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Unread Yesterday, 09:17 AM   #1
brentCJ7
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Child safety

I need some advise. Are there any vehicle safety people out there (firemen, police) that could advise on the best solution for my kids.

I have an '85 CJ-7 with lab belts and the little bench seat in the back. I the past when my kids were little I would strap their car seats in the back so that they could ride along. Now they are 5 and 8 and are too big for harness equipped car seats. I had a harness seat that was rated to 65 pounds, but my kids shoulders are too wide for it. A booster seat, like what I would use in a modern car, seems stupid because there are no shoulder straps to be repositioned. I am wondering how best to take them Jeepin' with me and keep them road legal and safe. I want to drive this vehicle on the road and the trail.

A few years ago I purchased the Rubicon seats in the front and the Rubicon double high back seat in the back. The Rubicon seats are designed to be used with racing style five point harnesses, but I've been told that these style harnesses are not street legal because they complicate emergency egress, although they would be perfect for trail use. I also have a full cage in the back (which can make getting kids in and out more interesting) and have, but have not installed, the rear harness bar for the previously mentioned Rubicon rear seat.

It's funny how my perspective of this vehicle has changed since I was a teenager to now being a parent. I don't really want to go buy a newer Jeep with modern safety features, but how do I keep my kids road safe?

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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Unread Yesterday, 10:01 AM   #2
McCJeep
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I do both police and fire so I have seen both sides.

Honestly the safest for them us to keep them out of the vehicle. I have seen people in my area use the family roll bar and some sort of netting. I dont trust either of those as neither are very secure.

Remember your dealing witha short wheelbase top heavy vehicle. Any slight adjustment in steering could cause a rollover. I would hate to see anybody's kids get hurt from being involved in a hobby we enjoy.

Anyone that lives in the Metro Detroit area can attest to crazy, rude and inconsiderate drivers we have. I wont take that chance with my family.
When my Cj is complete, my kids will be limited to riding trails (two tracks) up north.
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Unread Yesterday, 10:13 AM   #3
b613
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I have wondered the same thing myself.... My jeep is my DD so there are times when I have to pick up my kids and take them home or to school.... I live in a rural area and don't ever really take the jeep on the highway, but I do put a lot of miles on it... I also use it for father/son camping trips. I think we all know the safest place is in the "new" car with car seats and airbags...but I think we want opinions on, If a child in a jeep.... what is the "least worst" lol situation. I am thinking about adding a roll cage so I can use modern lap/shoulder belts with the child booster seat. I would love to see other people's setups. Thanks! -Seth
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Unread Yesterday, 10:20 AM   #4
Denzien
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This is an issue of concern to me as well, though I have yet to secure the CJ-7 apple of my eye. I have two kids as well; also 5 and 8 (though they are small enough to still use the larger boosters with the 5-point harnesses). Although I don't plan to DD the CJ, there will inevitably be times when one or both are with me (much to my wife's chagrin).

I was kind of thinking, aside from the roll-potential, that things like modern brakes, steering and, perhaps, suspension would go a long way to helping the driver avoid many situations. Wider axles to an extent, for rollover resistance on the stock height. Spacers if necessary...assuming that helps lateral stability like my rudimentary understanding of physics tell me. Though, don't spacers do funny things to the turning wheels?
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Unread Yesterday, 10:34 AM   #5
Manhattan
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Brent, I struggled with the same thing. As my kids are damn near adult-size, I knew this build would be different. I spent a LOT of time designing the cage, researching seats and seat belts.

I learned that double shoulder (4 and 5 point) harnesses are not ideal for this application. 3-point belts let the passenger collapse if the roof/cage collapses at all. They also allow the passenger to fold forward a bit - slowing the deceleration - in front impact. So, 3-point they would be.

Fortunately Bestop is now making the higher-back fold and tumble with real head rests. It meets current DOT specs.

The cage... Years ago, a buddy died in his CJ. He was hit from the side and his head made contact with the tube (factory CJ roll bar) right by his left shoulder and head. He died at the scene. So, making sure the tubes were far from the passengers' heads was crucial to the design of the cage. This impacted the location of the B-pillar, the C-pillar, the angle-braces and resulted in using a cross-hoop to locate the rear seat shoulder anchors.

The cage is mounted with cage stakes (tube-in-tube through body) so all shear load is on tubes - not bolts. The cage is tied into the frame, the side and rear rock rails/rear bumper.

