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  1. #1
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    This was sent by email today by our local Safe Kids coordinator. I'm thinking this isn't right. First of all, almost all Chrysler products have lightweight locking latchplates meaning you can't "lock" the seatbelt if you wanted too


    I know the newer ones do have switchable retractors (2010 and newer maybe). But I looked up a 2010 T&C manual and it says nothing

    Thoughts? Not all boosters allowing locking of the belt so I find this weird.

    Email that was sent :

    Happy Holidays!! I thought I would share a phone call with you I just received. A mom said she was just in a crash with her 7 year old daughter who was correctly sitting in a booster seat and the seat belt was routed correctly. They were at a complete stop at a stop sign and her foot was on the brake. The car behind thought she was starting to accelerate away from the stop sign so began to move forward and rear ended this mom and daughter at approximately 5 miles an hour. The child in the booster seat flipped forward because the seat belt did not lock on impact to hold the booster seat in place. The mom, very concerned about this started to investigate and found out through the vehicle manufacturer, that in the vehicle owners manual (Chrysler Town and Country) it does say to switch the retractor to ALR mode when using with a booster seat.
    I thought I would share this story to reiterate the importance of always taking the time on checking the owner’s manuals….even of booster seats!! I know we have debated this at tech meetings about switching the retractor to ALR or keeping in the ELR mode for booster use…check the owners manuals.

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    I emailed the coordinator because I wanted to let her know you couldn't even switch them over until 2010 or 2011 (but the 2011 owners manual didn't say you should lock with a booster either) and she replied it was an 08 with bucket seats. My 07 still has the locking latchplates and the 09 I installed in yesterday still had them

    Hmmmmm

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

  4. #3
    CPS Technician luckyclov's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Hmmmm...I have a 2009 GC and I don't remember reading that...? I'll go check my manual...

    My 3rd row outboard belts freakin' lock over everything, it's a PITA for my boostered DS.
    CPST & Mom to:
    Keep (11 yrs old, 57", 80 lbs), in an Olli, Ozzi & BB
    Sass (10 yrs old, 54", 76 lbs), in Santa Fe, Monterey & Olli
    Zilla (4 yrs old, 38", 36 lbs), FF in a PS, RXT & FR85
    Rollin' in a 2014 Ody, 2012 F-150 SuperCrew & Luigi, a peppy little 2012 Fiat 500

  5. #4
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    I believe this may be the perpetuation of a myth I've heard before, about needing to lock the seatbelt on kids under X weight because they don't weigh enough to activate the emergency locking mechanism. This simply isn't true. There are two ways a seatbelt locks in an emergency: either it's sensitive to the vehicle motion, or it's sensitive to the seatbelt itself quickly playing out. In neither case is the weight of the child a factor. If it's reacting to the motion of the vehicle, the seatbelts will lock. If it's sensitive to the seatbelt playing out quickly, that will happen at the same time with a 30 pound child or a 300 pound adult. Everything moves at the same speed in a crash, regardless of weight.

    It's possible that in this case, a very low-speed crash with the initial impact pushing the child back into the seat, and the seatbelt only working on the rebound phase, that the seatbelt didn't lock because it was below the threshold needed for locking.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  6. #5
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    I just checked the manual. There isn't anything in the Child Restraints section about being able to lock the shoulder belt. It does say that all passenger belts have locking latchplates.

    In an earlier section, it does say that if equipped, ALR should be used any time a "child safety seat" is in stalled in a passenger seating position. As we know, sometimes manufacturers mean only harnessed seats when using terms like "child safety seat," sometimes they do include boosters as well. But it also notes that the switchable retractors are not on all models.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  7. #6
    CPS Technician luckyclov's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Nada in my manual, FWIW.
    CPST & Mom to:
    Keep (11 yrs old, 57", 80 lbs), in an Olli, Ozzi & BB
    Sass (10 yrs old, 54", 76 lbs), in Santa Fe, Monterey & Olli
    Zilla (4 yrs old, 38", 36 lbs), FF in a PS, RXT & FR85
    Rollin' in a 2014 Ody, 2012 F-150 SuperCrew & Luigi, a peppy little 2012 Fiat 500

  8. #7
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    So mom either misinterpreted the manual or got bad info from Chrysler then most likely? Or is it like pixel said that "if equipped engage it" meaning some random ones out there might have switchable retractors?

    I'm just worried about our local techs thinking you are supposed to lock the setabelt on boosters on all Chryslers and become confused when you can't, ya know?

