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1- Right now most pediatrics recommend keeping the child rear-facing for as long as possible, up to the limits of their car safety seat. This will include virtually all children under 2 years of age and most children up to age 4.

2- We found a huge safety issue about the captain chair version Atlas. The current design about the lever is pretty easy to use. It is helping to let third-row passager to go in more conveniently. However, the kids are able to flip the handle with their foot at age 2.5 and 3 yo. And if over 3 years old it could be reached by hand. Then it could cause to fling the seat forward and smash into the front row. The entire seat could flip almost upside down. A child can choke, suffocate, vomit, etc...

3- We found the way to solve this issue is to use a duct tape, to cover it until turn the seat to front-facing. But not all the parents realize this is an issue until it happens. If this happened during the drive, the driver has to do an emergency stop.

4- Could VW do anything to fix this issue or at least let the parents know this issue?
 

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1. The lever is the same in the captain's chairs and the bench. Someone with multiple kids is going to put the carseat on the outer seat of the bench....and most parents will use the driver side seat anyway for convenience.
2. The lever doesn't exactly "fling the seat forward". You have to put some forward push to start it going. Also, you have to hold the lever up while giving it some fwd momentum. Otherwise, as soon as you release the lever the seat position locks again. I think with a front facing seat, the child's weight would probably hold the seat back in place.
3. In the rear facing position, a child seat is usually pretty close, if not right up against the front seat back. I haven't had a rear facing seat in about 6 years, but that's how I remember it. I think that IF a child managed to trigger the lever and get the seat moving forward, it would probably not get very far before hitting the front seat and stopping. I honestly think that is the worst case scenario. I can't see how a rear facing child who was tall enough to kick the lever and get the seat moving, would end up choking or anything. Even if the front seat was so far forward....the car seat would basically end up resting flat on the floor...not upside down. And regardless of "recommendations", I don't know many parents who keep their child rear facing past about 2yrs. Basically once they are so big that they could reach that lever they are probably really jammed in a rear facing seat.

Have you actually put a rear facing seat in and flipped the seat forward to see what happens (not with a kid in it of course)?

I really think that it would have to be a "perfect storm" in order for anything bad to happen. You'd need a pretty tall child in a rear facing seat....with really small parents that have the front seats all the way forward....and the child would have to somehow kick and hold the lever up while moving the seat forward. Could it happen, maybe.

I don't think VW is going to address this concern unless it actually started happening. That's how things get "fixed" in the world. Someone has to get hurt first. If this concern is real for you and you've found a temporary solution (tape) then I would stick (no pun intended) with it. I don't see VW taking any pro-active steps here.
 

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My kids have been out of carseats for about 4 years now so this is all from memory....but I recall front facing seats being really big and restrictive. I don't think there's really a danger of a kid in a front facing seat being able to actually access the lever. Just looking at this picture makes me think that a kid would have to be Mr Plastic Man to reach and lift the lever. Look at the head surround in the second photo. No arm is getting around that! Today's car seats are MASSIVE.





And I think this is the "worst case" for forward facing....This is with the front passenger seat tilted and slid all the way forward....



And I think this is about how much room there typically is with a fwd facing seat.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
1. The lever is the same in the captain's chairs and the bench. Someone with multiple kids is going to put the carseat on the outer seat of the bench....and most parents will use the driver side seat anyway for convenience.
2. The lever doesn't exactly "fling the seat forward". You have to put some forward push to start it going. Also, you have to hold the lever up while giving it some fwd momentum. Otherwise, as soon as you release the lever the seat position locks again. I think with a front facing seat, the child's weight would probably hold the seat back in place.
3. In the rear facing position, a child seat is usually pretty close, if not right up against the front seat back. I haven't had a rear facing seat in about 6 years, but that's how I remember it. I think that IF a child managed to trigger the lever and get the seat moving forward, it would probably not get very far before hitting the front seat and stopping. I honestly think that is the worst case scenario. I can't see how a rear facing child who was tall enough to kick the lever and get the seat moving, would end up choking or anything. Even if the front seat was so far forward....the car seat would basically end up resting flat on the floor...not upside down. And regardless of "recommendations", I don't know many parents who keep their child rear facing past about 2yrs. Basically once they are so big that they could reach that lever they are probably really jammed in a rear facing seat.

Have you actually put a rear facing seat in and flipped the seat forward to see what happens (not with a kid in it of course)?

I really think that it would have to be a "perfect storm" in order for anything bad to happen. You'd need a pretty tall child in a rear facing seat....with really small parents that have the front seats all the way forward....and the child would have to somehow kick and hold the lever up while moving the seat forward. Could it happen, maybe.

I don't think VW is going to address this concern unless it actually started happening. That's how things get "fixed" in the world. Someone has to get hurt first. If this concern is real for you and you've found a temporary solution (tape) then I would stick (no pun intended) with it. I don't see VW taking any pro-active steps here.

Actually it has happened, that's why my friend told me NOT to buy this car since I have a kid around 2.5 and 3 yo. Her son kicks and triggers the lever. She said she reported this issue but no one cared. Then she used to use a duct tape until her son doesn't need to use rear-facing seat.
 

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I didn't say it couldn't happen, just that it wouldn't appear to be a common occurrence. It would require a set of circumstances to all come together in order for it to happen and put a child at risk of injury. VW or any automaker, is unlikely to take any action without numerous reports of actual injury. If a piece of duct tape solves the problem then that is a better solution than hoping for VW to take action.
 

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Very scary and did happen!!

I reported this to my dealer and to NHSTA! The little red button was NOT popped up and my toddler was in a forward facing car seat. Came to a stop and was slammed into the front seat chocked and crying! I called the dealer right away (Greeley in Colorado) and they were not concerned.
 

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That's a different scenario than what the OP was referring to. The original complaint was that a child could disengage the lever on top of the seat back. What you are referring to is a seat that didn't latch correctly or the latch failed. Certainly a scary and dangerous situation, but not the same thing.
 
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