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  1. #1

    Lap belts only--what to pick for safety

    I have a 1986 Dodge Caravan. It has only lap belts in
    the back seats.
    I need to buy carseats for my 2 kids: DD #1 age 6,
    37 pounds, 42 inches tall; DD #2 age 3, 27 pounds, 39
    inches tall.
    Should I check into getting shoulder belts from
    Chrysler? Or is the Britax Laptop safe? What about the
    EZ-ON 86-Y harness? The pictures of it online don't
    show any chest latch on the straps. Seems like the child would go right through the strap in an accident.
    Help! I need some ideas.

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  3. #2

    Some comments:

    You may be able to have shoulder belts retrofitted. As you know, these are necessary for children in belt-positioning boosters and for adults. See:

    The other restraints you mention are also good choices if used properly within the recommended age/weight ranges. The Britax Super Elite and Fisher Price Futura are also options, though they are difficult to find.

    Good luck!

  4. #3

    Because they're so petite, I'd go with a harnessed seat for

    the younger one, and maybe the older one, too. The older one is about my son's size (he weighs less, but is 41.5" tall). If your DD is long in the torso, she may not fit in a harnessed seat besides the Britax Super Elite, however. Your children are also safer in a 5 point harness than in just a regular lap/should belt, but obviously, we all outgrow the 5 point harness eventually (and unfortunately, IMO ).

    How long do you plan to have this vehicle? If you're going to drive it "into the dirt", retro fitting shoulder belts is a good idea. If you're only going to have it for another 6-12 months, it may not be necessary.

    Seats that I'd consider without the shoulder belts would be:
    Britax King
    Britax Freeway/Expressway
    Britax Laptop
    Britax Super Elite (very hard to find)
    Century NextStep DX/MX
    Evenflo Apollo
    Evenflo Express
    Fisher Price Futura (Very, very hard to find; the overhead bar version is available through AAFES if you are a military family.)
    Graco CarGo (There are 3+ different versions of this seat; be sure to get one with a 5 point harness that can be adjusted from the front.)
    Maxi Cosi Priori

    All of these seats are front facing only. Some of them convert to belt positioning booster, but you must have shoulder belts to use that feature. If you have any questions about any of these seats, please ask. I personally have lots of experience with Britax seats, and they are *MY* favorite, but any of these seats may work for you in your vehicle and with your children.

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