    I wonder if that mom is even able to lock her belts??

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

  9. #8
    CPS Technician Qarin's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrfightermomma View Post
    rear ended this mom and daughter at approximately 5 miles an hour. The child in the booster seat flipped forward because the seat belt did not lock on impact to hold the booster seat in place.
    With a 5mph rear impact, I can easily imagine that yes, the seat belts did not engage their emergency locking on the rebound, and that a 7 year old who isn't expecting the impact at all, isn't familiar with the idea of crasahes and so doesn't "know" to tense up once she feels the first hit is going to be tossed forward on that rebound. But, it also seems to me that that may actually be good- my understanding is that people who ride out accidents while relaxed get less whiplash/muscle injury: if you don't actually impact the vehicle structure so that the impact injures you, your nice relaxed muscles just let the motion happen, no muscles fighting the inevitable motion (it's why, perhaps, drunk drivers often do better in the accidents they cause than their sober victims). it seems to me it would still be better for the seatbelt to have locked, to protect from other impact inside the vehicle, but at the rebound-from-5mph-crash speeds, perhaps actually not necessary, and an adult/more wordly-wise child might have kept himself from "flipping forward" at all (but might be a lot stiffer afterwards than that relaxed 7yo was).
    Homeschooling mama to safely transported kids-
    DD1- 11/2001 - 61.5", Seat Belt (5-steps)
    DD2- 11/2004 - 62.5", Seat Belt (5-steps)

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  11. #9
    CPST Instructor jourdysmom's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    My '08 T&C has switchable retractors in both captain chairs and 3rd row outboard. Center 3rd row is ELR with a lightweight locking latchplate.

    I don't find anything about boosters specifically in my manual either...

  12. #10
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    When we were in the side-impact crash in my '97 Astro, my seat belt did not lock immediately. They are the kind with the tilt-thingie that only lock in a crash (as in, no matter how fast you yank on them, they don't lock). I was airborne for about second - probably not very much airborne, of course, but it was rather disconcerting that it didn't immediately lock. It still did it's job, though, and kept me from being thrown out the side window.

    Like others have posted, I'm wondering if this was similar - the seat belt would have locked in a higher-speed, greater-impact crash, but it just didn't get that far. I'm also wondering if the retractor has been examined for defects - not likely, but you never know. I certainly wouldn't take the word of some random person at Chrysler assuring me it was supposed to be locked, and that's why it didn't work.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  13. #11
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Defrost View Post
    When we were in the side-impact crash in my '97 Astro, my seat belt did not lock immediately. They are the kind with the tilt-thingie that only lock in a crash (as in, no matter how fast you yank on them, they don't lock). I was airborne for about second - probably not very much airborne, of course, but it was rather disconcerting that it didn't immediately lock. It still did it's job, though, and kept me from being thrown out the side window.

    Like others have posted, I'm wondering if this was similar - the seat belt would have locked in a higher-speed, greater-impact crash, but it just didn't get that far. I'm also wondering if the retractor has been examined for defects - not likely, but you never know. I certainly wouldn't take the word of some random person at Chrysler assuring me it was supposed to be locked, and that's why it didn't work.


    I think it's more the mom is saying it didn't lock so she called Chrysler and is claiming her owners manuals (and chrysler themselves) states it *MUST* be locked by the user when using it with a booster (so activating the switchable retractor). Except that 95% of Chryslers don't have switchable retractors and even if they did, no owner's manual say that.

    So I guess my question is: is it true that Chrysler requires locking of the seatbelt with booster use in an 08 T & C?

    I'm not even worrying about the "should have locked" part of it. I'm asking more are you supposed to lock the seatbelt with a booster. Hope that clears it up?

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

  14. #12
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrfightermomma View Post
    I think it's more the mom is saying it didn't lock so she called Chrysler and is claiming her owners manuals (and chrysler themselves) states it *MUST* be locked by the user when using it with a booster (so activating the switchable retractor). Except that 95% of Chryslers don't have switchable retractors and even if they did, no owner's manual say that.

    So I guess my question is: is it true that Chrysler requires locking of the seatbelt with booster use in an 08 T & C?

    I'm not even worrying about the "should have locked" part of it. I'm asking more are you supposed to lock the seatbelt with a booster. Hope that clears it up?
    That's possible, but it's also possible the retractors didn't engage because the passengers didn't have enough velocity to engage them, just like you need a certain velocity crash to engage an airbag. I had the same thing happen to me last year and there was another report on the CPSP List last week (look under "Ford Flex & Booster Seats").

