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  1. #1
    CPS Technician MotoMommaNH's Avatar
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    Why don't tech's on here advocate for extended harnessing? Or maybe there are that do and I haven't noticed. The curriculum we were taught a couple months ago in my class emphasized the NHTSA 4 step policy of "every step away from rear facing is a step down on safety". It was mentioned several times. They reccomend obviously rear facing as long as possible and give the four year mark on the Four Steps chart for that. My instructors also emphasized keeping children in five point harnesses as long as the seat allows etc. Not that moving an appropriately aged and size child into a booster is unsafe, its just not as safe as a five point.
    Yet, the information I see people giving out here is that if you want to booster a smaller five year old that is mature enough and has no special needs etc., to go ahead and do so because research doesn't say its any less safe. Of course if that child is ready, then fine. But if the parent wants to keep them harnessed, why aren't we encouraging that? Or even advocating for it. Saying boosters are just as safe goes against what I was taught. I mean I don't expect kids to be harnessed to 20 but I feel like we treat this step differently than ERF, kwim? Maybe this is a newer NHTSA policy and some techs are unaware? There has got to be a reason that race car drivers and pilots wear five point harnesses....because they are safer, right?

    Please someone enlighten me because I feel like I'm missing something and don't want to tell parents the wrong thing! Any recent studies I should read up on?

    Tia!!

    Eta: just realized this should prob be on the other board...sorry mods! Feel free to move :-)
    Michelle




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  3. #2
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    Well, the NHTSA policy is to harness to the max of the seat, right? Not to guilt parents into buying Frontiers they might not be able to afford so they can harness to age 8. I think the policy says to stay harnessed until at least 4 years 40 lbs AND the harness has been outgrown. Well guess what -- my 4 year old, almost 40 lb kid has outgrown by height many of the harnessed seats on the market. Now, it so happens I can afford Frontiers, and I have them and I'm a car seat nerd. But if I wasn't, and he had been riding in a seat with 17" top harness slots, which was outgrown, it would be following NHTSA recommendations to booster him at that point. Because I used the harness to the max, and he'd be going into a booster at an age and size at which there was no evidence he was any less safe.

    Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that there's a trend towards harnessing longer, and I'm glad there's now more options on the market, such as the Sureride, that allow for affordable extended harnessing. But I also think that when the "extended harnessing" thing first came out, it was because people were putting 2 and 3 year olds in boosters. Which we know is unsafe.

    ETA: the recommendations for anyone following along. http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Traff...StepsFlyer.pdf

  4. #3
    Senior Community Member KaysKidz's Avatar
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    There is debate over harnessing vs boostering with an appropriate aged/sized booster rider. There is increased neck loads in a harnessed child vs a boostered child. Race car drivers wear a HANS device to prevent neck load.

    IIRC, in Sweden, they do not harness FF at all. They RF until 5 or so and go straight into a booster.
    Kay... Former CPST, Working Mom to SIX!
    27, 26, 20, 9, 9 and 7!
    'Grammy' to Sophia, Kyra,...and Elijah James

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  6. #4
    CPS Technician canadiangie's Avatar
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    I encourage harnessing through age 5 (meaning until age 6) whenever possible, and until at least 40 pounds - which is the bare legal minimum in terms of weight up here. Most children are in fact age 5+ by the time they hit 40 pounds. But there are instances where children are going to go to a booster right at 40 pounds, no matter their age. Every situation is different.

    Honestly by the time most children are 4-5 they are outgrowing whatever convertible they started in by height (real life, not us wackadoodle cso'ers who buy new seats like we by toothpaste -- you know, every couple of months ), and when that happens it isn't very fair to suggest a family purchase an EH seat, assuming the child also weighs enough for a booster. Transitioning to a proper fitting, correctly used booster IS the next step for the vast majority of families, and that's OK.

    Lastly, there isn't much hard data to support EH, and so as a tech I have nothing concrete to offer families if they ask for evidence. I do explain how a 5 point harness works, and the benefits of one through age 5 (approx), but after that I'm edging into opinion territory, which is really not my style at all.

    I'll be honest, I don't lose a lot of sleep over children moving to a booster at age 5 and over 40 pounds. Age 4.5 makes me squirm a bit, but in those cases I focus on proper fit and teaching the child about staying in position.

