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Old 02-29-2012, 03:12 AM   #1
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Frontier tether question...

I'm due in March and will have a key fit 30 for the baby...when he outgrows that I am planning on getting Katie a Frontier and giving the baby her Boulevard. I've been looking at the 85 vs the SICT and know the cushions, easy remove cover and tether requirements are the only differences. My car manual says the top tether can be used up to 80 lbs so does that mean that if I get the 85 I will have to use the booster mode and not harness mOde when she reaches 80 lbs? But with the SICT I can continue in harness mode to 85 lbs? I'm not sure which seat to get. I will hopefully have a different car by then anyways but it is highly possible we will still have our ford fusion. It's an 06. I'd love any advice/info. Thanks!
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:49 AM   #2
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Re: Frontier tether question...

You are correct that because of your vehicle's tether anchor weight limit, you need to discontinue use of the Frontier85 at 80 pounds.

Most kids move to a booster long before 80 pounds. Is Katie especially heavy for her age? Have you looked at a growth chart to see about when she will be 80 pounds?
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:58 AM   #3
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Re: Frontier tether question...

She's not heavy for her age...in fact, she's kinda petite or at least average at the very most. I'm not sure when most kids hit 80 lbs, so she probably could move to a booster just fine. I love that the SICT has the easy remove cover, but hate that it's more bulky, and I don't like any of the covers very much, but if I need the SICT because of the tether issue, I will definitely get one. I wanna make sure she's safe. If it won't make much of a difference with the tether issue, I'd be just as ok getting the Frontier 85. Here's the exerpt from my Car's user manual on the tether...

"Top tether anchors can be used for children up to 60 lbs in a child restraint, and to provide upper torso restraint in children up to 80 lbs using an upper torso harness and a belt-positioning booster."

I just wanna make sure I'm understanding that right, too. Cause it's totally possible that I'm wrong.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:11 AM   #4
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Re: Frontier tether question...

Definitely not to worry if she's not heavy. Many kids harness to maybe 50-60 pounds at age 6-7-8, then are fine in a booster, and may even pass the five step test without a booster at all by the time they are about 11 and 80 pounds (50th percentile).
It's nice Ford posts their weight limits. You won't find anything much better in any newer car, most say nothing in the manual, and none have higher weight limits than Ford.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:28 AM   #5
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Re: Frontier tether question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieGrace View Post
Here's the exerpt from my Car's user manual on the tether...

"Top tether anchors can be used for children up to 60 lbs in a child restraint, and to provide upper torso restraint in children up to 80 lbs using an upper torso harness and a belt-positioning booster."

I just wanna make sure I'm understanding that right, too. Cause it's totally possible that I'm wrong.
You're right, your tether anchor limit is 60 pounds for all traditional child restraints. The only time the 80 pounds applies is if you are using a product like the Ride Safer Travel Vest, and EZ-On vest, or an 86-Y.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: Frontier tether question...

The (Frontier) 85 requires the top tether (in harness mode) after 65 lbs. It's encouraged at ALL weights, but it's mandatory after 65 lbs. The SICT encourages the TT at all weights, but it is not mandatory at any weight.

Some vehicles have a stated LATCH weight limit, which, includes the top tether anchor (TTA). For instance, in a Honda, it's 40 lbs. In a Chrysler, it's 48 lbs. Toyota, for instance, defers entirely to the child seat for weight limits.

Prior to 2011, Ford had a lower anchor weight limit (48 lbs) and a separate top tether anchor weight limit (60 lbs, IIRC). In 2011, Ford changed their stance, keeping the lower anchor weight limit at 48 lbs and deferring top tether anchor weight limits to the child seat. Confusing stuff, huh? Looks like you're on the right track, though.

Unless your child is exceptionally heavy for her age, she will likely outgrow the harness on the Frontier (either version) well before she hits 80/85 lbs. My DD is 7 and a half years old, 49.5" tall, and 60 lbs. She's, I think, in the 80-ish something percentile for weight and she's got about 1/2 (maybe less) left to grow on the last harness slot of her 85. She's average height with a generous torso. It's top tethered, but she'll definitely have outgrown the harness by the time she reaches 65 lbs.

Additionally, installing a Frontier using the long belt path assists with head excursion (due to the shoulder belt routing/placement) reduction. So, if you have an untethered seat, there's still some potential benefit with the shoulder belt playing along.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:55 AM   #7
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Re: Frontier tether question...

Thanks for the info! So, just to make sure I"m understanding this right, I CANNOT use the Frontier 85 pretty much in any car with harness mode after 60-65(based on the tether requirements for pretty much all cars. correct? And, I will most likely be able to use the booster mode before she hits 85 lbs anyways and if I did go with the Frontier 85, once it's switched to booster mode with the seat belt and not in harness mode anymore, it doesn't require the tether anymore, correct?? Sorry for the redundancy and 500 questions... I just wanna make sure i'm not confusing myself. lol I guess what's getting me, is why does the Frontier 85 even promote being able to harness to 85 lbs is nobody ever gets to do it because their cars won't support the tether at that high of a weight limit?
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:02 PM   #8
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Re: Frontier tether question...

