Car Seats- I guess I missed something?! - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In another thread a mama pointed out to me that my son is not in the right seat. Okay... so ... what am I doing wrong?? I want him to be safe but I don't know what's right.

I live in CA...

My son is only 2.5 years old but he weighs 40lbs and is 40" tall. Yes, he's huge.

I did have him in the Britax Marathon until just a few months ago. I moved DD into the Marathon and got him a high back Graco booster seat. The sales associates assure me it was an appropriate seat for him even when I told him he was only 2.5 years old.

If I had him rear facing, his knees would be in his chest so he definitely needs to face forward but then in what kind of seat??? When I look at the charts, most of the boosters start at 30lbs so at 40lbs, I don't get why this isn't okay.

Trust me... I wish he was smaller!!! He still likes to be carried and it is back breaking picking this kid up... He's not obese or anything, he's just solid like a rock.
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:58 AM
 
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Your dc needs to be AT LEAST 4 years old to ride safely in a booster, and even then, I wouldn't feel more comfortable until coser to 6. He can no longer ride rearfacing because the highest weight for that is 35lbs. But, he still very much needs to be harnessed. There are LOTS of options - britax regent, britax frontier, graco nautilus, radian 65/80 are all off the top of my head and would harness him for a quite a while after.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:03 AM
 
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Yes, he definitely needs to be harnessed. I recommend the Britax Frontier. He can be harnessed up to 80lbs and/or 53" tall in that seat. Then, you can convert it to a BPB, so you'd get a lot of use out of it.

If you can stand it, go to youtube and search "importance of a 5-point harness". I warn you though, the videos are heartbreaking.

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Old 12-07-2008, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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okay i'm totally not trying to be argumentative here but i just visited the Graco site and it says from 3 years old... (yes I know DS is two... but why do they say one thing and mamas here are saying age 4?) I just want to know why the conflicting info...


Easy on the flames... I seriously didn't know all of this. I should have known better than to trust people who work at babies R Us. With two babies, I just don't have the internet time I used to for doing all my "mommy" research.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:13 AM
 
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Cekimom, first off, no flames . What are the laws regarding children and restraints in your state? In my province, children have to be at least 4 and weigh 40lbs (both, not either or) to be moved to a belt positioning booster. This is the reccomendation in every province that has laws regarding car seat usage.

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:33 AM
 
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okay i'm totally not trying to be argumentative here but i just visited the Graco site and it says from 3 years old... (yes I know DS is two... but why do they say one thing and mamas here are saying age 4?) I just want to know why the conflicting info...


Easy on the flames... I seriously didn't know all of this. I should have known better than to trust people who work at babies R Us. With two babies, I just don't have the internet time I used to for doing all my "mommy" research.
No flames, I see where you are coming from.

Firstly, it depends on your states laws. Secondly, it depends on the seat. But you do not have to make a step up from RF to FF or harness to BPB just because the seat or the law says you can. That's just the minimum that the law/carseat came up with. For instance, my son is 3.5 and ~25lbs. According to the law and probably all the seats on the market, he can legally and "safely" be forward facing right now. BUT there are seats out there that allow him to continue RF'ing and because that's what's safest, that's what we are doing. He will not be FF'ing until he reaches the MAX (35lbs in this case), not the minimum that the law or his seat requires, kwim?

Please consider having him harnessed again. It is SO much safer.

Carly [29] + DH [27] + DS [9]

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Old 12-07-2008, 06:05 AM
 
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my 6 yo ds is harnessed in a Britax Husky (now Regent) and they are great. In dp's car we have a high backed booster.
ITA with Carly, you want to follow the law and car seat manufacturer guidelines as a minimum for safety requirements. Each graduation to a new seat is moving toward a less and less safe option so these graduations should only happen when absolutely necessary.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:07 AM
 
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Cekimon - No flames from me either. I promise. There's never anything wrong with asking questions.

There are a few reasons that harnessing is so much safer than a booster seat for a child your son's age.

Size - Even if the booster appears to fit a small child well, in a crash many small children "submarine" under the seat belt causing the lap portion of the belt to ride up onto their stomach and this can cause severe internal injuries. These injuries are commonly called "seatbelt syndrome".

