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Old 05-14-2010, 02:45 PM   #1
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booster with only lap belt????

I have a relative who has two young children - a 2 1/2 year old who is thankfully still harnessed, and an almost 5 year old who she put in a booster seat a few months ago. Who is a little short in height and weighs only 42 pounds. I think he's too little for a booster, but she keeps telling me that's he's old enough and it's legal, which unfortunetly it is. It's a cheap backless booster too! I picked him up the other day for a play date and she was going to put him in the middle seat of my van, with the cheap booster with only a lapbelt, and no shoulder belt! She said her instructions said it could be used with only a lap belt. This can't be right???? That doesn't seem safe at all. Are there any good links that I can send her to make her understand the importance of being harnessed longer and hopefully that her lap belt only info is very wrong?
 
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Old 05-14-2010, 05:07 PM   #2
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Re: booster with only lap belt????

No. no booster can be used with a lap belt only.

The "cheapness" of the booster isn't as important as the fit on the child. the lapbelt should sit low on the hips and the shoulder belt rest nicely across the chest (not too far on the neck or too far off the shoulder) .A Graco Turbobooster is pretty inexpensive and provides a good fit for most kids.


How big is the 5yo? Some 5yos do fine in boosters but it's all about impulse control. If they can sit still and not wiggle and the booster provides a good belt fit he should be OK.But a backless is not appropriate for a small 5yo. It needs to be a high back booster at the very least. It will place the shoulder belt appropriately and provide side impact protection for his head.

I'm more worried she thinks it's OK to use a lap belt only. NO ONE is safe in a lap belt only. Even adults. Serious injury could occur.

You are right to be worried.


Her is a video of what happens in a crash with a lap belt only...maybe that will change her mind about doing it in the future




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Old 05-14-2010, 05:31 PM   #3
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Re: booster with only lap belt????

Unless there are special needs, I would not stress too much about a 5yo 42# child in a booster. I would emphasize that he should be in a highbacked booster, and that no booster can be used with lap belt only.
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:39 PM   #4
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Re: booster with only lap belt????

I can't imagine a booster saying it's okay for use with a lap belt only. That does not provide any upper body protection. I would explain that a seat belt not only keeps us in the vehicle in the event of a crash, but also reduces the foward movement and prevents a person from striking what is in front of them (dashboard, front seat) and without a shoulder belt there is nothing preventing the child (or any person for that matter) from a severe neck or spine injury.
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Old 05-15-2010, 06:36 PM   #5
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Re: booster with only lap belt????

she must not have been paying close attention to her manual... because every single one will have a big circle with a line through it or something similar to indicate you canNOT use it without a shoulderbelt.

Almost 5 and 5 I realize are two different things, but I firmly believe in picking and choosing battles. And here, the easier and more crucial fight is the highback vs. no-back, along with educating her on proper booster use.

You don't need to show her a video... just have her child sit, buckled in the lapbelt, and show her, using the child to demo... the laws of physics... that when the car stops, the body will keep moving, and without a shoulderbelt locking to stop it, the top of the body will move forward... and then just tell her how badly that can injure a spine.

As for the highback vs. no-back thing... I'd start simple and gentle... ask her what happens when the child falls asleep in the car (assuming she does)... because I guarantee you that no 4-6yr old is going to stay upright when sleeping in a backless booster. (well, there are the occasional ones... but a highback is still safer)

if pointing out that doesn't sway her... then talk about side crashes... and show her (using the child to help) how the body will move in a crash... and point out that those eps foam lined headwings (and body wings on some booster models) will help keep her in place and protect her from neck and spine injuries and the need to go see that chiropractor... or from bad injuries or death because she was asleep and not properly positioned in her seat.

IF it's a graco turbobooster... all you have to do is get a model number and a DOM, go online, and she can just order the back (and simply coordinate the prints or add on a cover for the base part so they match)... so she doesn't have to go buy a whole new seat... or point out that it can be put up for another year or two (or sell it on craigslist) and then used as a spare seat.
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