Can we discuss harnessed vs. booster? ETA a couple more points of discussion - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see (and hear) differing opinions on the subject all the time. To my knowledge, there is no evidence out there to support either way (am I wrong?)

The things I know to affect safety of a booster seat: age, maturity, and size.

For a long time, I thought it was safest to harness as long as possible, then I started seeing that there is really no added protection vs. a booster for a child who fits properly and can sit in one correctly...perhaps that at some point a booster may be safer due to head excursion?

I'm quite far from needing to think much about this for my kids, but I'd like to know anyway, so give me your opinion on the subject and what you know.

Thanks!

ETA: Does anyone have opinions on boosters with TSIP, LATCH capabilities (is this for when the booster is not in use only?), and the anti-submarine clips? Does this increase safety of a booster, or just an added perk?
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#2 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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My understanding is that harnessed is safer for everyone even adults. That is why race car drives are harnessed.

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#3 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've heard that argument before, but have also seen lots against it. I saw it in a thread a few days ago--first of all, race car drivers have their helmets tethered to avoid the head excursion. It's all set up differently, and not really relative to carseats for children.

I do get the point, though.
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#4 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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Assuming that we are discussing children who meet the minimums (best practice minimums are 4y/40#) and who are developmentally ready to use a booster properly, and the booster fits the child and the car well, and there is a three-point (shoulder and lap) vehicle belt, and all those other good things...

There is no demonstrated safety advantage to harnessing a child who can correctly use a booster. There is speculation that harnessing is safer, there is speculation (and one non-definitive study) that harnessing may increase neck loads, there is speculation that kids in a harnessed seat on a base may have higher head excursion because of the higher point of gravity. There is no clear answer. This is a parental judgement call.

My personal opinion -- based on evidence and research, but still just one person's opinion since there is no definitive answers either way -- is that I would without question recommend a BPB over an *untethered* forward-facing harnessed seat (and refer back to first paragraph for disclaimers). I would also prefer a booster over a harnessed seat on a base, with the same disclaimers. I do think harnessed seats are better than boosters in tight three-across situations because there is actually less chance of misuse.

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#5 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
My personal opinion -- based on evidence and research, but still just one person's opinion since there is no definitive answers either way -- is that I would without question recommend a BPB over an *untethered* forward-facing harnessed seat (and refer back to first paragraph for disclaimers). I would also prefer a booster over a harnessed seat on a base, with the same disclaimers. I do think harnessed seats are better than boosters in tight three-across situations because there is actually less chance of misuse.
What about over a tethered FF harnessed seat? And what is a harnessed seat on a base?

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#6 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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Like I said, assuming the child is physically and developmentally ready for a booster (usually around 5yo-6yo, but a few 4yos are ready and a few 7yos are not), I don't have a preference between booster and harness.

A Marathon is a harnessed seat on a base:

http://www.britaxusa.com/uploads/pro...on-5-bbd-l.jpg

A Radian is a harnessed seat that is not on a base (it sits directly on the vehicle seat):

http://www.skjp.com/oimg/thm/t351_x1...307_203652.jpg

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#7 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
A Marathon is a harnessed seat on a base:

http://www.britaxusa.com/uploads/pro...on-5-bbd-l.jpg

A Radian is a harnessed seat that is not on a base (it sits directly on the vehicle seat):

http://www.skjp.com/oimg/thm/t351_x1...307_203652.jpg
Ah, I see the difference now. Thanks for clarifying. Off to figure out what the Frontier is which is what we have. I've never really noticed .

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#8 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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Frontier does not have a base.

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#9 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
Frontier does not have a base.
After looking at the seat, I guess that should have been really obvious to me before . I guess it's just something I never thought about or saw mentioned before.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, the whole question of to harness or not to harness has had me scratching my head for awhile now. From what I've read about here and elsewhere, it seems that there are basically two distinct camps:

1. Harnessing is better because it just seems obvious that more protection is better. I often see race car drivers mentioned here as well as a specific youtube video but no hard evidence.

2. As long as the the 4yr/40lb/developmental readiness requirements are met, it probably doesn't matter. Sometimes head excursion is mentioned here as a potential risk of harnessing, and I sometimes see Sweden mentioned here, but the bottom line seems to be it doesn't matter either way. Again, no hard evidence given.

I've never really seen anyone come out strongly against extended harnessing, at least not for safety reasons. Usually it's more about social issues, thinking it's overkill, etc.

