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Old 04-18-2012, 01:31 PM   #1
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Question Chassis installed 3 point and/or latch system seat belts

My family and I are getting ready to purchase our first RV, a Forester 3171. One of my big concerns is car seats for our kids who are 1 and 4. I've searched the internet and have come across several sites and threads proclaiming or dismissing the safety of seat belts in motorhomes. There are some threads on here to but none are really telling me how or who can properly install these belts into the vehicle.

We would want the 3 point belts and LATCH installed in the forward facing dinette seats and the 3 point belts in the side facing couch and rear facing dinette seats.

From what I've read seat belts can be installed in the metal frame. Most people have said they've installed them themselves but we would like them to be factory installed or at least a licensed mechanic through a dealer to install them.

The dealer that I did speak with while touring different RV's had no clue about this and it seems that it hard to get a contact at Forest River to ask this question directly.

So my question is has anyone had any type of belt professionally installed or have researched this with any luck, (or none).

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:54 PM   #2
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With liability issues, I'd be surprised anyone would put themselves out there to install seat belts for you. I'd suggest researching and purchasing appropriate belts and anchors and install them yourself. It's not that hard a job, then you know it's done correctly. Here's a link to a supplier:

Motorhome / RV Seat Belts
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:08 PM   #3
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My motorhome was built by Forest River and is the stepsister to the Forester -- same factory, just cheaper furnishings. It came with lap belts, 2 on each side of the dinette. They are bolted to metal framework under the seat cushions. I imagine that the coach you are looking at is similar.

Honestly, I don't know how 3 point belts could be installed in a moho and provide the same sort of protection you are seeking. The side walls just are not reinforced like a car, the seats are made of 1/2” plywood and there is no place to anchor the shoulder strap on the inboard seats. The seat belts in the link Bflinn provided are for the driver and front passenger seats.

I imagine that no one has done any crash testing of seatbelts in the coach portion of a motorhome, nor is anyone likely to do so. If that level of crash safety is important to you, perhaps one parent should drive the family car with the kids while the other pilots the RV. Better yet, instead of a motorhome, you might consider a 5th Wheel or travel trailer where the seat belts you want are an intergral part of the tow vehicle's saftey system.

I hope you find a solution. RVing is a great way to do family trips.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:09 PM   #4
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For what it's worth mine has one anchor point on the outside front facing dinette seat.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:52 AM   #5
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For what it's worth?
Due to the liability issues most insurance companies will not cover the vehicle due to the self installed or after market installations of seat belts. All (most) early model autos that came without seat belts are still that way today because of the liability.
Check with your insurance company before you attemp to install them.
FYI only.
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Old 04-21-2012, 10:55 AM   #6
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I retro fitted seat belts into a few different pre-seat belt autos and trucks, for MY own safety. If I installed them properly and they WORKED, where's the exposure to liability?

I would still suggest self installed is probably the only way to do it, given the fact that a mechanic would be exposed to liability, where I doubt if you'd sue yourself! I'm sure child seats could be installed and securely fastened in place. Of course we risk getting up and getting out of bed each day, let a lone traveling in a 20K+ pound vehicle!

While I understand forestmom's concerns, remember most all school buses still don't have seat belts and and they are some of the safest vehicles on the road. To head off the issues raised by my statement, a friend of mine that was transportation supervisor of a fleet of buses used to ask: "Can you imagine the injuries of a buckle swung in anger? How could a drive monitor that all of the belts were fastened behind them and pay attention safe driving?" Padded containment in place is the accepted method of protection.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:06 PM   #7
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BFlinn is onto something...speciql ed school buses often transport very small children in infant car seats. You might try calling your local school director of transportation and speak with them about resources for seatbelts for your RV.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadDog View Post
For what it's worth?
Due to the liability issues most insurance companies will not cover the vehicle due to the self installed or after market installations of seat belts. All (most) early model autos that came without seat belts are still that way today because of the liability.
Check with your insurance company before you attemp to install them.
FYI only.

Yes for what it's worth! What is so hard to understand?

They are looking at purchasing a Forester I have an Itasca and was letting them know I have one anchor point that came installed by the factory. Maybe they will go look at an Itasca instead...I don't know...just telling them I have one.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:14 PM   #9
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ok so I was mistaken about the 3 point belts. I've learned that the Britax car seats we have can be safely installed with only lap belts and if the Forester has the tether anchor then that is definitely a plus. Now I just need to find out/make sure that the seat belts are installed to the chassis. okmunky where did you get the information that the Sunseeker belts are into the metal frame? It seems like the local dealers that I ask have absolutely no idea and it's very difficult finding contact info for Forest River. I just want to feel comfortable that they are not just installed into wood.

Thanks everyone for your input.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:59 PM   #10
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I have 10 seat belts in mine. 3 for the couch, 4 for the bench seats, 1 for the swivel chair, and the driver/passengers chairs. Double check though..
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:30 AM   #11
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I pulled up the dinette cushions and plywood supports. You can see where the belts are bolted to 1 inch square metal that is bolted into the floor with large bolts -- as large as the bolts that held my front passenger set in place.

I know a then 2 year old who was the only survivor of a train vs pick-up crash because she was properly buckled into her carseat. The carseat was displaced more than 12 towards the driver by the impact, so I doubt the carseat was properly installed. This was in 1992. The carseat had a piece that flipped down in front of her that was smashed enough that it had to be cut in order to safely get her out. She only had a bruise on her right hand and a scrape on her cheek, and was talking to rescuers non-stop, not that they could understand her, but it was good to hear. Her mom and brother sitting on either side were not so well protected and did not survive.

My point is that the carseats themselves provide amazing security if the child is properly in the seat. I would count on the carseats to protect your kids much more than the RV systems.

I also know of 2 kids who sustained paralysing spinal cord injuries from wearing only a lap belt in an accident. I was a pediatric physical therapy aide in SE OK for 5 years and met lots of kids that had been thru a trauma. Carseats save kids.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:35 PM   #12
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We just bought a class A and with 4 kids were adamant about the seatbelt issue. The coach sleeps 7 but only has 5 belts and only one of those in the dinette. Anyway, LazyDays wouldn't install them because they said you had to be "certified". They found another company who could legally add them for us, it was a company that retrofits autos for handicap uses. There are two of them in our area of Tampa, so I'm sure you could find one in your area. But I found underneath the couch that there were already bolts in place to add a seatbelt. There were two belts on the couch already, but space and hardware for a 3rd. You can buy the belt on Amazon.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadDog View Post
For what it's worth?
Due to the liability issues most insurance companies will not cover the vehicle due to the self installed or after market installations of seat belts. All (most) early model autos that came without seat belts are still that way today because of the liability.
Check with your insurance company before you attemp to install them.
FYI only.
And, as someone already mentioned, it's going to be very hard to get anyone else to install them due to the liability issues.
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