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Old 30.06.2019, 10:32
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Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

Moved all three kids' car seats up a stage this weekend (it was high time) and now we've got a slight problem: all three seats do fit across the back seat of our car but there is no room to get your hand down between them to buckle/unbuckle the seatbelts.

We're going to need to do this every time from now on for the older two kids (the youngest, in the middle, is using the car seat's 5-point harness, so his seat stays buckled in) and it is a real pain.

I figure two seatbelt extenders would do the trick, we don't actually need the extra length but just to get the buckles up where they're accessible. They don't need to be adjustable, or even particularly long. Has anyone seen these for sale in a brick-and-mortar store somewhere (Bau+Hobby? Jumbo? Hornbach???) or will I have to order online and wait?

Of course if someone knows of a better solution (short of "buy a wider car") I'm all ears as well
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Old 30.06.2019, 14:09
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

No better solution but if you do get extenders - make sure they are tested and legal.

It's against the law to use untested ones (and dangerous too).

Info here for Germany but couldn't find anything for Switzerland.
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Old 30.06.2019, 14:17
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

Perhaps you could get advice from a recognised Swiss automobile club, for example here:
https://www.tcs.ch/de/tools/suche/?searchTerm=kinder
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Old 30.06.2019, 15:18
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

There are a few hits if you google ‘seatbelt buckle holder’ both commercial and DIY. None of the alter the function of the buckle in any way and most just help it to stand still (I guess your problem is where you’re trying to fish around for it to clip it?).
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Old 30.06.2019, 17:30
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

When mini porsch was born I bought a car and the seat belt was too small for car seat I got...which was stupid but I thought all seats belts were the same.

I couldn't find a seat belt extender locally so looked online, only to find that apparently it's not the safest thing to use with car seats and it's recommended against.

I don't have the links anymore and it could well have been one post on Mumsnet I found and it gave me the justification to get a new car instead but might be worth thinking about.
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Old 30.06.2019, 18:49
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

Aware they're not a perfect solution. A new car (well, a different car) is on the agenda for sure but it'll be a month or two at least. In the meantime I really need to be able to continue using the car I've got and also preferably retain some skin on my knuckles.

Stuffing them back into the old seats with the too-small 5 point harness would be an option I guess, but does not strike me as an ideal solution safetywise either. Nor does putting one of them on the front seat to free up room in the back. Seatbelt extenders honestly seem like the least worst option for the short term, unless I'm missing something.
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Old 30.06.2019, 18:56
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

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There are a few hits if you google ‘seatbelt buckle holder’ both commercial and DIY. None of the alter the function of the buckle in any way and most just help it to stand still (I guess your problem is where you’re trying to fish around for it to clip it?).
Sort of. My problem is not that it flops around and is hard to find (ours are on sort of rigid plastic stalks, they don't flop around the way I remember from back seat belts as a kid) it's that it's too low and the two plastic kid seats are clashing together above where the buckle sits.

There'd be enough width for seat+buckle+buckle+seat, but if the buckle isn't there at the right height, the two seats simply slide together over top of it and you can't get at it.

Hmm. Maybe low-tech is the answer, cut a two-by-four (or whatever the metric is for a two-by-four) to sit down in between the two seats and act as a spacer?
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Old 30.06.2019, 19:02
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

Low tech sounds practical, but 2x4 could give small fingers splinters.

What about using a length of cloth to wrap around each buckle, that you can use to pull up the buckle when it's gone under?

Or, not knowing the configuration, is it possible to rearrange which seat is where? For example put the two larger ones side-by-side and the smaller one by the door?

Edit - or duct tape the buckle to the car seat it matches, so it doesn't fall down?
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Old 30.06.2019, 19:18
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

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Low tech sounds practical, but 2x4 could give small fingers splinters.

What about using a length of cloth to wrap around each buckle, that you can use to pull up the buckle when it's gone under?

Or, not knowing the configuration, is it possible to rearrange which seat is where? For example put the two larger ones side-by-side and the smaller one by the door?

Edit - or duct tape the buckle to the car seat it matches, so it doesn't fall down?
It doesn't reach up that far in the first place, that's the trouble. The bottom of the buckle comes up to slightly above the level of the (un-carseated) bench seat, which doesn't put the top of the buckle anywhere near high enough to be level with the "seat" surface of the car seat.

You've got to hold the two (occupied!) seats apart with one hand (which is why I am now thinking a spacer between them of some sort) while your other hand guides the belt down into the gap between them and buckles it. Then the two seats slide together afterward with just the belt passing between them and the buckle trapped underneath; you've got to pry them apart again to get a gap you can reach your hand down into to unbuckle.
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Old 30.06.2019, 19:27
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

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It doesn't reach up that far in the first place, that's the trouble. The bottom of the buckle comes up to slightly above the level of the (un-carseated) bench seat, which doesn't put the top of the buckle anywhere near high enough to be level with the "seat" surface of the car seat.

You've got to hold the two (occupied!) seats apart with one hand (which is why I am now thinking a spacer between them of some sort) while your other hand guides the belt down into the gap between them and buckles it. Then the two seats slide together afterward with just the belt passing between them and the buckle trapped underneath; you've got to pry them apart again to get a gap you can reach your hand down into to unbuckle.
A spacer of some sort sounds like the best option to me, especially as it will be a relatively short term solution.
If splinters are likely to be an issue from a piece of four by two you could always cover it with an old sock or something.

