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  1. #1
    ctkulig
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    question seat belt setting for booster seat

    Hi all I'm new here and have a question. My son is a little over 4 yrs old and we put him in a no back booster. I drive an 06 Dodge Durango and was wondering when we put the seat belt on him should the shoulder part of the belt lock. because it does not lock even if you pull the belt out the whole way and let it retract. My wife car locks if you retract it but mine don't. Does it need to lock, if so how can I fix this. The instructions don't say it must lock. only says lay flat on the chest

    Thanks in advance,
    ctkulig

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  3. #2
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: question seat belt setting for booster seat

    That's a good question - you've obviously realized the importance of the seat belt being locked when installing a harnessed car seat! The seat belt is not required to lock when used with a booster, though. It can be helpful to lock the belt, when possible (as in your wife's car) to make it harder for the child to move out of position, but it's not required. Also, be sure that he has appropriate head support (with a head rest or tall seat back). Proper head support is required when using a backless booster.

    However, you may want to consider putting your son back into a harnessed seat that is designed to fit a child that size. It is rare for a four-year-old to have the maturity to remain perfectly positioned in a backless booster.

    At the very least, please consider a high-back booster; it keeps the belt better positioned and provides a better fit for smaller children.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  4. #3
    CPS Technician crunchierthanthou's Avatar
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    Re: question seat belt setting for booster seat

    I agree with Defrost. If you feel that you need to lock the seatbelt to keep it in postion, then your son should probably still be harnessed. He likely isn't mature enough to sit upright and in proper position the whole trip, every trip. Not many 4 year olds are.

  5. #4
    CPS Technician Starlight's Avatar
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    Re: question seat belt setting for booster seat

    If you do decide to keep him in a booster, even though a harnessed seat is significantly safer, I would recommend that you consider a high back booster, as backless boosters provide no side impact protection. Side impact crashes, while the least common, are the most deadly. A high back booster will provide 70% more protection for your son - a harnessed seat will provide even more.
    Mom to a Crew! Boys 10, 6, 4 and 2 and Girls 9 and 2!
    Don't ask me if I'm having more, I may be tempted to say yes!

  6. #5
    CPST Instructor
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    Re: question seat belt setting for booster seat

    Quote Originally Posted by starlight View Post
    If you do decide to keep him in a booster, even though a harnessed seat is significantly safer, I would recommend that you consider a high back booster, as backless boosters provide no side impact protection. Side impact crashes, while the least common, are the most deadly. A high back booster will provide 70% more protection for your son - a harnessed seat will provide even more.
    This I 100% agree with. If you want him to remain in a booster a high back booster is the way to go to give him better protection. Also if he does fall a sleep in the vehicle the high back booster will give him side support. Where a no back won't and he will most likely fall out of proper position which will lead to severe injuries if a crash was to occur.

    As for you Dodge it will have what are called lightweight locking latch plates. The seatbelt locks at the latchplate (the male end of the seatbelt buckle) so the shoulder strap will still be free moving but the lap portion will be locked tight. The shoulder portion only locks in the event of a crash. These type of seatbelts are still very common in the Dodge, Jeep & Chrysler vehicles.
    Jenny
    Senior CPS Tech-Instructor & Mommy of 2 girls
    K1 12 yrs old- 61" & 100lbs in vehicle seat belt
    K2 10 yrs old- 59" & 92lbs in vehicle seat belt

  7. #6
    ctkulig
    Guest

    Re: question seat belt setting for booster seat

    Thank you for all the comments. I will likely go back to the harness type seat we had before. I was under the impression that it was OK to go to backless type booster at that age.

    When do you recommend to go to that type seat

    Thanks again,
    ctkulig

  8. #7
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: question seat belt setting for booster seat

    Most backless boosters in the US have minimums of 4 years old and 40 pounds; a few are as low as 30 pounds. However, age and weight ranges are broad for a reason: so the manufacturers make more $$. The truth is, every step up in child restraints is a step down in safety: from rear-facing to forward-facing, from harnessed seat to highback booster, from highback booster to backless booster, each step demotes your child's overall protection. That's why most of us CPS techs will advocate for extended rear-facing (keeping a child rear-facing to the maximum limits of the convertible seat, which, in the US, is 30, 33 or 35 pounds depending on manufacturer) and extended harnessing (keeping a child in a harnessed seat beyond the minimum 4 years old and 40 pounds). This type of information is not readily available to the masses, mainly because the options are always changing. Ten years ago there were no seats to rear-face beyond 20 pounds in the US, despite the fact that Sweden has rear-faced kids to 55 pounds for years.

    Anyway, off my soapbox now!

    How tall is your son, and how much does he weigh? Can you get a torso measurement? You can do this by sitting him in a harnessed seat you have now and reporting back where his shoulders are in relation to the top harness slots. Knowing this will help figure out which seats he would have growing room in.

    I would at least keep your son harnessed another year or two; longer, if you're open to that. If you'd like to see crash test videos of harnessed vs. booster, let me know.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

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