support leg it must be used (howsoever it is sequred to the car) and that it is NOT safe to use a child seat that has a support leg with underfloor storage. There are three exceptions to this:
- if the cover can be removed and the leg fits squarely on the base of the storage compartment.
- if the foot of the leg misses the storge compartment altogether.
- if the car manufacturer have produced a filler for the storage compartment (to her knowledge this is only available on the VW Touran or the Ford S-Max at the moment).

So, having shared what I found out I'll get onto the question - has anyone managed to fit a BeSafe into a car with underfloor storage using one of the methods above and, if so, which car was it?


thisisyesterday Tue 01-Dec-09 16:14:44

i would just look for a car without the storage box tbh!!!

we have a volvo v70 which fits 3 across the back, one of which is a besafe

Tangle Tue 01-Dec-09 16:30:31

That is one option - and it may simplify things a lot! I'm just really suprised by how many family vehicles have underfloor storage that is non-options. IIRC most mini-MPVs now seem to have it. Items on our wish list at the moment included not too massive, higher driving position and the option to put an extra adult or two in occasionally - and we're struggling to find anything that has all of those and has an option to NOT have underfloor storage. We may well have to compromise and if we do then it won't be on safety.

I'm still just amazed that car manufacturers don't seem to have recognised that this is an issue for families, and horrified by the response I mentioned above.

thisisyesterday Tue 01-Dec-09 20:15:00

yes, i guess part of the problem is that rear-facing seats just aren't the norm over here, so they don't take that into account.

otherwise it's a touran or an smax for you! lol

how about the toyota corolla verso?

Tangle Tue 01-Dec-09 20:50:39

If it was just RF seats I would be less concerned, but I got the impression there's a fair few seats that go on ISOFIX bases that have a support leg.

The New Verso has underfloor storage on all option packs... Older models had the storage as optional. Having seen it, though, the rear seats are sooo small I'm not sure they're worth having.

Touran's just seem so big, and I'm anti-Ford. Difficult to please, I know wink.

moomaa Tue 01-Dec-09 21:04:23

We had same dilema, went for an old style Verso, am very pleased with it. Touran is not very much bigger at all, literally a couple of centimeteres. It was the other car we were considering.

We went to a country park on a weekday and peered through all the windows of cars we liked to see which fitted 3 car seats accross the back with legs

thisisyesterday Tue 01-Dec-09 21:06:29

ahh i quite like the touran! lol

are you def looking to buy new?

thisisyesterday Tue 01-Dec-09 21:08:01

what about something like the volvo xc60?

moosemama Tue 01-Dec-09 21:21:52

We have an older style Xsara Picasso and had the same problem with dd's infant carrier - until we realised that we could sit her older forward facing brothers on the outside seats and fit her in the middle where there's no storage compartment.

Not sure its a long term solution though, as once she needs the next stage seat, if we want her to be rear facing I think an awful lot of the seats are designed to be braced against the front passenger seat.

thisisyesterday Tue 01-Dec-09 21:35:08

no, they can brace between the front 2 seats.

we have the britax 2 way elite in the middle of the volvo and it braces on both front seats.

we had to have the besafe on the side seat because we have the raised bit in the middle of the floor in the back, and they don't like you using the support leg on that either.
well, they said we should check with volvo that it was strong enough, which i suspect it may well be as it's a swedish car, but we didn't want to risk it

nicm Tue 01-Dec-09 22:00:48

we had the same problem and it's amazing-no one in the car show rooms seem to know about the underfloor storage and so many seats now not just the rf ones have legs now. don't get a scenic btw-the underfloor storage will be the least of your worries lol! wink

Tangle Wed 02-Dec-09 11:33:57

Yes - we'd heard dodgey things about Citroen. They're not on our short list!

We're not definitely planning on buying new - but it does illustrate how the problem is only going to get worse over time.

One thing I'm trying to get my head around (and get DH to stop and think about) is how much of an issue the extra seats are and how important the height issue is. We took the Honda CRV for a test drive and it was SOOOO much easier to get DD in and out, and SOOOO much easier to get ME in and out as well so that one is quite tempting.

We need to get round to looking at Volvo, I just have in my head that they're HUGE. Will try and find the details for the Touran. Its amazing how different the inside space can be for cars with really similar outside dimensions as well - just to add to the fun and games...

Oh, and to complicate things, we're expecting not to be able to put the infant carrier in the middle as its ISOFIX and most vehicles we've seen don't have ISOFIX mount points on the centre seat (even if they're 3 seperate seats, from what I can tell), and I'd be wary of using the support leg on a raised area of floor...

Thanks for the ideas though - any more gratefully received

moosemama Wed 02-Dec-09 21:05:28

Scenics are Renault not Citroen.

Fwiw, Citroen Picasso are one of the most popular cars in their class in the UK, for good reason. I always thought Citroens would be unreliable, but on doing the research when we were looking for a car to fit 3 dcs in the back, I discovered they're actually very reliable. They also have 3 isofix points and no central floor hump.

I was adamant I didn't want one, until after searching for months to find a car that suited our needs (we need a big boot as well, as we have 3 dogs) we got desperate and gave one a try. Its been great. Suited our needs perfectly, fits all 3 dcs and all 3 dogs in with room to spare and <touch wood> has been 100% reliable so far.

EsmeWeatherwax Wed 02-Dec-09 21:17:54

Don't know if you would consider a Vauxhall, but Zafiras don't have underfloor storage in the back.

Adventuredad Sun 06-Dec-09 20:11:59

The issue with underfloor storage is not as simple as it sounds. Manufacturers say no but experts still say it's safe and routinely install RF seats with support leg in cars such as VW Touran, C4, Picasso, Citroen Berlingo.

If a support leg is there for a car seat it should be used regardless if it's Isofix or not.

The solution for VW Touran is a simple filler which cost ?20. It's just simple piece of regular styrofoam.

Most people don't know this but at least Swedish RF car seats are tested unofficially and pass without support leg. This is a precaution in case parents forget/disregard to use support leg.

Using a Swedish RF seat is easy in this situation. Simply use support leg and also lean on front seat. This give the ultimate protection. Doesn't matter if underfloor storage is there since front seat is helping out.

thisisyesterday Sun 06-Dec-09 20:15:28

which seats are swedish adventuredad?

PurpleCrazyHorse Tue 19-Jan-10 16:45:55

We've had to use our Maxi Cosi Easyfix (Isofix) base in our Citroen C3 Picasso with underfloor storage. The leg doesn't quite reach the floor if the lid is up so we have no choice at the mo than to use it on the lid. TBH we still reckon the isofix is safer than just securing the seat with the seatbelt (and no base). It's a risk though

Shocking that family cars have this but don't supply fillers. With that in mind we're sure not to get a stage 1 seat with a leg.

Tvetenia Wed 17-Mar-10 09:51:56

I am a bit confused about the information on the Maxi Cosi web site - its image of the Citroen C3 picasso has 7 seats, not 5, and our model has no underfloor storage. Does anyone have a C3 Picasso VTR+ and use the Easyfix base with isofix and the leg?

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