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Old 03-09-2009, 01:09 AM   #1
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Question Infant Carrier Handle Position

My baby rides in a Graco SafeSeat. I have friends whose babies ride in the SnugRide. I could probably look around and find the answer to this question, or a debate surrounding it, but it's late and I want to get it asked.

Where should the handle be for use in the vehicle? The manual for my SafeSeat only states: NEVER use position B in the vehicle (B is halfway between upright and level with the seat head). Does that imply that any other position is safe for use in the vehicle? Personally, I keep it level with the head, or down, but not as far down as it goes. I feel this is the safest place to keep the handle while travelling so the handle doesn't interfere with the seat cocooning around my baby nor break in it's face in an accident.

I know the safe answer is to consult your owner's manual, but I have and the manual is vague at best. Is there a standard opinion on this?
 
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:07 AM   #2
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Re: Infant Carrier Handle Position

It would be safe to have it fully upright also- I know one model actually requires it to be there. Some require it to be down because the handle isn't designed or tested to absorb crash forces. You just can't have it in position B (which, if I remember correctly, is halfway between fully upright and level with the head? I never really understood what the purpose of that position was!).
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:08 AM   #3
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Re: Infant Carrier Handle Position

Yes, straight up (carry position) or the two behind the seat are allowed. In the SnugRide, similarly, straight up or the two behind the seat are allowed, the two "rest positions" over the seat are not.

You may use whatever position is convenient or the one you prefer, as long as it is allowed by the manufacturer.

My personal preference, after reading that it is the practice of many Graco engineers with their own children, is to put the handle up. I feel it can provide some additional protection in some kinds of crashes, though I have no data, only anecdotal opinions, to support this.

I have read people say they have seen kids' heads smack into handles that are left up, but if the child is properly restrained with no bulky coats or snowsuits or other clothing and the harness properly tightened (can't "pinch a tent" up at the shoulders) this won't happen.

ETA to PP: I've always found the "rest positions" are where it ends up when I get the baby out when I'm sitting down. I get too lazy to put it down all the way, but put it down just enough to get the baby out. Then I put it back up in the carry position to carry it.
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:17 AM   #4
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Re: Infant Carrier Handle Position

It's true, even Graco engineers feel safer with it up:
"Graco advises that either the up or down position can be used during travel.
We have conducted extensive crash testing to FMVSS 213 standards as well as
ISO side-impact testing with the handle in both the upright and down positions.
We have also carefully examined crash investigation reports involving the
SnugRide. Another interesting fact is that in Europe the handle, is required to
be in the upright position.
Personally, Steve, Ray and myself have our own children restrained in SnugRide
’s. Based off all the data that we have, we always have our children travel
in the SnugRide with the handle in the upright position."

'Cocooning' sounds safe, but it's actually 'rebound': the seat slamming backwards with nothing to stop it before it hits the seatback. It causes minor injuries (fractures in the skull around the eyes, actually usually no worse than a child sustains when learning to walk and falling down...but if it's preventable by leaving the handle up, I'm all for it, personally).

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Old 03-09-2009, 11:03 AM   #5
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Re: Infant Carrier Handle Position

Thank you. I would have never supspected the upright position was acceptable, let alone preferred and possibly safer.
 
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