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  1. #1
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    Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    I have an almost 6 year old who rides in a Graco Turbo Booster. My dad picks her up from school once a week and also takes her on daytrips occasionally. She has been riding in the front seat (with the airbag turned off). Is this ok or should she be riding in the back seat?

    She was at the doctor last week and she said "Absolutely NO riding in the front seat!"

    My problems with her riding in the back seat are mainly because there is so little room (the back seat is small, but does face forward). The seat back is very straight and her face is so close to the back of the front seat, when you stop quickly she hits her head on the seat in front of her! Plus, having the glass window RIGHT behind her head really makes me uncomfortable.

    Suggestions?

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    I would have her in the back.

    First, even if it's small, the back seat is safer. I'd rather she hit her head on a padded seat than the windshield/dashboard.

    Can you lock the seat belt to keep her from moving forward so much when the brakes are applied quickly?

    Is she in a high-back booster? That should keep her head from hitting the window behind it.

    If you do keep her in front (which might not even be legal, since a back seat is available), can the airbag be turned off?

  4. #3
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Quote Originally Posted by LISmama810 View Post
    I would have her in the back.

    First, even if it's small, the back seat is safer. I'd rather she hit her head on a padded seat than the windshield/dashboard.

    Can you lock the seat belt to keep her from moving forward so much when the brakes are applied quickly?

    Is she in a high-back booster? That should keep her head from hitting the window behind it.

    If you do keep her in front (which might not even be legal, since a back seat is available), can the airbag be turned off?
    I was thinking that since there is so much more room in the front seat, that she wouldn't hit her head on the dash or windshield... I guess I don't really know how far forward a person would go in the event of an accident.

    How would you lock the seat belt?

    She is not in a high back booster in his truck. She's 65 lbs and 50" tall so she fits well without a back.

    And yes, the airbag is turned off.

  5. #4
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    A highback booster is safer than a backless booster because it provides some level of side impact protection (while a backless booster only positions belts so that seatbelt-syndrome injuries do not occur). A highback booster is also a necessity with lowback seats, especially with glass directly behind the head. My daughter is half an inch taller than yours and fits many highback boosters very well, with years of growing room.

    Most Dodge vehicles have lightweight locking latchplates to lock in carseats, not switchable retractors (that would lock the shoulderbelt). The shoulderbelt would only lock in a sudden stop or crash. If the OP's dad's Dakota has lightweight locking latchplates she won't be able to lock the shoulderbelt over her child.
    ~Jenny

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

  6. #5
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbunny View Post
    A highback booster is safer than a backless booster because it provides some level of side impact protection (while a backless booster only positions belts so that seatbelt-syndrome injuries do not occur). A highback booster is also a necessity with lowback seats, especially with glass directly behind the head. My daughter is half an inch taller than yours and fits many highback boosters very well, with years of growing room.

    Most Dodge vehicles have lightweight locking latchplates to lock in carseats, not switchable retractors (that would lock the shoulderbelt). The shoulderbelt would only lock in a sudden stop or crash. If the OP's dad's Dakota has lightweight locking latchplates she won't be able to lock the shoulderbelt over her child.
    We do have the booster w/a back in my minivan. She fits great in it, height-wise, but she's beginning to look a little squished, width-wise. I'm not sure how much longer she will fit comfortably so I didn't want to purchase another one if it wasn't necessary. When he takes her on the weekends, he will take the seat out of my car. However, when he picks her up from school, he has to use the back up (which is the backless).

    I'm still not sure about the locking seatbelts either - I don't know how to tell the difference.

  7. #6
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Yes, the Turbo is a bit more snug on my dd than some other boosters. She fits great, and comfortably, in seats like the Graco Air Booster and Compass B510.

    Here's a page that will help you figure out the seatbelts: http://cpsafety.com/articles/lockincss.aspx

    That page is mostly dedicated to figuring out how to lock in a harnessed seat, but by figuring out what type of latchplate (the sliding part with the male buckle end) and what type of retractor (the part that your shoulderbelt feeds into) the vehicle has, you'll be able to figure out if you can lock the shoulderbelt over your child to help keep her snug, so she doesn't fly forward with minor braking.

    You say when he picks her up from school he has to use the backless, so if that's how it has to be, then she is safest in the front. A backless booster (it'll say this in the manual) must only be used if the vehicle provides head support at least up to the tips of the child's ears. IMHO glass does not equal head support, it needs to be the vehicle seatback or headrest.
    ~Jenny

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

  8. #7
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Thanks! I will have to check out his seatbelts next time I'm around his truck. I know the retractor (where the shoulderbelt feeds into) does not lock when it's pulled out all the way.

