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Discussion Starter #1
When you buckle a child into a booster seat, do you 'lock' the seatbelt or keep it 'loose'. By locking, I mean pulling it all the way out. I'm seeing information for both ways.
 

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I don't lock it now - I did at first with my 2nd kid, but reading here was what convinced me not to. And actually, by the time they are boosters they tend to be able to buckle themselves, so I am already in the front and in my seat so I really can't retract the seat belt for them.
 

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We're still buckling her in. It's for my niece and I drive her around a lot. She JUST switched over to booster seat (a tall 4 year old, meets height/weight requirements). Personally I would have left her in the 5 pt harness until this fall but everyone else was ready for the big switch. I find it so hard to let her sit in the booster with a loose seatbelt! But if it's safer, I guess that's what we'll do.
 

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The general rule is that if a child needs it locked to prevent them from getting out of position, they are not ready for a booster. It can be a useful tool for booster training but I would not rely on it long term.
 

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Ok, no locking. Thanks! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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We lock it. I usually lock my own as well. Locking keeps it secure on the thighs and, from what I've read, makes submarining in the belt less likely.<br><br>
And, going by an_aurora's post, if she's real squirmy and falls asleep and leans out of it, then yes, I would lock it. Reason being that she is still learning how to use a booster, and you are not her parent so you can't make the call back to put her back in the 5 point harness. This way, at least when she rides with you, she can ride safer.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>DahliaRW</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15403757"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Check your vehicle manual - some prohibit locking the belt.</div>
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Can someone please explain this to me? Why would a vehicle manual prohibit the locking of a seat belt? If you (general you) ever ran across a vehicle that prohibited that, would you feel safe installing a car seat in it with locked seat belts?<br><br>
If a belt can't function properly when it's in pre-locked position, how on earth will it function holding a car seat properly installed?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Anastasiya</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15404247"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can someone please explain this to me? Why would a vehicle manual prohibit the locking of a seat belt? If you (general you) ever ran across a vehicle that prohibited that, would you feel safe installing a car seat in it with locked seat belts?<br><br>
If a belt can't function properly when it's in pre-locked position, how on earth will it function holding a car seat properly installed?</div>
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The way I see it. The belt is set to function one way, to give a bit and then lock in a quick stop/crash. I think the "give" before locking is key. When it is locked on a body, there is no "give" which in theory could cause injury. It's different to use a locked seatbelt on a car seat. For installing a car seat, the part that doesn't "give" is impacting the plastic of the car seat, not your child's body. Totally different.<br><br>
My sienna prohibits locking the seatbelt for a boostered child. Their reasoning is that it could cause injury to the child (or so that's what the manual says). But, it says it's ok to lock the belt for a car seat. So I know that is ok. My thought is, they do the testing, if they say not to lock it there must be a reason and some way their belts work. And worst case, there is no reason but I'm not hurting anything by not locking.
 

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My seven year old locks her own because that is what we have always done. I used to worry that her weight wouldn't be enough to make the belt lock in an emergency. I also lock the seat belt when her friends are in because they play around a lot.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>DahliaRW</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15404779"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The way I see it. The belt is set to function one way, to give a bit and then lock in a quick stop/crash.</div>
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A regular seat belt will "give" a bit anyway. There is always a good amount of stretch to a seat belt in a crash setting.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I think the "give" before locking is key. When it is locked on a body, there is no "give" which in theory could cause injury.</td>
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In theory - but there is no "give" on a harnessed child, either, who is properly harnessed. I don't think the "give" has anything to do with it, really....like I said, in a crash there will be enough "give" anyway due to the nature of the seatbelt.<br><br>
There is, however, a very real concern of too <i>much</i> slack, which can cause submarining and side impact injuries. I mentioned in another thread that just driving through town with an unlocked seatbelt (my driver's belt doesn't lock), I had a substantial amount of slack in the lap portion at the end of my trip. In an accident, that would cause one of two things: It would either cause me to submarine <i>under</i> the belt and suffer internal organ damage, or it would tighten up the lap part and then introduce too much slack in the chest area which could cause severe spinal and head injury. Belts aren't perfect - they can and do loosen, and I wouldn't trust a child to pay attention and keep their own belt snug against them.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">My sienna prohibits locking the seatbelt for a boostered child. Their reasoning is that it could cause injury to the child (or so that's what the manual says).</td>
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My guess is that it's a CYA thing, and that the injury isn't one that would happen in an accident, but one that could happen if you locked and retracted too tightly and the child couldn't breathe.<br><br>
I agree that if my manual specified not to lock on a boostered child, I wouldn't do it. But that wouldn't change my thought process....I still think it's safer because I've seen how my own belt loosens during a trip. And I'd be shopping for another car. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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When my child has accidentally locked her belt, it has caused the booster to be locked in place so we couldn't get the seat belt back without turning the whole booster sideways and taking the belt out of the guides. No way I'm dealing with that every time even if I thought it were better.
 

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You mean for a belt-positioning booster where the seat belt goes over the child's shoulders and lap?<br><br>
I think it would be incredibly cruel to lock the seat belt. I hate it when the seat belt locks on me when I ride in back. It strangles you and no way to fix it except to unbuckle it and let it go all the way back in.<br><br>
I bet the people who lock the seat belt have kids who still need to be harnessed. They're probably trying to keep the kid in position by locking the belt, but the belt doesn't stay at one length, it gets shorter. So if the child breathes out, they might not be able to breathe in fully because there is no longer room for their ribs to expand.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sapphire_chan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15427176"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it would be incredibly cruel to lock the seat belt. I hate it when the seat belt locks on me when I ride in back. It strangles you and no way to fix it except to unbuckle it and let it go all the way back in.</div>
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Personal preference. I prefer my seat belt locked. My daughter (almost 6) demands that we lock her belt because she prefers the tight feeling like the harness. It's all she was used to, after all.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">They're probably trying to keep the kid in position by locking the belt, but the belt doesn't stay at one length, it gets shorter. So if the child breathes out, they might not be able to breathe in fully because there is no longer room for their ribs to expand.</td>
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I must have a different ratchet/locking system than you. Mine ratchets back at intervals so there's no chance of suffocating a child. It just won't happen. The belt doesn't keep getting shorter and shorter, in other words.
 
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