    I have never, ever discouraged a parent from harnessing longer, as long as the child fits. I would not mention increased neck loading because to my knowledge that is somewhat speculative, and may or may not apply to every seat, in every vehicle, in every crash. My own children stay harnessed until about age 6+ and I have no concerns about neck loading.

  7. #5
    CPS Fanatic mlohry's Avatar
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    I am all for ERF, kept our DD ERF to age 4, but I can't wait until she is booster weight, which will probably not be until she is 6. I honestly feel better about a well fitted booster than a 5 pt harness. I believe the Sweden evidence. My DD has been bugging me since she was 2 to sit in a booster like her big brothers, that doesn't help
    Monica-former CPST, now just a car-seat safety freak.
    Samuel, 12 yrs, seat belt middle passenger row of our Odyssey.
    Mitchell, 10yrs, back row, Amp.
    Lucy, 6 years, booster. All of us occasionally ride in a Honda Fit.

  8. #6
    CPS Technician tiggercat's Avatar
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    For me, it's a matter of evidence based decision making.
    We know ERF is safer because we have studies showing it (ex 532% less chance of serious injury or death in 13-24m olds vs FF peers).
    The same data just does not exist for the transition for FF to booster.
    For sure we know that 2, 3yo don't belong in boosters. Most 4yo don't either (IMO). But with a 5, 6 yo it really is a grey area.
    For a child that is 5-6+, over 40lb and truly mature enough to sit correctly, I don't think there is a measurable safety difference between harness and booster.

    Sent from my iPod touch using Car-Seat.Org
    Natalie, CRST-I, mum of Greg (15), Megan (10), Benjamin and Samuel (6).


  9. #7
    CPS Technician MotoMommaNH's Avatar
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    This is all making sense and some great points, thank you.
    I can certainly understand if a child has outgrown the harnessed seat that we wouldn't be telling them to go and buy a new $300 seat (unlessed they were planning to anyway). Its not a financial possibility for most. I guess my specific follow up question is if the parent asked me point blank if they should put their five year old in a booster or keep them harnessed by willingly purchasing a new seat, what would you say? Is this an example of best practice vs tough choices made by parents?

    Certainly not going to get into the neck load discussion as it wast covered in the curriculum past the rear facing piece and I don't feel comfortable speculating with very impressionable parents. I guess I was just using the race car driver thing as an example of extended harnessing LOL. Scratch that...I was not comparing apples to apples.
    Michelle




  10. #8
    CPS Technician Kac's Avatar
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    I recommend harnessing until a child is mature enough to sit properly in a booster. For some children, that will be 5yo and for others it may not be until 8yo. We really don't know whether boostering or harnessing is safer. According to what I've learned, they are equally safe as long as they are sitting correctly in a booster and properly harnessed in a correctly installed seat.

    I have my nanny kiddo harnessed still at 6yo. He just doesn't sit still and I drive him almost two hours a day, so I feel better about him harnessed. I don't look back in my rear view mirror anymore to make sure he's sitting properly, which is a safety hazard itself. When he outgrows the Nautilus or ProSport, he will be boostered in my car. He already rides in a booster in his parents cars.
    Kacie, CPST.
    Aunt to SIX little loves between the ages of two weeks and seven years!

  11. #9
    CPS Technician tiggercat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotoMommaNH View Post
    This is all making sense and some great points, thank you.
    I can certainly understand if a child has outgrown the harnessed seat that we wouldn't be telling them to go and buy a new $300 seat (unlessed they were planning to anyway). Its not a financial possibility for most. I guess my specific follow up question is if the parent asked me point blank if they should put their five year old in a booster or keep them harnessed by willingly purchasing a new seat, what would you say? Is this an example of best practice vs tough choices made by parents?

    Certainly not going to get into the neck load discussion as it wast covered in the curriculum past the rear facing piece and I don't feel comfortable speculating with very impressionable parents. I guess I was just using the race car driver thing as an example of extended harnessing LOL. Scratch that...I was not comparing apples to apples.
    I would present both options and let the parent decide based on the child's maturity.
    "So junior has outgrown this seat and at 5yo/40lb you have 2 options.
    One: purchase a child/booster with a higher weight limit to keep him harnessed a little bit longer.
    Two: purchase a dedicated belt positioning booster. In order for this to be appropriate, junior has to be responsible for sitting correctly at all times. He can't bend over to pick up toys, slip his should out from under the belt to lean over and bug his sibling, unbuckle his seatbelt, etc.
    How do you feel about those options? "
    And go from there based on parental response.

