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Old 11-02-2006, 12:18 PM   #1
Beana
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Which seat for field trips?

I'm looking to buy my son a new car seat for his preschool field trips. So far I've been using an extra seat (5 pt harness) I had but he is 37 lbs (3.5 yrs old) and the seat only goes to 40 lbs. He is currently in a DA in my van although will soon be moving to a Regent so his little sister (who is getting too tall to stay RF in her RA) can have the DA and continue to stay RF. I'm debating whether I invest in another convertible or go with a booster as he will not be using this very often. I'd like to stick with a Britax since I feel comfortable with them. Any thoughts, suggestions?

Another concern I have is once he tries a booster maybe he will not want to sit in his Regent anymore? Has anyone experienced that?

Another concern is that for the very local trips (i.e. to the park down the street), the school uses those awful 15 passenger vans with no seats required for kids over 3. I want to make sure he is safe in whatever vehicle they drive.
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Old 11-02-2006, 04:35 PM   #2
SusanMae
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You are right to worry about a 15 passanger van--a lap belt is only good for one thing, installing a carseat! They are safe for NO ONE!

Do they only travel in the 15 passanger van or do they have other vehicles that they travel in? Like a bus with seat belts or do parents caravan on trips.

I think I would consider a FP Safe Voyage Delux. It's a cheaper marathon basically--some of the bells and whistles are gone. It harness to 55 pounds. Does he still have plenty of torso growing room in the DC? The top slots are the same for the DC and the FP seat.

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Old 11-02-2006, 06:23 PM   #3
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At 3.5 I would be hesitant to put him in a booster on field trips unless you know he would sit properly the whole time. I would worry. My dd started using a booster sometimes around 3.75 years old and about 38ish pounds, but I was always there to remind her to sit back, sit still and all that jazz whenever she got out of position. If you won't be there to do that, I wouldn't feel comfy with it. If you do go the booster route I'd pick the Britax Parkway because its sidewings wrap around the child more than most other boosters, sort of like a harnessed seat.

My dd has switched between a booster and harnessed seat for almost 2 years and doesn't fight the harnessed seat at all. She understands she's safer being harnessed, I show her crash test video comparisons of harnessed vs. booster. She has an easier time buckling herself into her harnessed seat than into her booster.

I would raise heck about the school using the 15 passenger van with 3+yos without child restraints. That's asking for a lawsuit should something happen to the kids. What state are you in? Your child needs to ride in a carseat or booster in the van, regardless of what the school chooses to do with the other kids.
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Old 11-02-2006, 06:42 PM   #4
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There's a BIG movement to get rid of 15 passenger vans as 'buses.' Many states have banned their use by schools and daycare.

I'd go for the booster or get a Britax Laptops (yeah, I know they're discontinued and nearing the end of their life, but as a short term solution for an infrequent issue, it'd be a good choice). It will be difficult/impossible to ensure the seat is installed correctly/your child is buckled properly (unless you did it yourself, at which point, I'd just drive him myself rather than ride in a big van with him).
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:07 AM   #5
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I have raised my concerns with the school about the 15 passenger vans. They tell me that they are abiding by all the laws, drivers have had training, they don't drive 55 mph, etc. etc. I'm in Illinois and unfortunately, it is a private school/daycare which is not required to use the small buses. It is a small place and my guess is that they don't have the funds to buy the small buses. They use the vans to transport kids to/from school, field trips, etc. They do use the big buses when a lot of kids are going but when only a handful go, they use those vans. I really don't understand how we have a law here requiring all kids to be in a booster until 8 years yet in a 15 passenger van, if you are older then 3, you are not required to use anything other then the seatbelt. How does that make any sense

The only way I will allow him to go in the van is with a 5 pt harness seat. I'm the only parent who insists he be in a seat on the bus or van. They think I'm crazy and have even asked if I could use one of the boosters they have but I said no. I do my best to drive him myself but unfortunately that doesn't always work out. I've also tried to make sure that I install the seat but I can't always do that as they use the van in the morning for transportation and won't let me leave my seat in it.

You bring up a very good point about him sitting in a booster correctly. I'm not sure he would and I'm not all that thrilled about a booster anyway since he is still so little (to me of course).

If anyone has any websites/links I could use to prove that they should not be in a van in Illinois, please let me know. Those vans really do scare me and I'd love to see them gone at all the schools/daycares.
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:54 AM   #6
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FWIW, T, who is 4yrs and 41lbs is in a BPB in his mom's car, and harnessed in a Britax Decathlon in mine. He has no problems switching between the 2.
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Old 11-03-2006, 01:46 PM   #7
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I wish Darren would weigh in on this regarding kids over age 3 not needing restraints on 15 passenger vans. I'll email him.
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