Edit to add: I just realised you call it two by four whereas us brits call it four by two. Another thing to add to the list of americanisms.
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Old 30.06.2019, 20:44
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

Since we're talking low-tech, here are some ideas.
Could you permanently attach the "spacer" to the "rigid plastic stalk"?

Might a wooden spoon work?
https://www.google.ch/search?biw=204...tGG5AqUpXzi3M:

Or a small spade?
https://www.google.ch/search?q=site:...epzMuwGeAuP1M:

I suggest these thinking they might save your knuckles yet not impair the functionality of the seatbelt.
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Old 30.06.2019, 21:00
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

I sympathise. We had the same problem with three children.

Luckily one was a fair bit older than the other two and could (legally) use a child booster seat so we got him a Bubblebum booster seat which is narrower than a solid booster seat.

Whatever solution you do find, you ought to carry a webbing cutter with you in the car. I'm not convinced I could have got my kids out of the car in a hurry (after an accident, for example) with the knuckle-scrapping effort that it took to get the belts clipped in.
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Old 30.06.2019, 21:19
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

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Whatever solution you do find, you ought to carry a webbing cutter with you in the car. I'm not convinced I could have got my kids out of the car in a hurry (after an accident, for example) with the knuckle-scrapping effort that it took to get the belts clipped in.
Depending on the ages of the children, and how firmly their feet are planted in reality (that's a matter of personality, mostly), one can also teach them how to undo the seat-belts themselves, to exit the car. Their own, and those of the other Children. The hardest part, of course, is teaching them that, most of the time, they shall not touch those things, but under certain circumstances they should.
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Old 30.06.2019, 23:03
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

The older two (4yo twins) knew how to strap and unstrap their old seats (5-point harness) and were quite sensible about it. Couldn't do their 1yo brother's for me, but hey, 2 out of 3 ain't bad!

The buckles on the car seatbelts seem to be a bit stiff for them yet (I had them sit in the car without the booster seats, just to try it) so it looks like we're back to me strapping everyone in for a while. I'll keep giving them chances to practice though, it'd certainly be a useful skill for them to develop as soon as they are ready.

A webbing cutter's not a bad idea; wonder where you get one of those. Man, do I miss living in a country with (widespread) auto parts stores.
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Old 01.07.2019, 06:53
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

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A webbing cutter's not a bad idea; wonder where you get one of those. Man, do I miss living in a country with (widespread) auto parts stores.
A big Migros. One with all the homewear, stationary, car cleaning stuff, etc. They usually come in a nylon webbing case in bright red with lumo yellow trim and are a bit bigger than the usual pocket knife size.
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Old 01.07.2019, 06:59
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

Can you post a picture of the receiver and the tongue?

Aftermarket belts usually have the same receiver/tongue shape, and sometimes you can buy individual parts. If you can find the right receiver for your belt, then perhaps you can get a longer one than those currently fitted.
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Old 01.07.2019, 07:32
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

Use public transport?

Tom
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Old 01.07.2019, 10:02
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

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Aware they're not a perfect solution. A new car (well, a different car) is on the agenda for sure but it'll be a month or two at least. In the meantime I really need to be able to continue using the car I've got and also preferably retain some skin on my knuckles.

Stuffing them back into the old seats with the too-small 5 point harness would be an option I guess, but does not strike me as an ideal solution safetywise either. Nor does putting one of them on the front seat to free up room in the back. Seatbelt extenders honestly seem like the least worst option for the short term, unless I'm missing something.
With 3 kids like you, I had the same problem. In CH, I was not able to find anything. There are some offers in amazon.de, but with no safety certification. To be honest, these things are very low cost that I doubt any mfr is willing to pay for safety certs.

Long story short, I did not buy any extender. I managed to convince my kids to buckle up "one-at-a-time" while the other wait and stand in the meantime. It is easier to shift the adjacent car seat when it is not yet occupied.
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Old 01.07.2019, 10:38
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

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Aware they're not a perfect solution. A new car (well, a different car) is on the agenda for sure but it'll be a month or two at least. In the meantime I really need to be able to continue using the car I've got and also preferably retain some skin on my knuckles.

Stuffing them back into the old seats with the too-small 5 point harness would be an option I guess, but does not strike me as an ideal solution safetywise either. Nor does putting one of them on the front seat to free up room in the back. Seatbelt extenders honestly seem like the least worst option for the short term, unless I'm missing something.
I feel your pain - we have this issue too!

How flexible are your kids - could you leave the seatbelts done up and then just pull them loose and have the kids shimmy-in from underneath? Then tug the belt tight again?

We've done that in the past, or now, for short journeys within our village (where we're travelling at an average speed of 30kms/h or less) I just put the third seat in the front (with the airbag turned off). The risk of an accident is very low and I'm talking about children aged 5+, so not teeny little ones.

For longer journeys or motorway speeds, if I have three kids in the car, they're all attached in the back properly, with the associated faffing around with buckles, but for short school-runs, it's just not worth the hassle of wrestling with the back seat buckles.
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Old 01.07.2019, 10:45
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Re: Seatbelt extenders: anywhere to buy locally?

I tried to post a link yesterday but there was a problem with it. The link was from a Seat dealer near Lausanne. Selling proper extenders to address this problem for CHF 39.- each.

I would suggest you go to your local Seat/VW dealer and ask if they have them. My guess is the catalogue I saw would be a CH wide item.
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