Why is a booster safer than a 5-pt harness for an older child? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-08-2011, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I’ve seen it mentioned on other threads that a booster is as safe as a 5-pt harness for older children.   I understand that. 

I’ve also read posts saying a booster might be safer than a 5-pt harness but I cannot find an explanation for this view on MDC or other sites.  Does anyone know why the booster w/b safer?

TIA

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#2 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 03:59 AM
 
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The idea is that the harnessed seat restrains the child's torso so well, that the head can go flinging forward and cause neck injuries.  In a booster, the child's body would move more, which would reduce the strain on the neck.  This is a known issue for race-car drivers, who have tethers on their helmets to restrain their heads in an accident.  It hasn't been well studied enough for my taste in children & automobile accidents, but I personally lean in the direction of boosters for kids over 5. 

 

In Sweeden, which has a really good track record for child passenger safety, they don't harness FF children at all - but they also RF to 4-6 years old. 

 

My  personal plan is to RF DD until she is 40lbs, then harness her FF until she is 5 or so, then start booster training.  She is fairly mature, so I think she will be ready to sit in a booster  by 5. 


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#3 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the reply. 

 

 

My children are 6.5yo, 61 & 63 pounds dressed, 50” tall and still use Britax Regents.  Their shoulder straps fit fine.  I was planning to keep them in the Regents until they grow another inch or two but was wondering if I should move them into boosters now after reading a booster might be safer.  

(Actually, I thought they were 48” tall but measured them this morning and was surprised they were up to 50”.  So they are closer to outgrowing the Regent than I realized.) 

 

 

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#4 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 05:23 AM
 
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#5 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsam View Post

Thank you for the reply. 

 

 

My children are 6.5yo, 61 & 63 pounds dressed, 50” tall and still use Britax Regents.  Their shoulder straps fit fine.  I was planning to keep them in the Regents until they grow another inch or two but was wondering if I should move them into boosters now after reading a booster might be safer.  

(Actually, I thought they were 48” tall but measured them this morning and was surprised they were up to 50”.  So they are closer to outgrowing the Regent than I realized.) 

 

 

 

That is entirely up to you.  If you & they are happy with the Regents, that's fine.  I'm not convinced there's enough evidence one way or other, honestly.  


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#6 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 06:07 AM
 
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I agree that there's not enough evidence either way.  I think it is a personal choice after about 4-6 years old, and I think I will choose a booster, but I do not think parents who choose extended harnessing are necessarily choosing badly - there's not enough evidence for it to be clear-cut (unlike, for example, extended RF)


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#7 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 06:23 AM
 
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Agree that there's no evidence either way.  There are credible theories that harnesses may perform better in certain types of crashes and credible theories that boosters may perform better in certain other types of crashes, but [b]no evidence either way[/b]. As long as a child can use a booster properly -- and IMO/IME that usually happens towards the middle/end of the sixth year -- both are very safe and appropriate choices and a parent should be comfortable making a decision based on preference and convenience.


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#8 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 06:26 AM
 
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For me, choosing "extended harnessing" for my son (who is 7) is mainly due to his autism and the fact that he tried to escape or take his seatbelt off several times when I tried just a belt-positioning booster.

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#9 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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I am also not convinced either way and I do think there are other factors to be considered.  Many children don't sit correctly in boosters the whole time.  Remember that ANY reaching out of position (straight up, all the way back) is considered improper use really.  

 

More important though I think is consideration of hitting other seats in a crash.  A boostered (and seat belted) kid is going to fling FURTHER forward than a harnessed kid.  This is going to increase the chance their head or legs contact the seat in front of them at high speed.  For my kid, in my car, at this time, that means that if she's in the booster- she's in the middle (less to contact.)  In the second car she's still in the regent because we have it and it's a civic and there is no place in the car she wouldn't contact another seat (ds has a seat in that car too, so no one in the middle)

 

-Angela

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#10 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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There is not much (if any) definitive information out there either way.  But we know kids aren't safe in a booster they won't sit still in, and they might not be ready to sit properly until 5 or 6 or older.  My oldest is a very mellow traveler and I thought she would be great in a booster but she isn't.  She's 5.5 and she's just not mature enough.


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#11 of 11 Old 02-09-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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What they all said.  I don't know that it's safer, but that it's likely just as safe.  This is when we are talking say, your average 6 yr old who sits properly and won't unbuckle the seat belt while the car is moving.  There are plenty of factors that go into play when parents decide to either keep their 5+ old harnessed or switch to a high back booster.


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