One of the most common questions asked when talking about extended rear-facing (ERF) car seats relates to car seat tethers or tethering car seats; and sometimes even just: “what is a car seat tether?”.
In short, a car seat tether is a way of attaching one object to another, and, in the installation of ERF car seats, this is commonly done by using a fabric strap, that attaches at one end to the car, and at the other, the tether strap attaches to the Extended Rear Facing Car Seat. Once the tether strap is attached at both ends, it is tightened to create a firm fit between car and car seat. In most ERF installs, there will be two tether straps, and they’ll be located at the rear of the car seat.
When using a tether strap in the installation of an ERF car seat, typically the most secure point to connect to the car, is at the cars seat runners. These are the runners that the cars own seat slides back and forth on when adjusting legroom. In some cases, the seat runners may give little space underneath them, or may have some tricky obstacles to get around, but with persistence, we’ve not found one that we’ve not been able to get around. We do find that more and more cars now do have raised runners these days, and are becoming less tricky to loop the strap around. Right now, the only brand of car that has its own built-in tether points is Volvo*, though there are products on the market that can be retrospectively fitted to the car that will replicate the Volvo loop – these will not fit all cars, but can be a handy add-on.
Typically, an extended rear facing seat that is tethered, will be predominantly secured in place by the cars own seatbelt – the seatbelt acts as an anchor for the car seat and securely holds the seat in the leg/feet area of the child. The tethers would typically be at the opposite corners, to the rear of the car seat (behind the child’s hip area). In most cases, the four anchor points that are created will run in four opposite directions, and ensure a good solid fit.
We’ll explain a little more in the video below.
*we see the loops built into most Volvo models, and are located at the rear end of the runners, under the front driver and passenger seats.