    If asked for a personal opinion? I would buy a 5pt for a 5yo, but not a 6yo (assume typical maturity).

    Sent from my iPod touch using Car-Seat.Org
    Natalie, CRST-I, mum of Greg (15), Megan (10), Benjamin and Samuel (6).


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  13. #10
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    I do advocate more vigorously for ERF and boostering to 5 step than EH because it is a bigger safety difference and I can get more parents on board when I'm not saying to do everything forevvverrrr. I also think when harnessing is over emphasised or give arbitrary ages we get some of the "I can still wrestle these straps around her, she fits!"

  14. #11
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    Of course on this board we don't see too many people boostering 3 year olds, so I tend not to make a big deal of harnessing past 5 *here*. In real life I would say I'm ERF and EH to the Nth degree, because my mantra is RF to 2, Harnessed to Kindergarten, Booster till 4 foot 9... and that is so far beyond people's beliefs that the minimums are safe (rf to 1 or close to 1, harness till 3 or 30, because the boosters on the shelf say that's cool, and booster till 8 per the law, unless someone thinks their kid is 'too big', probably for the Turbo that gets so dang tight in the butt for older kids....).
    We have swung back from mega harnessing... back when my older kids are little we were all trying to max out the Regent, lots of kids harnessed to 8 and 9 a few years ago, but there still seems to be no real life data, so like the others, I don't try to extol the virtues of harnessing forever (neck loads, still no data other than swedish, some test they run that no one else does, so meh, don't care about that, and RF is safer only in SIDE IMPACTS, it's not statistically significantly safer in frontal crashes, so I don't even mind recommending a seat with good SIP when a parent insists to turn FF at 1).
    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

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  16. #12
    CPS Technician creideamh's Avatar
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    I do what tiggercat does.

    When DD is 4-5 and reaching the end of ERF, I'll start booster training her, assuming there's still no scientific evidence between EH and boostering. I'm just not one of those people who cares to send my 8 y/o to school in a harnessed car seat (no offense to anyone at all...it's just not my personality and it isn't hers. I'm already pretty confident in her ability to learn to stay in place between 4-5 as my cousin did.) My other cousin just turned 5, but we won't be switching him FT til he's 6 and more used to boosters (in other cars), simply because he isn't as in control of his behaviour as other kids.

    Having the option to EH is great, don't get me wrong, but I don't feel the need to push it as much as ERF due to the lack of hard evidence for it.
    Kate // CPST, SK Senior Checker, & Mom to M (12/2010)

  17. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotoMommaNH View Post
    This is all making sense and some great points, thank you.
    I can certainly understand if a child has outgrown the harnessed seat that we wouldn't be telling them to go and buy a new $300 seat (unlessed they were planning to anyway). Its not a financial possibility for most. I guess my specific follow up question is if the parent asked me point blank if they should put their five year old in a booster or keep them harnessed by willingly purchasing a new seat, what would you say? Is this an example of best practice vs tough choices made by parents?
    .
    You have to weigh how much more usable life you'd get out of a taller harnessed seat vs. the harness they have now, vs. the cost, while factoring in a child's maturity. So for example, a smaller child is outgrowing a Scenera at age 3.5-4, sure it makes sense to buy a Maestro for $65 to keep them harnessed. But if an almost 5 year old is outgrowing, like, a Complete Air? You're not going to get significantly more harness height out of most other seats anyway, unless you go with a Frontier, and if that almost 5 year old has the maturity to sit properly in a booster? Then boostering is not such a bad decision.

    I recently boostered my 4 year old on a vacation because I needed 3 across and his Frontier would not fit, and he had outgrown the Go. I was sitting next to him the whole time, and for the most part, he did okay.