Anyway, I think this is just one of those things that everyone just has to decide for themselves (assuming the basic requirements are met of course) because there isn't enough evidence either way. My daughter is almost 4 and is just over 40lbs, and my plan is to just continue on harnessing until she seems mature enough to sit in a booster which doesn't seem to be any time soon.

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#10 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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The Kyle David ****** video had a small 3yo in a booster. It was tragic that he died. But it's slightly misleading, and not a good reason to harness kids "as long as possible". 4yo/40# is the bare minimum for best practice, and most of us recognize that most (of course there are exceptions) kids aren't ready for full-time booster use until 5-6-ish. No techs/advocates -- even those who are comfortable with boosters -- recommend boostering a small 3yo. (And while I do not want to dissect it here -- it's been done to death on car-seat.org if anyone cares to search -- there is some evidence that the booster was misused to begin with.)

There is a world of difference between a 50# 6yo in a properly-used well-fitting booster -- which is what I am discussing in this thread -- and a small 3yo in a possibly-misused booster.

I have nothing against extended harnessing as long as it's done properly -- most kids outgrow most seats by height rather than weight, and I've seen *lots* of kids in outgrown Marathons/Boulevards because the parents think it's "safer". There are situations where I would prefer a good booster, but that's personal preference/recommendations, not a hard-and-fast rule.

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#11 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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Chickabiddy, as always, is the epitome of correctness

The child must be at least four.

The child must weight at least forty pounds.

The child must have the developmental maturity to sit correctly 100% of the time. This doesn't usually occur until between the fifth and sixth birthday, and for some kids, it's more.

In short, a few four year olds can sit safely in a booster, many five year olds can, and nearly all six year olds can.

Kyle David ****** is an example of an exceedingly sad case of a child who was simply too young to be in a booster. His sister, who was of an age and size that is appropriate for a booster, survived the accident.

Harnessing is great, but it's not comparable to 'race car harnesses' which I keep seeing mentioned. Different crash forces, different kind of harness, different kind of vehicle.

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#12 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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My big issue with extended harnessing is that it provides two points of failure - the seatbelt or LATCH securing the carseat can fail, OR the harness securing the child can fail, and in either case your kid goes flying. My 3.5 yo dd rides FFing in a top-tethered Radian, and I think that's a good choice for her age, height and weight, but when she is bigger and I can put her in a BPB, I will be relieved to be rid of the harness.

If there are any studies anywhere that examine the possible compounded risk of belt-plus-harness restraint systems, I am not aware of them.
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#13 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 04:01 PM
 
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While harnessing does create a second point of potential failure, there has never been, to my knowledge, a real life documented case of a harness failing when used according to manufacturer directions.

I wouldn't consider that, in the grand scheme of things, something really worth worrying about.

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#14 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodheartedmama View Post
ETA: Does anyone have opinions on boosters with TSIP, LATCH capabilities (is this for when the booster is not in use only?), and the anti-submarine clips? Does this increase safety of a booster, or just an added perk?
There is no standard or regulation for side impact protection. Terms like True Side Impact Protection are developed in the marketing department, not the engineering department. I do prefer deeper wings and body protection when possible, but it doesn't matter to me if they have a special name like "TSIP".

Boosters that are meant to be LATCHed can be LATCHed in use. There is no proof that LATCHing is beneficial or not. There is one study (not definitive) that seems to indicate it may provide some additional side impact protection. There is another study (also not definitive) that seems to indicate that rigid LATCH may cause the vehicle belts to ride high on the abdomen during a crash. Again, no proof either way and not enough data to draw conclusions, just some suggestions. If you are likely to forget to buckle an unused booster, LATCH would be a good thing, otherwise the booster becomes a projectile.

Anti-submarine features are most beneficial to smaller kids. The Britax ParkwaySG has a clip. The Sunshine Kids Monterey has an angled seat which also provides some anti-submarine protection.

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#15 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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What is a BPB?

Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.

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#16 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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Belt-Positioning Booster.

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#17 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 05:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
Belt-Positioning Booster.
Thanks!

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#18 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:15 PM
 
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Is there any evidence/research for the under 40lbs child over 4yrs who sits correctly? I've read some things that allude to increased chance to submarine in lighter kids, but nothing solid.

-Angela
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#19 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:20 PM
 
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I'm not aware of any specifically.

Very roughly, most techs are generally willing to subtract a few pounds per year: I'd "okay" a 32# 7yo but not a 32# 5yo, for instance. (And this does not work in reverse -- even if a 2yo is 50#, s/he still needs to be harnessed.)

