Best car seat configuration--2008 T&C? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-01-2011, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We just brought home our new-to-us '08 T&C last night. We were hoping for an 8-passenger van but got a really good deal on this one.  Now I'm trying to figure out the best arrangement for our carseats:

 

Evenflo Maestro

2 Radians (old 65s)

Scenera (optional)

 

My kids are 5.5 and 44lbs, almost 4 and 42lbs (still harnessed by law) and 14m (obviously still RF).  DD1 is capable of sitting in a seatbelt booster except for long rides, and she is getting too tall for the top slots on the Maestro. Right now I have DD1 in the Maestro  and DD2 in one of the Radians in the 3rd row, and that virtually extinguishes the 3rd seat. DS is RF behind the passenger in the Radian, but then that door is blocked.

 

What will a) maximize open seating for additional passengers, b) keep access as open as possible, and c) make it easiest for everyone to get in and get buckled??


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Old 12-03-2011, 05:35 AM
 
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You actually pretty much all ready have it.

 

You can only have one forward facing child in the third row because you have only one top tether anchor back there.   

 

(Don't forget now that your 4 year old is 42 lbs you need to remove the SafeStop from her Radian harness.)

 

Also, I just want to clarify, you don't have a law requiring that your 4 year old be harnessed.   A lot of people misunderstand the statute to indicate that, but if you read the actual wording of the statute and not somebody's interpretation you'll see that it's not true. However, law or not, no almost 4 year old should EVER be in a booster only.  She should remain harnessed for the next several years.  

 

If your older child is outgrowing the harness on the Maestro, she's very close to outgrowing the harness on the Nautilus.  At this point your only option for extended harnessing is the Frontier.   

One option you could consider (That will only work as long as your 4 year old is under 48 lbs), is to put the Radian in the off-set third row LATCH position.   You could remove the passenger side captain's chair from the middle row and then put your rear facing son passenger side third row in his Radian.   That will leave the remaining captain's chair for your 5 year old.  

 

 

When the 5 year old develops the maturity to remain boostered all the time, and not just for shorter trips, you could put her outboard driver's side third row, and your rear facing child could remain where he is.  Then your harnessed four year old could occupy the only captain's chair, continuing to free up that space.  

 

 


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Old 12-03-2011, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Maedze!! I really think the baby would fit best in the back. I know I probably could get them all back there with DD1 in a seatbelt booster in a pinch since i had them 3-across in my wagon. And seatbelt installs of course.

 

As for the state law thing, I have not read the actual law. But without exception, every interpretation I have read lists us as 4 years AND 40lbs to legally use a booster.  This is what the IIHS site says:  3 years and younger or less than 40 pounds in child restraint; 4 through 7 years who weigh 40 pounds or more and who are shorter than 57 inches in booster seat.  So what you are saying is news to me. Do you have a link to the actual verbiage?

 


And thanks for the SafeStop reminder!  I'm 99% sure we removed it this summer b/c she was 41lbs in July. But I will check.


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Old 12-03-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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If you tell me your state, I can link you to the actual statute.  Like I said, a lot of INTERPRETATIVE websites (and the IIHS is not a statute, is an insurance information agency, LOL) will list that information, but it's factually not true.   The statute requires an FMVSS 213 approved 'child restraint system'.  A lot of people just assume this means a harnessed seat.  However, a "Child Restraint System" (unless it is separately defined in the statute otherwise) legally means EITHER a harnessed system OR a belt positioning booster seat presuming the child meets the manufacturers qualifications.  It does NOT mean harnessed seat only!

 

For example, the Graco Turbobooster High Back seat has a minimum age of 3 years, a minimum height of 38" and a minimum weight of 30 pounds.   The Graco Turbobooster High Back is an FMVSS 213 approved child restraint system.   It would be legal for your child.  

However, I don't want you to the impression that legal=safe.  No three year old is SAFE in a booster.  It's just legal.  So is buying your 18 year old cigarettes for his birthday.  It would be a really dumb move, but legal. LOL.      I just don't want people to walk away with the impression that the only reason to keep a three year old harnessed is that the law requires it because A.  it doesn't and B.  it's horribly dangerous for a 3 year old to be boostered no matter what the law is.   


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Old 12-03-2011, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, no, I agree with you and would never move my kids to boosters until they are ready. And yes, I know that the IIHS is not a statute; that was just the best source I could find for the interpretation I'd read several times over. 

 

I am in Ohio. From what I have read and heard, they force the harness thing on the back end because the law allows boosters only at 4yo and 40lbs, both. But that might be incorrect? I just want to know because I've made a big deal about kids riding in boosters at 3 or less than 40lbs to my DH's family. ;)


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Old 12-03-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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Nope, the law does not require 4/40 to be in a booster.   http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.81   That's a link to your actual statute, and as you'll see for kids under 4 and 40 it requires a 'child restraint system' and for a child over 4 and 40 either a 'child restraint system' OR a 'booster seat'.   

Because the statute doesn't go on to define 'child restraint system' as 'harnessed seat only', the statute must defer to the federal definition of 'child restraint system' which means any restraint, harnessed or booster, that meets FMVSS 213 and meets manufacturer's specs for the child.  

 

I suspect that the persons responsible for writing it were *attempting* to require that kids under 4 and 40 be in a harnessed system only, but because they did not redefine a legally defined term with the confines of the statute, it was a pretty poor effort on their part.    In other words, there would be absolutely no legal muscle behind attempting to ticket for a three year old in a booster.  It would never fly, because a booster is an approved child restraint system for a three year old all other conditions being met.  

 

In a similar vein...a 36 pound 6 year old is perfectly safe in a booster, provided she meets all maturity requirements, and the booster is rated for her size.  That 40 pound marker has very little to do with safety.   Fit and age are what's important in terms of booster use.  


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Old 12-03-2011, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!  I guess I have to eat my words...which stinks. I like the spirit of the law much better than the letter ;)


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Old 12-03-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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No one says you actually have to say anything.  *flutters eyelashes alluringly*


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