Bone strength - A 5 pt harness contacts the body at the strongest points and spreads them out all over the body. A lap and shoulder belt is only a 3 point system and so the forces are more concentrated in the areas where the belt falls. A 2 year olds bones are not yet strong enough to absorb all of those forces. Additionally a 5 pt harness greatly reduces head excursion which helps protect their neck bones.

Maturity - Two, three, most four and five year olds (and some older) simply do not have the self control to sit properly in a booster sea. They squirm, lean, reach, etc. and that causes the belt to not fit properly. Again, in a crash an improperly fitting seatbelt can cause very severe injuries.

You asked why companies make booster seats for preschoolers when it's obviously not safe. Unfortunately the answer is, because people buy them.

For your son I would look into the Graco Nautilus, the Britax Frontier, and the Britax Regent. For a 40 lb 2 year old I would really consider the Regent if it will fit in your budget and your car.

Rebecca, CPST, Navy wife to Chris, furmama to Fenway
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:12 AM
 
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It also looks like the Marathon can go up to 65 pounds ff, if you would rather move him back to that and get a new seat for your DD. I have a giant toddler too, it is back-breaking! I can't imagine having another (I mean, in terms of being able to walk after picking both up) so I'm very impressed that you manage it.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:07 AM
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First:
Your DS is too heavy to rear-face anyway, but the scrunched-up-knees are not a concern unless the weight restrictions are being breached. My daughter is 19 months old, much smaller and lighter than your DS, and her legs are still frogged rear-facing, but she is able to remain that way because she is under the height and weight limits.

Second:
You are blessed to live in a country with higher-harnessing seats. None here go above 40 lbs. If I hadn't found one tested to 55 lbs she would have to sit on a booster cushion. The reason that people recommend a minimum of 4 years is for two reasons. The first is legality. It's not legal in many places to have a child under 4 in a booster chair. The second is bone structure. A child's bones are not strong enough, many studies say, until six to absorb crash force on impact. There's an interesting but graphic and sad YouTube video on the subject here. I hope you do consider re-harnessing your son, to keep him (and mama!) safe and happy.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:12 AM
 
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I have DS in this carseat http://www.gracobaby.com/catalog/pro...Number=8J00BRV. When you're done with the harness (up to 65 lbs) it converts into a high back booster and eventually into just a booster seat and is for kids up to 100 lbs.

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Old 12-07-2008, 10:09 AM
 
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I would also beg you to look at a harnessed seat (and I know nobody ever tells parents these things.... )

Anyway, my niece, also huge, was moved to a booster at two years old. She frequently escaped from the seatbelt, and while I was driving, I turned to tell her to sit back down, and hit the car in front of me. VERY luckily we were all fine, but it totaled the minivan containing me, her 6 year old sister, my sister and my best friend. This would not have happened if she had been in a 5 point harness.

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Old 12-07-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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Car seat companies are only required to put the bare minimum standards on their seats. Parents often dont realize that these are, in fact, bare minimums, and many of us would rather our child have more than the bare minimum protection. That is why we look to the folks at Safe Kids Coalition who study car seats and the physics behind crash tests.

State laws are also bare minimums. What you want to look into is Best Practice standards.
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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to all...

thank you mamas for all the info!!! (and for giving it to me gently!)

I'm going to be getting a new seat today.
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have DS in this carseat http://www.gracobaby.com/catalog/pro...Number=8J00BRV. When you're done with the harness (up to 65 lbs) it converts into a high back booster and eventually into just a booster seat and is for kids up to 100 lbs.
probably this one.... more in my budget.
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Old 12-07-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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to all...

thank you mamas for all the info!!! (and for giving it to me gently!)

I'm going to be getting a new seat today.
: That's great mama!

The Nautilus is a great seat. I would recommend that you have your lo sit in it first at the store to make sure everything is good with it.

Rebecca, CPST, Navy wife to Chris, furmama to Fenway
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:00 PM
 
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Oh good, the Nautilus is awesome. If you can, try before you buy, since it can be a little narrow for wider kids.

I know you have already gotten a bazillion replies, but let me throw my answer out there too. Like others said, manufacturers only put the bare minimums on their seats. A two year old is not mature enough to sit properly, and their bodies are just not made for an adult seatbelt. While a four year old the same height and weight as your son is appropriate in a booster, a two year old's bones are much less developed and are just not able to withstand the forces of a crash in a seatbelt. There is something called 'seatbelt syndrome' and 'submarining' which can and does happen when younger kids are in seatbelts.