You can make an informed decision to use top tether over the vehicle weight limit if you choose. What is convincing for me is that KetchupQueen top tethered her car seats over the 40 pound weight limit in her Odyssey. In her crash, they did not fail, and if anything they helped to keep her seats more in place. You can read the story and look at pictures here.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:24 PM   #9
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Re: Frontier tether question...

As technicians, we are taught to strictly adhere to and encourage reading, and following (not following = misuse), vehicle and/or child seat manuals. So how do you justify picking and choosing, KWIM? Some feel the benefits of top tethering above weight limits outweighs the potential risks of not tethering at all. It's a tough situation.

But people frequently make the "parental/caregiver decision" to continue using the top tether beyond the vehicle's stated weight limit. Reducing head excursion is pretty important stuff. I can't say that I've ever read or seen any evidence of top tether anchors failing at higher weights. It may exist, somewhere, but I haven't seen it.

Do I, personally, top tether beyond the weight limit? No, I do not. I drive a Toyota, which defers to the child seat for LATCH limits, and DH drives a Ford (2012), which defers to the child seat for top tether anchor usage/limits.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:32 PM   #10
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[QUOTE="clov878"
Do I, personally, top tether beyond the weight limit? No, I do not. I drive a Toyota, which defers to the child seat for LATCH limits, and DH drives a Ford (2012), which defers to the child seat for top tether anchor usage/limits.[/QUOTE]

So if you have a Britax in those cars the limit is 40lbs?
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:39 PM   #11
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Re: Frontier tether question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica61624 View Post
So if you have a Britax in those cars the limit is 40lbs?
On the lower anchors? Yes. On the top tether? No. In my Toyota, I have a Frontier 85. Toyota defers to the child seat manufacturer for LATCH weight limits. So, the lower anchors should be discontinued at 40 lbs. The top tether, per Britax, is not mandatory until 65 lbs, but encouraged at all weights within harness mode use.

In our Ford, I don't actually have any FF harnessed seats installed at the moment. But, I'll use the FR85 as an example. Ford has a 48 lb lower anchor weight limit. If I had a Britax in the Ford, lower anchors would be discontinued at 40 lbs (per Britax). Prior to the 2011 LATCH manual, Ford had a separate 60 lb weight limit on the top tether. So I would use the top tether on the FR85 until 60 lbs (*ETA: and at that time, I would either deem it an incompatible seat/vehicle combination or make the "parental decision" to tether beyond Ford's 60 lb weight limit since TT is required at 65 lbs in the FR85).

2011+ Ford remains with the same lower anchor weight limit (48 lbs unless the child seat manufacturer has a lower limit, which Britax does), but now defers to the child seat for top tether use. I know this was a change in the 2011 LATCH manual, but I'm actually not sure if the change is for previous MY Fords as well, or just 2011+ MY Fords.
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Last edited by luckyclov; 02-29-2012 at 02:07 PM. Reason: *ETA
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:00 PM   #12
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Re: Frontier tether question...

I think there's a big difference between using the tether beyond the weight limit when it's not required, and using it beyond the weight limit when it is required. The restraint manufacturer is telling us that their seat will not properly protect the child if the tether is not present. Much of the reasoning for using the tether beyond the weight limit is that worst case scenario, you have an untethered seat, but you might get the benefit of having the tether. Except with a seat that *needs* the tether, worst case scenario is you have a seat that won't work properly and won't protect the child.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:04 PM   #13
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Re: Frontier tether question...

Just FYI, my daughter just hit 80# and she will be 10 next week.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clov878
On the lower anchors? Yes. On the top tether? No. In my Toyota, I have a Frontier 85. Toyota defers to the child seat manufacturer for LATCH weight limits. So, the lower anchors should be discontinued at 40 lbs. The top tether, per Britax, is not mandatory until 65 lbs, but encouraged at all weights within harness mode use.

In our Ford, I don't actually have any FF harnessed seats installed at the moment. But, I'll use the FR85 as an example. Ford has a 48 lb lower anchor weight limit. If I had a Britax in the Ford, lower anchors would be discontinued at 40 lbs (per Britax). Prior to the 2011 LATCH manual, Ford had a separate 60 lb weight limit on the top tether. So I would use the top tether on the FR85 until 60 lbs (*ETA: and at that time, I would either deem it an incompatible seat/vehicle combination or make the "parental decision" to tether beyond Ford's 60 lb weight limit since TT is required at 65 lbs in the FR85).