And after all ^that^, the Jeep has a "25 and 35 MPH Zone Only" restriction when the kids are in the Jeep.

And yeah... crazy how the perspective changes as we get older and have kids



Hard to tell in these pics, my head is actually pretty far forward of the B-pillar. The passenger's is further forward - that seat is 1.5" further forward
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Unread Yesterday, 10:46 AM   #6
Matt1981CJ7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brentCJ7 View Post
It's funny how my perspective of this vehicle has changed since I was a teenager to now being a parent.
It's not just you, society in general has become a little obsessed with kid safety, IMO.

I grew up riding around in my Father's CJ. Back in those days seat belts were those things underneath the seats that collected grime from not being used. We took many family trips in that CJ, and never really considered it dangerous in any way. I still don't consider a CJ an overly dangerous ride.

Nowadays, not only are seat belts required by law, if you don't strap a helmet on your kid when he rides his bike, or when he goes skiing, or when he rides his skateboard, you're being an irresponsible parent. By today's standards, it's a miracle any of us old-timers survived past our 5th birthday.

That said, there's no reason not to protect your kids with every form of technology that exists and is practical to use. So I, too, have changed my perspective on this over the years.

Anyway, just an old-timers thoughts, FWIW.

Matt
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Unread Yesterday, 11:08 AM   #7
Manhattan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt1981CJ7 View Post
It's not just you, society in general has become a little obsessed with kid safety, IMO.

I grew up riding around in my Father's CJ.
You're right Matt. No belts visible in this pic - shot in 1974. I'm the skinny(er) kid in the back... just standing in the back, trying not to knock out my teeth on the roll bar. Reason #324 of 56,798 of why it's amazing I've lived 46 years.

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Unread Yesterday, 11:16 AM   #8
Denzien
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manhattan View Post
I learned that double shoulder (4 and 5 point) harnesses are not ideal for this application. 3-point belts let the passenger collapse if the roof/cage collapses at all. They also allow the passenger to fold forward a bit - slowing the deceleration - in front impact. So, 3-point they would be.

Fortunately Bestop is now making the higher-back fold and tumble with real head rests. It meets current DOT specs.

The cage... Years ago, a buddy died in his CJ. He was hit from the side and his head made contact with the tube (factory CJ roll bar) right by his left shoulder and head. He died at the scene. So, making sure the tubes were far from the passengers' heads was crucial to the design of the cage. This impacted the location of the B-pillar, the C-pillar, the angle-braces and resulted in using a cross-hoop to locate the rear seat shoulder anchors.
Man, I can't tell you how invaluable this information is. I hate that you had to lose a friend though


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt1981CJ7 View Post
It's not just you, society in general has become a little obsessed with kid safety, IMO.
Luckily, my kids are slightly obsessed with their own safety and freak out if I start to drive off before they've gotten their seatbelts on. Well...the 5 y/o not so much - he's kind of a daredevil and rollercoaster junkie. The older one saw a picture of the CJ-7 I'm angling for sans its hard top and doors and immediately got nervous! At least he's somewhat acclimated to driving top-down in my Mini, but that little car is a bathtub in comparison.
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Unread Yesterday, 11:21 AM   #9
dirtdudeaz
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They make seat belt bungs that can be added to cages for shoulder straps. You could then compare your cage to a family style cage such as one that came in a yj, and get measurements for where to locate the bungs. If you aren't comfortable with your welding or don't have a welder, this may not be an option.

When I get a little more serious in trail riding, I plan to build a full cage attached to the frame, and attach the seats to the cage (including the rear). Then I will get a couple of offroad childrens seats and hard mount those in the back with 5 point harnesses. I wouldn't use a bench seat for small children necessarily.

By the way, I grew up riding in my dad's CJ7 when he was still in the military and hope from deployment. It had harnesses in the front and back (I think they were mounted to the floor which I know now is kinda scary). Nevertheless, we had some fun times in that thing. Even with the above modifications I plan to do with the cage, if there is any obstacle that could get hairy, I will make my son/daughter get out and stand at a distance until I get safely to the other side.

http://www.bluetorchfab.com/Product/...belt-Bung.aspx
http://shop.poisonspyder.com/Machine.../14-19-031.htm
http://www.summitmachine.com/index.p...omParts&cp=sbb

http://prpseats.com/product-tag/kids-seats/
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Unread Yesterday, 11:30 AM   #10
Matt1981CJ7
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Manhattan,

I'm a little sensitive about this subject.