    I drop my daughter off at school in the morning on my way to work, so I have no way of leaving the seat at his place for him to pick her up with. Unless I went and purchased a new booster w/back, then that's how it has to be. If it's needed, I will make it happen, but if it works without the back then that would be wonderful. Money is tight, but her safety is the most important.

    Thanks again!

  9. #8
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    This is kind of a gray area, IMO. I would not feel comfortable with my own child in a booster in the backseat of a small extended cab pickup. I would rather she ride in the front, which would allow more room for head excursion (fancy name for the amount of space the head flies forward in a crash). I would insist that the airbag be shut off and that the seat be pushed as far back as possible.

    Hopefully your state does not specify backseat as law in this case; I honestly just wouldn't feel comfortable with my dd in a tiny extended cab backseat. Some are roomier than others, but if it's like I'm thinking of, I'd be leery.

    It might not be a bad idea to start booster-shopping, since you say she's getting tight in the Turbo. Kids need to be in boosters until at least age 8-10 in most cases. http://carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm
    ~Jenny

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

  10. #9
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    The "ideal" solution would be for your daughter to ride in a HBB in the back seat. If purchasing another booster for her isn't an option, however, the second-best solution would be for her to ride in her backless booster in the front passenger seat, with the vehicle seat pushed back as far as possible, and with the shoulder belt locked, if possible.

    If you decide to get another HBB, the Air Booster (also made by Graco) might be a good (if expensive) option. It has more seating room than the Turbo, both side-to-side and front-to-back, as you can see in these pictures:

    Turbo:


    Air:


    Turbo leg support:


    Air leg support:
    Debbie, CPST-I
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    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
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  11. #10
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Thanks for the replies! I, too, was uncomfortable having her in the small backseat, but I didn't know if that was the safest place.

    The Graco Air Booster does look like it would fit her much better. I will definitely check that out! She will fit in the Turbo Booster for a little while longer so I have some time to save up for a new one! ;-)

  12. #11
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Even without head support the backseat is safer than the front. Your daughter needs to be in the back seat, and she needs a high back booster.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
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  13. #12
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Quote Originally Posted by skaterbabscpst View Post
    Even without head support the backseat is safer than the front. Your daughter needs to be in the back seat, and she needs a high back booster.
    So, just to clarify, she is safer in the back seat in a backless booster with no head support than in the front seat? Even though that is misuse according to the booster manual?
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  14. #13
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    The back seat is safer than the front seat, period. It's counter intuitive, but the child may actually pas the 5 Step Test in the back since the seats are so small. Naturally I would recommend a high back booster, but no, the child would not be safer in the front seat.

    Assuming she passes the 5 step test (which is possible), she is still safer in the back without a head rest than using a backless in the front with a head restraint. The family does have a high back available, so I would suggest they use it....in the back seat.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
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  15. #14
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Good to know! Thanks for clarifying.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  16. #15
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    NP. I went through this with the CPS list a while back and the consensus was the (all other factors equal) better the back seat with no head support thanthe front seat with head support. Suprised the heck out of me. lol
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  17. #16
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Quote Originally Posted by skaterbabscpst View Post
    NP. I went through this with the CPS list a while back and the consensus was the (all other factors equal) better the back seat with no head support thanthe front seat with head support. Suprised the heck out of me. lol
    I could see how this would make sense with a regular back seat (with nothing behind it but air), but is that really the case in a truck, where there is a panel of glass directly behind the child's head? (Not trying to argue--just honestly wondering.)

  18. #17
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Yes it is, because rear impacts are typically pretty low-energy, frontal impacts are both more common and more severe.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
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  19. #18
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Quote Originally Posted by skaterbabscpst View Post
    Yes it is, because rear impacts are typically pretty low-energy, frontal impacts are both more common and more severe.
    That does make sense. Wouldn't her head rebound (into the glass) in a frontal impact though?

  20. #19
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    Yes, which is why I would personally only be comfortable putting my child in a backless booster if there is head support. I understand that statistically the backseat is safest because it is generally farthest from the point of impact because frontal crashes are most common, but even in a frontal crash the head will rebound backwards, and I am not comfortable with my child's head hitting glass. I would never use a backless booster in a position without adequate head support, against manufacturer's instructions. To me, a glass window does not qualify as adequate head support. Adequate head support is vehicle seatback or headrest, something padded and actually MEANT to support a head in a crash.
    ~Jenny

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

  21. #20
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Booster placement in a Dodge Dakota???

    I didn't avocate that, though.

    Yes, it would not be proper use to use a backless in that position, but the OP did state they do have a HBB. I suggest they use it. If the child meets the 5 Step test, even without a HBB the back seat is still safer, Hbb or no. That doesn't mean use a LBB without proper head support.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

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