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#20 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:39 PM
 
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Can someone point me in the right direction to proper booster use for the child?

Here is my issue. I'd love to keep DS harnessed as long as possible, but I seriously doubt he'll be able to be harnessed much longer past his fourth birthday simply due to how tall he is. At just 3.5 years old he is already 43 inches tall [ & 45 lbs ]. He is currently harnessed in a Frontier but is already at the highest harness slot allowable for harness use. If he grows any taller his shoulders will surpass that harness slot. I know that once he's 4 he'll be at the minimum age/weight requirements, but I just don't know that he is mature enough for proper booster use. He doesn't slouch while riding, but his head does flop forward when he falls asleep and if I'm not mistaken, isn't that a sign he's not ready for a booster? I know that he can mature a lot in the upcoming months before his birthday [ 5 mos ], but I just don't feel confident in moving him. I'm hoping his growth has stunted for a while in the meantime..

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#21 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can someone point me in the right direction to proper booster use for the child?

Here is my issue. I'd love to keep DS harnessed as long as possible, but I seriously doubt he'll be able to be harnessed much longer past his fourth birthday simply due to how tall he is. At just 3.5 years old he is already 43 inches tall [ & 45 lbs ]. He is currently harnessed in a Frontier but is already at the highest harness slot allowable for harness use. If he grows any taller his shoulders will surpass that harness slot. I know that once he's 4 he'll be at the minimum age/weight requirements, but I just don't know that he is mature enough for proper booster use. He doesn't slouch while riding, but his head does flop forward when he falls asleep and if I'm not mistaken, isn't that a sign he's not ready for a booster? I know that he can mature a lot in the upcoming months before his birthday [ 5 mos ], but I just don't feel confident in moving him. I'm hoping his growth has stunted for a while in the meantime..
DS is 44 inches and on the third slot in the nautilus and regent--and he just moved to the third slot on the regent. Your son could have a longer torso than my son, but that would be a really long torso.

This is my son right before we moved his straps up. http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos...7_584201_n.jpg
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#22 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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DS is 44 inches and on the third slot in the nautilus and regent--and he just moved to the third slot on the regent. Your son could have a longer torso than my son, but that would be a really long torso.

This is my son right before we moved his straps up. http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos...7_584201_n.jpg
Does the Regent have a higher harness height than the Frontier?

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#23 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's 20 inches. The frontier is 18 or 18.5, I think.
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#24 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:48 PM
 
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It's 20 inches. The frontier is 18 or 18.5, I think.
Do you think I should spend the money to keep him harnessed past his 4th birthday if he ends up growing another half inch or so? Or would it even be worth the money because there's only an inch and a half difference? I want him to be as safe as possible, but we just bought this seat in July because he grew out of his Decathalon.

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#25 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:52 PM
 
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As a parent, you are the only one that can make my call. It is my experience that most newly-4yos need to be harnessed, though.

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#26 of 59 Old 10-25-2009, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When you can, measure his seated height (floor to shoulder). I can't quite remember the math to see how much overall growth that means, but I'm thinking that means 5 inches overall growth. Of course, you never know when a growth spurt will hit or how much they'll grow, but it's highly unlikely that a child would outgrow a regent at age 4.
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#27 of 59 Old 10-26-2009, 08:33 PM
 
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Why does it matter if the seat has a base or not? How does it affect the seat??
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#28 of 59 Old 10-27-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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oops double post
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#29 of 59 Old 10-27-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by THBVsMommy View Post
He is currently harnessed in a Frontier but is already at the highest harness slot allowable for harness use.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. ALL of the harness heights are usable on a frontier. It's only the cosco/dorel convertibles and combos with the harness that slides up that you can't use the top one (with the exception of the newer ones that go to 50 lbs that is).
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#30 of 59 Old 10-27-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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anti-submarine protection.
What on earth is that supposed to mean??



Quote:
Originally Posted by goodheartedmama View Post
DS is 44 inches and on the third slot in the nautilus and regent--and he just moved to the third slot on the regent. Your son could have a longer torso than my son, but that would be a really long torso.

This is my son right before we moved his straps up. http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos...7_584201_n.jpg
My daughter has a very long torso. She wears an 8 in shirts and dresses. She has one more slot to go in the Nautilus. I keep her harnessed becuase she will not sit correctly with the belt in a booster. (5.5)
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