A few years ago I made this video of my little niece and a neighbor kid, when she came to visit me at my ranch. Her parents loved it.

But, when I showed the video to a couple of yuppy city-slicker parents, I got berated for not having a helmet on my niece. They couldn't understand how I could be so irresponsible. Seriously? Are you kidding me?

Odd folks, those.

Matt

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Unread Yesterday, 11:35 AM   #11
Manhattan
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But guys - do NOT rely on my writings, opinions, etc... "3-point vs. 5-point", etc. Read. Talk to safety experts. My CJ was not intended to be a hardcore crawler - if it rolls, it'll be a slow flop. If I were building a buggy, I'd want a 5-point harness, nets, etc. For what I was doing, this felt right... based on what I found, read, heard, made up... I mean researched...
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Unread Yesterday, 01:08 PM   #12
Denzien
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manhattan View Post
But guys - do NOT rely on my writings, opinions, etc... "3-point vs. 5-point", etc. Read. Talk to safety experts. My CJ was not intended to be a hardcore crawler - if it rolls, it'll be a slow flop. If I were building a buggy, I'd want a 5-point harness, nets, etc. For what I was doing, this felt right... based on what I found, read, heard, made up... I mean researched...
Maybe you could post some links to get us OCD researchers started?
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Unread Yesterday, 01:28 PM   #13
brentCJ7
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Wow - thank you all for your comments. I'm glad I am not the only one who feels the need for a solution to this predicament. I too am seeking the "least worst" solution for my kids. I think that is the perfect way to put it. This Jeep is most certainly not a daily driver, but a recreational vehicle. It is also not a hard core rock crawler, just a trail rig (nor would I put kids in the back if I had any inkling of a possible trail related roll-over). A CJ is a safety nightmare compared to a modern vehicle, I just want to find what might work better for getting to and from the trail with kids and family, other than bringing the kids in another vehicle - which might be that solution.
I think I may look into getting some seatbelt bungs welded to the rear family cage. That was a good suggestion. That would at least allow for some factory style thee point harnesses. Perhaps this along with the high back bucket seats in the rear, rear cage and helmets! might make for a reasonable solution in those limited occasions where kids needed to ride in the CJ.
Long ago (after bonking my own head a few times) I put pipe insulation on the roll cage and wrapped that with vinyl tape. This provides some bonk protection.
Maybe the best advise here is to limit child ride-alongs to the trail; with five point harnesses, helmets, life jackets, tooth guards and anything else I can think of.
Thanks all!
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Unread Yesterday, 02:09 PM   #14
jeepwhore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brentCJ7
Wow - thank you all for your comments. I'm glad I am not the only one who feels the need for a solution to this predicament. I too am seeking the "least worst" solution for my kids. I think that is the perfect way to put it. This Jeep is most certainly not a daily driver, but a recreational vehicle. It is also not a hard core rock crawler, just a trail rig (nor would I put kids in the back if I had any inkling of a possible trail related roll-over). A CJ is a safety nightmare compared to a modern vehicle, I just want to find what might work better for getting to and from the trail with kids and family, other than bringing the kids in another vehicle - which might be that solution. I think I may look into getting some seatbelt bungs welded to the rear family cage. That was a good suggestion. That would at least allow for some factory style thee point harnesses. Perhaps this along with the high back bucket seats in the rear, rear cage and helmets! might make for a reasonable solution in those limited occasions where kids needed to ride in the CJ. Long ago (after bonking my own head a few times) I put pipe insulation on the roll cage and wrapped that with vinyl tape. This provides some bonk protection. Maybe the best advise here is to limit child ride-alongs to the trail; with five point harnesses, helmets, life jackets, tooth guards and anything else I can think of. Thanks all!
So you have a YJ family bar already?.....it should already have belt bungs in it.
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Unread Yesterday, 02:32 PM   #15
brentCJ7
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I have the full sport cage from RockHard4x4, with the rear "family cage" and "across the back" bar, not a factory YJ cage. It doesn't have the shoulder belt mounting points.
http://www.rockhard4x4.com/Jeep_CJ7_...ages_s/398.htm
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