  18. #14
    Car-Seat.Org Ambassador bree's Avatar
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    Quote Originally Posted by joolsplus3 View Post
    Of course on this board we don't see too many people boostering 3 year olds, so I tend not to make a big deal of harnessing past 5 *here*. In real life I would say I'm ERF and EH to the Nth degree, because my mantra is RF to 2, Harnessed to Kindergarten, Booster till 4 foot 9... and that is so far beyond people's beliefs that the minimums are safe (rf to 1 or close to 1, harness till 3 or 30, because the boosters on the shelf say that's cool, and booster till 8 per the law, unless someone thinks their kid is 'too big', probably for the Turbo that gets so dang tight in the butt for older kids....).
    We have swung back from mega harnessing... back when my older kids are little we were all trying to max out the Regent, lots of kids harnessed to 8 and 9 a few years ago, but there still seems to be no real life data, so like the others, I don't try to extol the virtues of harnessing forever (neck loads, still no data other than swedish, some test they run that no one else does, so meh, don't care about that, and RF is safer only in SIDE IMPACTS, it's not statistically significantly safer in frontal crashes, so I don't even mind recommending a seat with good SIP when a parent insists to turn FF at 1).
    ERF is statistically significantly safer in frontal impacts for 12-23 month olds. RF is actually 6 times safer in frontal impacts compared with 5 times safer for all impacts (not just side). (The numbers are in Table 3 here: http://fcs.tamu.edu/safety/passenger...ar-facing2.pdf) I just wanted to mention that just to clarify for anyone reading the thread, not because I disagree with your points.
    DD (9 years old) & DS (6.5 years old)

  19. #15
    Senior Community Member Baylor's Avatar
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    I had put my 4 yr old in a booster before I came here. One day at Walmart there was the Nautilus. After some thought I bought it and used it for my son and then when I came across Joel's story, I was going to Harness forEVER!!!!! If you read some of my first posts here I was all about EH until they were ready for college...

    Over time I have learned that boostering has rules and if the child can follow the rules and is of appropriate age, boostering is a good and valid and safe option.
    My son is 5 but at the time when he was 4 he was only a couple of pounds away from the harness limit on his GN and so I started to booster him because I wanted to make sure he would be safe in a booster. I did end up getting a FR85 but he learned early how to booster and now at 5.5 he is in a monterey 90% of the time and does awesome! It is a great fit and I no longer have a fear that he should still be harnessed.

    I think the more educated you are, the more you know the rules and the more you take the time to make sure your children learn proper rules in the car, The less fear there is and you can then make appropriate choices for your children.

    Not every child is ready to booster at 5, But also not every child needs to be harnessed at 10 just because they still fit.
    A five stepper and a booster rider

  20. #16
    CPS Fanatic StillThankful's Avatar
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    This thread has me thinking.

    My 6.5 year old is still such a major sleeper in the car--I just got a Fr85 from NBD for her to use in the 94 accord to replace the Compass Booster she has right now. I wouldn't have spent $300 for a new seat but didn't mind getting one on a major discount to keep her harnessed a little longer.

    My kids are short torsoed so I'm not really sure how long I will keep them harnessed versus going solely to boosters--until they max it out or until maturity.

    :scratchhead:

    C~9/06 Boostered in FR85 Livia & Maui C~2/09 Boostered in GN Daisy & Julia
    Driving in 2005 Toyota Camry & 1994 Honda Accord

  21. #17
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    I find this confusing too. My understanding from what I've read here is that we don't have evidence that harnessing is safer, but that we also don't have evidence that it's not.

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  23. #18
    Senior Community Member VoodooChile's Avatar
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    I felt perfectly comfortable boostering dd at 5 and 40. We initially used the FR80 as a booster, even though she still fit in the harness. She would probably still fit in the harness. I didn't find it necessary to continue to harness her just because she fit.
    Dd 10/2005--Incognito
    Ds 3/2009--Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro, Clek Oobr

  24. #19
    CPS Technician Phineasmama's Avatar
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    Re: Extended Harnessing

    If the parent was willing to, or wanted to buy a new seat to keep a 5 year old harnessed I certainly wouldn't convince them otherwise! But in the real world you're lucky to see a 3 or 4 year old in a high back booster sometimes.

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  26. #20
    CPS Fanatic bubbaray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillThankful View Post
    This thread has me thinking.

    My 6.5 year old is still such a major sleeper in the car--I just got a Fr85 from NBD for her to use in the 94 accord to replace the Compass Booster she has right now. I wouldn't have spent $300 for a new seat but didn't mind getting one on a major discount to keep her harnessed a little longer.

    My kids are short torsoed so I'm not really sure how long I will keep them harnessed versus going solely to boosters--until they max it out or until maturity.

    :scratchhead:
    I booster my kids at 5/40. Both are major car sleepers. No problems here.
    Melissa

    DD#1, April 2004, FFg in a Pink Harmony Literider & Onyx Parkway SG
    DD#2, January 2007, FFg in a Pink Monterey & Purple with Pink Hearts HBTB

    Riding in my 2010 Toyota RAV4 and DH's 2011 Ford 150 Crew Cab

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