Car seat harness question - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was worried because a friend who has the same car seat I have puts the straps on fairly loosely - I pull them snugly since the people who installed it at the baby store told me it should be quite snug. When I mentioned this to my friend she said the car seat installation manual said there should be two finger widths of slack when the child is strapped in, and that some slack is very important.

Does anyone know about this? I tried searching more specific info out on the internet but everything just says the straps should be "snug." I guess there can easily be different interpretations of two finger widths, but I always thought the snugger the better (not so tight they can't breathe, of course, but you know what I mean). Should there really be more slack than I am leaving? Would appreciate any info on this.

-Carol

(edited for grammar)
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#2 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 02:17 PM
 
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Well, I do follow the "two finger" snugness rule, but even with two fingers it's pretty snug. If DH used his two fingers it'd be a little looser. There is a wide range of interpretation to the two finger rule I suppose but if your friend is not using her seat properly that is dangerous. Maybe you can ask her to go with you to a seat inspection point (if there is one near you) because 'you' want to get your seat checked and then she can have hers done while you're there.
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#3 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 02:54 PM
 
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This is the coolest site for carseat safety questions. Check it out if you get a chance:
http://www.carseat.org/
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#4 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 03:28 PM
 
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According to all of the different police officers who have helped me with carseats over the past years, the two finger rule is that you should NOT be able to easily fit two fingers under the straps. You don't want slack because in an accident it gives to much room for the child to be jarred around. If you can pinch the material in the strap (fold it together) it is way too loose.
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#5 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 04:20 PM
 
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my response is for the www.carseats.org I just visited the site and was very disaapointed about several articles I read where they focused more on the one year mark for being forward facing as opposed to the one year and at least 20pounds. I was so disgusted about this that I sent an email to them stated the AAP's guidelines. B/c my 13mo is still under 20lbs and is rearfacing I just wanted them to know that the one year mark isn't the magic number.

I think most straps are supposed to be rather tight. I think two fingers is a bit generous depending on how you are positioning your fingers. I think the big things the they should be tight enough that they would not move in an accident.
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#6 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 05:17 PM
 
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queen: I noticed that, too. And it's funny b/c back when I phoned this organization (probably '98 or so), that was one of the things the woman on the phone really stressed - the AND in the1 year AND 20 pounds.

I think maybe that was what motivated me to call them in the first place - I had heard that and my son hit 20 lbs. before the year and I wanted to ask about car seats that rear-faced for bigger babies under one. So, I was surprised as I looked at their site earlier today that they did not make it stand out. She was even telling me about a European country (can't remember where right now) where they keep their kids rear-facing for a really long time. Like, way over a year...
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#7 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 05:19 PM
 
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you can check in the manual
or you could call the manufacturer (Mispelled?)

also, you can take it to "Dodge" if you are in the United States. Dodge dealers have car seat "specialists" that will install for you or answer questions.
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#8 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 05:32 PM
 
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Rereading some things at the site I did find what European country it was - Sweden and they rearface until the age of 3 - 5:

(Edited to remove quote. This quote can be found at www.carseat.org - click on F.A.Q.s and scroll down to "When can I turn my baby around to face forward in the car?" At the end of that section you can also click on the link "rear facing vs. forward facing" for more information about the reasoning behind rear facing past the age of one. I edited to remove the loooooong quotes b/c of possible copyright issues.)

I'll be interested to see what kind of feedback you get from them, queen. I wonder if they are still emphasizing keeping the child rear-facing as long as possible, but moving away from the weight issue entirely?

(If my quote from that site was too long it can be deleted...) Edit: Just did!
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#9 of 13 Old 08-01-2002, 09:36 PM
 
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Most of the newer convertible carseats have a strap at the bottom front that you can pull to tighten once the child is already buckled up. I got my carseat inspected earlier this year and they said to use that strap every time I buckled her in because the amount of clothing can change how tight the straps are. Also most straps will loosen over time with use. I've noticed that some days the harness is tighter than on other days, I think because of the clothing factor and what kind of diaper she's in at the time.

Darshani

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#10 of 13 Old 08-02-2002, 01:22 AM
 
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FESTIVUS 1
I hope I din't come across rude. I only had a few minutes to look at thier website and of course since my son is under 20lbs, but over one I would notice something like not stating both. I think what you quoted was very interesting and should be talked about more frequently. That just b/c a child is one year and 20lbs doesn't neccessarily mean that forward facing is the best or safest and that maybe the guidelines should be more like rear-facing as long as possible even after meeting the 1yr and 20lb mark. But I guess that that would be harder to remember, and might not be as clear as the current guidlines.
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#11 of 13 Old 08-02-2002, 02:06 AM
 
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I remember reading an article in a mainstream parenting mag over a year ago all about how it is safest for your child the longer you can leave them in the rear-facing position. The article was saying that to be safe you should leave them in that position past two years, and gave examples and stories of families who did just that....I think the oldest child they told about who was rear facing was over 3. I hate to see young babies in the front facing position before a year....makes me so mad!! I once saw a woman who had her approx. 7 month old baby in the front facing position in a rear facing infant seat!!!! Can you imagine how determental a crash would be for that baby!!!! I really, REALLy regret I didn't say anything to her (I was walking by her van in a parking lot and noticed).
About the straps.....ask your friend to turn the baby upside down in the car seat (strapped in, of course!) and see how comfortable she would be doing that. That should create a mental picture in her mind what would happen to her sweet baby should she ever get into a crash...that is why having the straps tight (but still comfortable) is so important. I would feel perfectly comfortable turning my baby upside down in her car seat, I know she's in there good and tight. And I do find that I have to readjust the tightness every time I put her in the car...sometimes I have to loosen it, sometimes I have to tighten it. And the two finger widths doesn't mean two finger heights (as in vertical finger widths) it means can you slide two fingers under the strap horizontally (next to eachother). That's so hard to describe!!
I have not yet been to a car safety check........but I need to!! We have three car seats crammed in the back of our sudan type car...my dh is really good about kneeling on them hard to get them in there tight so they won't budge, but I am still a bit worried. I need to get them checked!

Heidi : Married for 15 years, expecting our 8th baby in July!

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#12 of 13 Old 08-02-2002, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies. I actually somewhat misunderstood what my friend was trying to say about the slack. I personally think the 2-finger rule is confusing, but I guess it's no more confusing than saying, "pull the straps to where they are quite snug, but not constricting." Everyone's interpretation would be different with that, as well.

BTW, my little one is still rear-facing at 18 months. Some people, like my mom, have given me a hard time about that. It's true that it would probably be more interesting for her if she faced forward, but her safety is more important than how interested she is while riding in the car. I'm also one of those "freaks" who always snugly buckles the stroller, high chair, shopping cart, etc! DD used to fight it sometimes, but she eventually got used to it and now it's rarely a struggle.

Thanks again!
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#13 of 13 Old 08-02-2002, 02:26 PM
 
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OK maybe she has the two fattest fingers in the world but when my dd is in her carseat as tight as it will go untill she whines I can still easily put two fingers between her and the seat. And I have chubby fingers.

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