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  16. #13
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Quote Originally Posted by murphydog77 View Post
    That's possible, but it's also possible the retractors didn't engage because the passengers didn't have enough velocity to engage them, just like you need a certain velocity crash to engage an airbag. I had the same thing happen to me last year and there was another report on the CPSP List last week (look under "Ford Flex & Booster Seats").
    LOL. I think I'm not asking right

    Try to ignore the fact that they didn't lock in the crash.


    Mom is stating that when they didn't lock in the crash she looked in her manual for her 08 T & C and called Chrysler and BOTH stated you MUST manually lock the belts yourself when using it with a booster seat.

    So my question isn't about the fact that they didn't lock in the crash. My question is, do you have to manually lock belts on chryslers when used with a booster (like you do with a child seat)

    Ok, hopefully that's clearer

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

  17. #14
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrfightermomma View Post
    Mom is stating that when they didn't lock in the crash she looked in her manual for her 08 T & C and called Chrysler and BOTH stated you MUST manually lock the belts yourself when using it with a booster seat.
    That's not how I read it, though.
    and found out through the vehicle manufacturer, that in the vehicle owners manual (Chrysler Town and Country) it does say to switch the retractor to ALR mode when using with a booster seat.
    That sounds to me like she called Chrysler and got someone who thought she was talking about a harnessed carseat (or who just didn't understand the difference between installing a carseat and using a booster) who TOLD HER that the manual stated that the belt must be locked. It didn't sound to me like the mom actually read the statement in the manual herself at all.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  18. #15
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Defrost View Post
    That's not how I read it, though.

    That sounds to me like she called Chrysler and got someone who thought she was talking about a harnessed carseat (or who just didn't understand the difference between installing a carseat and using a booster) who TOLD HER that the manual stated that the belt must be locked. It didn't sound to me like the mom actually read the statement in the manual herself at all.

    Going back and reading you are right, it seems like they just *told* her its in the manual.


    So in other words, it's most likely not true that you have to manually lock belts with a booster right? Since no manual seems to say that. Probably just bad info then right?

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

  19. #16
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Yup, that's what it seems like, to me. I don't think any manuals say you must lock the belt on a booster, and the person answering the phone probably didn't know the difference between a booster and a harnessed, installed child restraint.
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

  20. #17
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    From the manual of the 2008 T&C, pages 62-63.
    Automatic Locking Retractors (ALR) Mode - If Equipped
    In this mode, the shoulder belt is automatically pre-locked. The belt will still retract to remove any slack in the shoulder belt. The automatic locking mode is available on all passenger seating positions with a combination lap/shoulder belt.

    When To Use The Automatic Locking Mode
    Use The Automatic Locking Mode anytime a child safety seat is installed in a passenger seating position. Children 12 years old and younger should be properly restrained in the rear seat whenever possible.
    It then goes on to discuss how to switch the retractor.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  21. #18
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Hm. "Child Safety Seat" is a term used in many state laws to include both booster and harnessed seats, right? So, it could very well be the case that Chrysler requires the seat belt to be locked for boosters.

    In which case, the ProSport would be automatically incompatible, eh? Since it specifically does NOT allow you to lock the retractor?
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  22. #19
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixels View Post
    From the manual of the 2008 T&C, pages 62-63.

    It then goes on to discuss how to switch the retractor.
    So there has to be some random ones out there with switchable retractors then. My 07 doesn't have them, and the 09 and 10 I saw in the past few weeks didn't. Maybe 08 was just a year they picked?

    If that's the case, and it's true they do need to be locked with a booster, Chrysler should certainly make it more prominent. I know I've never told a parent at a check to lock their belt with a booster and a Chrysler.

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

  23. #20
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: mandatory locking of seatbelt for booster use-chrysler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Defrost View Post
    Hm. "Child Safety Seat" is a term used in many state laws to include both booster and harnessed seats, right? So, it could very well be the case that Chrysler requires the seat belt to be locked for boosters.

    In which case, the ProSport would be automatically incompatible, eh? Since it specifically does NOT allow you to lock the retractor?
    Yeah, and aren't there a few others that prohibit it? So who would override? The car manufacturer or the seat manufacturer? It brings up an interesting topic on what we should be telling parents. I mean the T& C clones are everywhere. It's such a common vehicle. But strangely the majority only have locking latchplates. So yeah.....it's confusing! LOL

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

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