Booster a 4 year old to fit 3-across? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 02-06-2012, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're expecting our third child this September.  At that time, DD1 will be 4y9m, and DD2 will 2y9m.

 

We are in a 1995 Ford Explorer, with no third row.  A new vehicle is not an option and won't be for quite a few years.

 

Currently, DD1 is in a Britax Frontier 85, harnessed.  (This is behind the drivers side.  I can't put a RFer behind my DH because it either a) pushes the seat up too far for him, or b) pokes over the top of his headrest which is not moveable and would hurt him in an accident.


DD2 is in a Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL (rear facing, intend to keep her this way!).  She is RFing center.

 

There is no room for another car seat.  I've tried a MyRide (because the base is small and the top overhangs) and a few narrow infant seats.  Not center, not outboard.  They just don't fit.

 

My DD1 is a tall girl.  She has outgrown the Radian both rear facing (by weight) and forward facing (by torso height).  

 

I'm not concerned with her being able to buckle the booster herself- I have smallish hands and can do it for her, or we can just leave it buckled and have her scoot up under the belt to get in the seat.

 

The Frontier85 has an external width of 19".  A Turbobooster is 16".  That would allow me three more inches to get an infant seat or another radian in there.  Your thoughts?


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#2 of 12 Old 02-06-2012, 11:46 AM
 
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Most 4yos and many 5yos are not booster-ready.  From other things you've posted about your daughter, I believe she may very well fall into the not-ready category.  You may have to consider something like a Ride Safer Travel Vest for her.


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#3 of 12 Old 02-06-2012, 12:56 PM
 
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I agree that the RSTV might be your best option if she's too tall for a narrower harnessed seat.  Then you can swap it out for a TB when she gains the maturity.  You also could look into an ezon harness which can be used with a booster (I believe, double check that) if you want more of a shell around her as well as a harness.


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#4 of 12 Old 02-06-2012, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not comfortable with the RSTV because of the lack of side impact protection, and the ez-on/86-y requires the use of a top-tether which we don't have (only cargo hooks).  

 

IMO a vest offers very little support, whereas a HBB offers SIP and somewhere to lay her head to the side should she fall asleep.  If a kid falls asleep in a RSTV.. they're sort of all over the place, aren't they?

 

I'd obviously booster train her first.. I'm just really worried about not having a place to fit this baby.


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#5 of 12 Old 02-06-2012, 10:04 PM
 
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All the side impact protection isn't going to help is she mature enough to be sitting properly in an accident and submarines down and out of her belt. I would take it to the dealer and get the tether point installed, I think Ford might be one of the companies who does it for free still.

The Frontier must be tethered at a certain weight anyway...if she outgrew the RA by weight she must be over 45lbs. Anyone else know the weight the FR85 must be tethered? You might need the tether now anyway...




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#6 of 12 Old 02-06-2012, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BathrobeGoddess View Post

All the side impact protection isn't going to help is she mature enough to be sitting properly in an accident and submarines down and out of her belt. I would take it to the dealer and get the tether point installed, I think Ford might be one of the companies who does it for free still.
The Frontier must be tethered at a certain weight anyway...if she outgrew the RA by weight she must be over 45lbs. Anyone else know the weight the FR85 must be tethered? You might need the tether now anyway...


The FR85 requires it over 65lbs.. by then I hoped to be in a booster anyways.

 

I called Ford awhile back, and recently, and they will not do it for free.  They had to look it up as they had no idea as to what I was talking about.

The newer style RSTVs don't have a lockoff, which AFAIK would help wiggly kids stay in place.  Now, the top tether is recommended for that purpose.  (so in my situation, if she's not ready for a booster, she's likely not ready for a RSTV either).  I've heard that the RSTVs are uncomfortable (and my DD does not like tons of buckles on her- the car seat and it's two have been hard to sell to her), and therefore more difficult for a child to stay in position.  

 

The RSTV is also not recommended for full time use because of the difficulty/complex buckling and the higher margin for misuse.  And then again there's the discomfort thing.

 

We go on long rides and DD sometimes falls asleep.  It is my understanding that a child in a booster can be "trained" to lean their head back (while staying in position) or against one of the wings.  And a receiving blanket can also be used to support the head.  If a child is in a non-tethered non-locked vest and falls asleep, he or she has no real body support and will be flopping side to side- which can introduce slack in the belt and cause it not to perform as well.

