Locking shoulder belts...
I was at a Kid Safety fair at the elementary school in my town today and took the opportunity to ask the local CPS tech about locking the seatbelt across ds's chest when he is riding in his BPB. (I had called earlier this week and left this question on the carseat hotline answering machine but they hadn't gotten a chance to return my call.) He said he hadn't called back because he had not heard that this was ok and wanted to run it by the tech's who did his training before he answered. Well this tech trainer was there today and she said they felt that this would make the belt eventually be too tight across ds's chest because the belt will always keep retracting and tightening and they didn't recommend it. I told them that I had read on a car seat safety website that it was actually ok...so all that being explained does anyone have any info that I can access and then provide to the local tech about this topic (he's a really nice guy and I know he would be interested in the info since he hadn't heard about it). I know one of you here said there wasn't much info on this but that what you had found seemed to say it was a safe thing to do. I think it was Julie (joolsplus2) that told me about this when I first started this quest to get my 4 1/2 year old in a safe seat for dh's truck and the Parkway was tipping even with ds in it. I have actually been locking the belt across ds's chest in my car since he rides in the Compass BPB and it hasn't seemed to get tighter and tighter on him. He can actually still move forward a couple inches but can't lean way over. Anyway, I would love to have the info about locking the seatbelt! Thanks!
09-24-2005 09:21 PM
Senior Community Member
From SafetyBeltSafe USA at www.carseat.org (Found in their Technical Encyclopedia under Belt Positioning Boosters):
"Less mature or very active children may need some help staying correctly positioned for the entire trip. This might be encouraged by preventing the shoulder belt from loosening, either by locking the shoulder belt with its switchable retractor (if available) or by using a highback booster with a shoulder belt guide that does not allow the child to put out the webbing."
The site does say not to use a locking clip on a seat belt used with a booster. Locking it appears to be OK, however. Maybe you could refer the tech to it. I would think he would be familiar with this organization. I don't know where references are found from Safe Kids.
Does the Compass manual have any information...lots of manuals say whether it's ok to do.
I guess it could get kind of tight on a kid...but more kids than not that I know of are happy to have that safely locked-in feeling. The only booster where it's not a great choice is the Britax Starriser Comfy, which is so 'flat' that as soon as a kid leans out of it a tiny bit, it tightens up so much they can't even wiggle their way back under the belt again :P
If a kiddo DOES think it's too tight, then it can just serve as a threat..."sit still, honey, or I'll have to lock the belt!".
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
Thanks for the info. I'll let him know to check this site. I don't recall reading anything about locking the belt in the Compass manual but I am going to check again in a few minutes. We are keeping the Parkway for use in the grandparents cars ( I am not confident of them getting a 5 point seat installed correctly) so I will check that manual too, but do you know if it is ok to do the locking of the belt in that one? If the Compass manual doesn't say not to, it should be fine right? DS wasn't too happy when I first decided to do this last month but now he doesn't seem to mind. He can still lean out to the side when it is locked but it doesn't retract too much for him to get back under it like the Star Riser you described. He is really good in his seats...in my car, he just leans out to the side when he wants to pick up something for his little brother. He also told me he really likes his new Blvd. for his dad's truck so that is good (although I still can't seem to get the tether strap pulled as tight as it could/should be). On a separate topic, I am still wishing more companies would design a BPB that uses the tether strap because this would eliminate the tippiness of the booster seat. Anyway, thanks again for all the great help!
Although I'm not a tech, personally, unless the manual says definitely not to, I lock it - better to have it tight across the chest (I seriously doubt that a healthy kid would have damaged lungs/ribs because of this) than my kid go flying all over the place in an accident because she wasn't sitting properly
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