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Old 12-07-2008, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Now what??

I got the nautilus and he can unbuckle the top part. i only got a few blocks away. do they make a device to cover this part?

I'm not always going to be able to pull over and insist that he stays buckled and not drive until he cooperates. Mainly this is an issue is DD is crying, fussy, hungry and we need to get home w/o making multiple stops. Even if I did pull over and wait... he's a stubborn little booger and we could be there for hours. There is no reasoning with him right now. We're going through some real testing behavior right now and he's becoming more and more defiant each day.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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probably this one.... more in my budget.
I also have the nautilus for both my girls no complaints at all.


ETA: Can you try covering the clip so it's "out of sight out of mind"? My 5 year old has trouble unbuckling hers so no real advice, sorry.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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As long as the straps are nice and tight, there is no real danger with him unbuckling the chest clip. It's only purpose is to act as a pre-crash positioner to keep the straps over the shoulder.

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Old 12-07-2008, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As long as the straps are nice and tight, there is no real danger with him unbuckling the chest clip. It's only purpose is to act as a pre-crash positioner to keep the straps over the shoulder.
I'll have to see then if he's able to get his arms out of the straps when it's unbuckled. i got it, brought it home, had DH install it... and we got a block away and he was hysterical because daddy wasn't coming with us. He cooperated just fine getting into the seat because he thought daddy was coming.

I'd rather the chest clip just stay clipped... i've been googling all sorts of keywords for this and can't find any product. I did find something on mypreciouschild. com that clips the straps together, I guess for added protection? But it doesn't cover the actual clip itself.

Do you think I might find something in the Child Safety section at home depot or somewhere like that?
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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You could try flipping the clip backwards. I've heard of lots of moms doing that when kids learn how to undo buckles and won't leave them done.

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Old 12-07-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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No, you can't use any products like that. Obviously it would be ideal for the clip to stay clipped, but if the straps are tight enough he shouldn't be able to get his arms out.

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Old 12-07-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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If you are in a cooler climate, you could take his coat off and put it on backwards once getting him strapped in - this would block the chest clip from his reach. If he is wearing a winter coat, this is recommended anyway, since bulky coats prevent the carseat straps from being tight enough.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You could try flipping the clip backwards. I've heard of lots of moms doing that when kids learn how to undo buckles and won't leave them done.
i'll have to try that.
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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You could try flipping the clip backwards. I've heard of lots of moms doing that when kids learn how to undo buckles and won't leave them done.
I asked a local tech about this just yesterday (out of curiosity) and she wouldn't recommend it. She said it could cause it to operate incorrectly in a crash, and/or possible bruise the child, which makes total sense.
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:29 PM
 
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I asked a local tech about this just yesterday (out of curiosity) and she wouldn't recommend it. She said it could cause it to operate incorrectly in a crash, and/or possible bruise the child, which makes total sense.
Yep, the Graco clip is rounded on the outside. That could really damage some ribs.

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Old 12-07-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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I asked a local tech about this just yesterday (out of curiosity) and she wouldn't recommend it. She said it could cause it to operate incorrectly in a crash, and/or possible bruise the child, which makes total sense.
Yeah, I'm not sure about the Nautilus, but on our seat, its flat on the back and raised on the front... Looks like it could definitely bruise to me.

Luckily DS has no interest in unbuckling himself though, so I haven't BTDT yet.

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Old 12-07-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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I agree - I would NOT flip the clip backwards. Chest clips are designed to break in an accident, and flipping it over might cause some pretty bad breastbone damage or something if it isn't allowed to break in the way it's designed to.

Like another PP said, chest clips are just pre-crash harness positioners. Some other countries don't even have them (harnesses only). If the straps are tight enough, like they should be, then he shouldn't be able to get out anyway.

ETA: And GOOD for you Momma for keeping him harnessed!!!
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:47 PM
 
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I wouldn't recommend flipping the clip backwards either. And I wouldn't add anything onto the seat to keep the straps together. The chest clip is designed to be able to break apart in a crash.

If the straps are tight enough he *shouldn't* be able to get his arms out of the straps, but I've seen some serious houdinis.

Hmmm, let me see if I can think of something (besides the coat trick which is a good idea if you live in a cooler climate)

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