I'd obviously work on booster training my DD first.  I wouldn't put her in a booster full time unless I was absolutely certain she would sit properly 100% of the time.

 

I just frankly don't see a RSTV working.  I'm essentially out of options.  


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#7 of 12 Old 02-07-2012, 05:23 AM
 
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An RSTV tests like a 5 point harness.  A booster does not.  I absolutely would not put your child in a booster. 

Can you explain what you mean by saying your child is too tall for a Radian?  How tall is she?  Are her ears over the top of the shell? 


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#8 of 12 Old 02-07-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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If she is truly too tall for the Radian (over 53"), she's probably too tall for a Turbobooster as well.


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#9 of 12 Old 02-07-2012, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

If she is truly too tall for the Radian (over 53"), she's probably too tall for a Turbobooster as well.


 

She has a monster torso.  I believe she's 44-45" tall.

 

Maedze- she is over the top slots and regardless of what SKJP/Diono say about it, I am not comfortable with it.  I firmly believe that if she is able to sit properly in a booster she will be more well protected there than in a Radian over the top slots.

 

Also, I'm not in the financial position to buy another Radian.

 

ETA: Two more things- didn't Russ from SKJP once say that  the reason for the allowance was because the Radians tested so well as far as Head Excursion goes, and even with the possibility of increased excursion would still put it within the limits, especially when tethered? I don't have top tethers.

Another reason why I'm uncomfortable with it is because of spinal compression- my DD is young and tall for her age.  Isn't spinal compression less of an issue for older children- kind of like why we RF younger children- because their bones aren't strong enough to protect their spinal cord in a frontal impact (everything stretches)?   Isn't it kind of the same premise, only opposite, for younger children vs. older children and spinal compression?


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#10 of 12 Old 02-07-2012, 10:34 AM
 
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My ds is too tall for the radian (shoulder wise at least) and fits fine with room to grow in a TB.  So it may not be outgrown and could be an option of the child sits properly in a seatbelt.  FWIW, both of my boys have used the RSTV for travel and have never complained.  Yes, it's a bit more of a pain to buckle in and out of, but in a 3 across situation it may be the only option that will fit sometimes or the only option for a child too tall for a harness and not mature enough for a booster.  The top tether is not required, and the way the vest works the seatbelt stays properly positioned even if the child is a bit wiggly.

 

I do agree, though, that you should get top tethers retrofitted if at all possible.  The ladies at car-seat.org can give you specific information to have on hand when calling your dealership so they know what you mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post


 

She has a monster torso.  I believe she's 44-45" tall.

 

Maedze- she is over the top slots and regardless of what SKJP/Diono say about it, I am not comfortable with it.  I firmly believe that if she is able to sit properly in a booster she will be more well protected there than in a Radian over the top slots.

 

Also, I'm not in the financial position to buy another Radian.

 

ETA: Two more things- didn't Russ from SKJP once say that  the reason for the allowance was because the Radians tested so well as far as Head Excursion goes, and even with the possibility of increased excursion would still put it within the limits, especially when tethered? I don't have top tethers.

Another reason why I'm uncomfortable with it is because of spinal compression- my DD is young and tall for her age.  Isn't spinal compression less of an issue for older children- kind of like why we RF younger children- because their bones aren't strong enough to protect their spinal cord in a frontal impact (everything stretches)?   Isn't it kind of the same premise, only opposite, for younger children vs. older children and spinal compression?



 


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#11 of 12 Old 02-07-2012, 10:37 AM
 
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Let's put it this way: it's fine to not like something or not be comfortable with something, but we need to deal with facts, and the facts are that your child has been presented as not having the maturity for a booster.  The facts are that the Radian is approved for use over the top torso.   The facts are that your child is safer in a Radian than she is in a booster, regardless of perception. 

You need to get top tether anchors retrofitted, and you need to keep your child harnessed.   Either the Radian or the RSTV could make those happen for you.    What you do with that information is up to you, but you aren't going to get technicians to tell you that it's safe to put your child without proper impulse control in a booster.  It isn't.    You are not out of options.  You have two very good ones. 


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#12 of 12 Old 02-08-2012, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I borrowed a turbobooster (from a trustworthy family member).  We did a bit of booster training.  She did fine.  Sat perfectly and the belt fit was excellent.  I don't think I will put her in a booster full-time yet, but will slowly accustom her to it.  

 

Thank you for the advice.


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