Safer with or without booster in front seat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-03-2013, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I searched the forum and read the threads that I found on this subject. I get that it's safest in the back and that, if you have to put a child in a restraint system in the front seat, ideally it would be a harnessed child.

But, if you have to put a child who meets the law requirements for riding without even a regular booster but is small enough that he is still riding in a HBB in the back seat in the front seat, is it safer to use the HBB, the booster without the back or no booster?

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#2 of 13 Old 01-03-2013, 05:26 PM
 
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I would use a backless booster.  He needs the booster to position the belt properly, and the backless booster will keep him farther from the dashboard (and airbags?) than the high-backed booster would.
 


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#3 of 13 Old 01-04-2013, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, there are airbags and no way to turn them off.

How, exactly, do you tell if the child still needs a booster to position the seatbelt? I had him try it on without a booster just to see and it seemed to fit properly. It went across his shoulder and was not up around his neck at all.

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#4 of 13 Old 01-04-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post

Yes, there are airbags and no way to turn them off.
How, exactly, do you tell if the child still needs a booster to position the seatbelt? I had him try it on without a booster just to see and it seemed to fit properly. It went across his shoulder and was not up around his neck at all.


check the fuses, you might be able to pull the fuse out for the passenger airbag

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#5 of 13 Old 01-04-2013, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by silversparrow View Post


check the fuses, you might be able to pull the fuse out for the passenger airbag

I did read about the fuse but what I read said that pulling the fuse would turn off all of the airbags. I didn't check to see if there was a separate fuse for the passenger side. I can do that.

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#6 of 13 Old 01-04-2013, 04:47 PM
 
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http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm


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#7 of 13 Old 01-04-2013, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by DahliaRW View Post

http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm

According to that, he is ready to ride without a booster. I'm not fully comfortable with that, though.

I still have him in a HBB. Should I switch him to just the booster? Is it safer to have him out of the booster if he can fit in the seat properly with just a seat belt or is it still safer in a booster? The info is confusing about whether or not it's safer to use a safety seat even if they are big enough and old/mature enough to ride without one.

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#8 of 13 Old 01-04-2013, 06:51 PM
 
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He completely passes the 5-step test?  If you describe him as a small 8yo who still fits in a highbacked booster by height (shoulders below the belt guides), I would try the test again with a more critical eye.  Most kids don't pass until about 57" or even taller (which is not a small 8yo, IMO/IME), and almost all kids who still fit in a HBB are not ready to pass the test.  My own kid just passed this month in all our vehicles, and she's just barely under 5'.

 

BUT.  What you asked.  Even if he does truly pass the 5-step test, a booster (backless or HB) does provide additional protection.  An adult's hipbones are hard and sharp and help hold the lapbelt in place during a crash.  A prepubescent child's hipbones are soft and rounded.  The arms of the booster act as artificial hips and help hold the lap belt in place.  If he still fits in a booster, it's best for him to use one.  A backless booster is an appropriate choice for most 8yos and could be a decent compromise.


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#9 of 13 Old 01-05-2013, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

Even if he does truly pass the 5-step test, a booster (backless or HB) does provide additional protection.  An adult's hipbones are hard and sharp and help hold the lapbelt in place during a crash.  A prepubescent child's hipbones are soft and rounded.  The arms of the booster act as artificial hips and help hold the lap belt in place.  If he still fits in a booster, it's best for him to use one.  A backless booster is an appropriate choice for most 8yos and could be a decent compromise.

Thanks. This is what I was looking for in regards to whether or not to use a booster at all. I remember assuming that keeping a 5+ year old in a 5-point harness as long as possible being safest but then I read on here that it might actually be safer to put them in a booster because the harness on a larger kid could cause more neck injury. shrug.gif That was a few years ago, now, so it may have been proven false.
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Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

He completely passes the 5-step test? If you describe him as a small 8yo who still fits in a highbacked booster by height (shoulders below the belt guides), I would try the test again with a more critical eye. Most kids don't pass until about 57" or even taller (which is not a small 8yo, IMO/IME), and almost all kids who still fit in a HBB are not ready to pass the test. My own kid just passed this month in all our vehicles, and she's just barely under 5'.

As far as I can tell he does, but I'm not an expert. Maybe he's not all that small and his friends are just giants. lol.gif He'll be 9 in a week. I'm 5 feet and he seems to be pretty close to my height but he's skinny. I think he weighs just over 50 lbs., which is why I've been keeping him in the booster. The law in our state says 8 years or 80 lbs., whichever comes sooner, but I figure size/weight is more important than age so I was going by whichever came later. He's nowhere near 80 lbs.

I'm keeping him in the booster in the back. I was just wondering what was safest if he had to ride in the front. I don't think that's an issue anymore. I think I've solved the problem without having to resort to that. Now I'm just curious about what is safest for future reference.

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#10 of 13 Old 01-05-2013, 11:37 AM
 
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A kid who is 5' tall and 50 pounds is *extremely* thin.  A kid who is 5' tall also may have outgrown his high-backed booster -- are the belt guides above his shoulders?


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#11 of 13 Old 01-05-2013, 11:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

A kid who is 5' tall and 50 pounds is *extremely* thin. 

 

Indeed.  My 4 foot 3 inch, turning-9-this-month son is about 73 pounds, and is NOT husky.


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#12 of 13 Old 01-05-2013, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't say that he's as tall as me. I said he's close, and a little over 50 lbs. But, yes, he is very skinny.

Ya know, I don't really know if the belt guides are above his shoulders. I just looked at the belt, itself, going across his shoulder and not across his neck and that his ears weren't above the head support.

So many little details. It's ridiculous. No wonder so many people use their safety seats wrong. They need to be made more simple to use.

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#13 of 13 Old 01-05-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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Also important to note that the fit of seatbelts vary in vehicles and seat positions.

My dd didn't need a booster in a Honda civic at age 8. She went straight from a hb booster to nothing.

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