2011+ Ford remains with the same lower anchor weight limit (48 lbs unless the child seat manufacturer has a lower limit, which Britax does), but now defers to the child seat for top tether use. I know this was a change in the 2011 LATCH manual, but I'm actually not sure if the change is for previous MY Fords as well, or just 2011+ MY Fords.
Thanks for explaining. I wasn't sure if the tether was included in Britax assume 40lbs rule or not.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:53 PM   #15
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Re: Frontier tether question...

If you're child is past 65 lbs but in booster mode (not harness), you don't need the tether anymore anyways, even for the Frontier 85, correct??
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:21 PM   #16
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Re: Frontier tether question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by clov878 View Post
On the lower anchors? Yes. On the top tether? No. In my Toyota, I have a Frontier 85. Toyota defers to the child seat manufacturer for LATCH weight limits. So, the lower anchors should be discontinued at 40 lbs. The top tether, per Britax, is not mandatory until 65 lbs, but encouraged at all weights within harness mode use.

In our Ford, I don't actually have any FF harnessed seats installed at the moment. But, I'll use the FR85 as an example. Ford has a 48 lb lower anchor weight limit. If I had a Britax in the Ford, lower anchors would be discontinued at 40 lbs (per Britax). Prior to the 2011 LATCH manual, Ford had a separate 60 lb weight limit on the top tether. So I would use the top tether on the FR85 until 60 lbs (*ETA: and at that time, I would either deem it an incompatible seat/vehicle combination or make the "parental decision" to tether beyond Ford's 60 lb weight limit since TT is required at 65 lbs in the FR85).

2011+ Ford remains with the same lower anchor weight limit (48 lbs unless the child seat manufacturer has a lower limit, which Britax does), but now defers to the child seat for top tether use. I know this was a change in the 2011 LATCH manual, but I'm actually not sure if the change is for previous MY Fords as well, or just 2011+ MY Fords.
I think that a Britax seat can be installed with the lower anchors until the 48 pound limit of a Ford. Britax's limit seems more like a "follow the vehicle limit, and if there isn't one, use 40 pounds" than just a plain 40 pound limit. I think since Ford has a 48 pound limit, it's acceptable to install a Britax with the lower anchors to the 48 pound limit in a Ford, based on the wording in the Britax manuals. I posted the LATCH info from a Frontier manual below.

"For harness mode refer to your vehicle owner’s manual or
contact the vehicle manufacturer for the maximum weight
rating for the LATCH anchors in your vehicle. Use the vehicle
belt (not LATCH connectors) for installations with children
who weigh more than the vehicle LATCH anchor limit. Unless
specified otherwise by the vehicle manufacturer, assume a 40
pound (18.2 kg) child is the vehicle LATCH anchor limit."
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:23 PM   #17
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Re: Frontier tether question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bree View Post
I think that a Britax seat can be installed with the lower anchors until the 48 pound limit of a Ford. Britax's limit seems more like a "follow the vehicle limit, and if there isn't one, use 40 pounds" than just a plain 40 pound limit. I think since Ford has a 48 pound limit, it's acceptable to install a Britax with the lower anchors to the 48 pound limit in a Ford, based on the wording in the Britax manuals. I posted the LATCH info from a Frontier manual below.

"For harness mode refer to your vehicle owner’s manual or
contact the vehicle manufacturer for the maximum weight
rating for the LATCH anchors in your vehicle. Use the vehicle
belt (not LATCH connectors) for installations with children
who weigh more than the vehicle LATCH anchor limit. Unless
specified otherwise by the vehicle manufacturer, assume a 40
pound (18.2 kg) child is the vehicle LATCH anchor limit."
Yes, in that case, you're right - in a Ford (or Chrysler, GM, or any other vehicle manufacturer with a 48 lb stated weight limit), you could continue use of the lower anchors until 48 lbs (or 46 lbs, since it's a clothed/shoed weight limit).

I hadn't thought about it from that angle because, frankly, I have a *thing* for long belt path and never use the lower anchors to install Frontiers, anyways.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:31 PM   #18
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Re: Frontier tether question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieGrace View Post
If you're child is past 65 lbs but in booster mode (not harness), you don't need the tether anymore anyways, even for the Frontier 85, correct??
Well, no, but you can and should leave it all attached. The difference is that the seatbelt is holding the weight of the child, the LATCH/tether are only holding the 20 pounds of seat
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:39 PM   #19
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Re: Frontier tether question...

So, do you go back to using Latch/tether again for booster mode? Again, sorry for the 500 questions. Can you tell I haven't done this before?? lol I just wanna make sure I know everything I need to know.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:25 PM   #20
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Re: Frontier tether question...

You can use LATCH/tether for booster mode. It's not required, but I highly recommend it if they are available. In booster mode, the seat belt does the job of restraining the child. The purpose of LATCH/tether is so that you don't have an unrestrained projectile if you get in a crash when the child is not in the vehicle.

If LATCH/tether are not available, then the solution is to buckle the empty booster.
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