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  1. #1
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    Parental judgement in going over seat ratings

    I have all 4 of my kids in carseats. The 12, 10 and 7yo are in Britax SE's and the 5yo is in a Marathon. We live on the road fulltime so the kids are statistically at risk more than other kids, but even before we started travelling they were in carseats. I weighed the boys (12 and 10) this morning and found they've gone over the 80lb mark. They are 85lb and 83lb. The boys are in the 2nd of 4 rows of a 15passenger van. They are obviously tethered. The girls are in the 2nd row. I wonder if we have any leeway and what all you think about continuing to use the SE's for the boys (85 and 83lb) for another 6 months. We spend 1/2 the year in Mexico and are headed there so once we're in Mexico there is no chance to get another seat.

    I'm conflicted in thinking that they are better protected in the SE's even though they *just* outweigh them. The boys weighed 65lb 2 years ago so that is a gauge of their weightgain. Course at this age, they might be gearing up. The 12yo has just gone through a giant growth spurt. I'll get Parkways for them if it is necessary, but thought I'd see what everyone thought about the safety factor of the SE's vs the Parkway.

    They are on the road much more than other kids, sleep in the seats and have more opportunities to slip out of the booster. With the 5pt harness, they are IN there.

    I happen to have a picture of the setup on our website (http://www.hopalog.com) from 2 years ago - the only changes are for the girls; the RA is gone, the youngest has the Marathon and I got an SE for the one in the Marathon in the picture.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

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  3. #2
    CPS Fanatic
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    I would not consider using a harness beyond the weight limits, ever. A properly used booster is safer than an improperly used harness.
    Kelly, mom to Aaric (7.5 and 65 lbs), Mikayla (6 and 52 lbs), and Xander (20 mo and 25 lbs)
    No more Huskies due to a wreck...
    Xander's in a MA, Mikayla in a GN, Aaric is temporarily in the pink Vivo...
    Graco SS1 due to come out of retirement in Jan 09

  4. #3
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Depends how you feel about them acting as crash test dummies. Their seats are not rated to those weights and no one knows what will happen in a collision. Whereas in a Parkway they are within the limits of the seat and they are well protected. A five point harness becomes less safe than a booster when the height or weight limits have been exceeded on the harness.

    Also, depending on when the seats were manufacturered, they may be expiring in a few months. They have a six year lifespan and the SE was made from 2001-2002.

    When they're in Parkways you can still pull the seatbelt all the way out until it locks, then let it retract on them that way. They'll be locked into the seat, though in a three point, not a five point.

    Good for you for keeping them harnessed for so long! I'm impressed they hadn't crested the height limit of the seat. So many kids do before the weight. You may be the first people I've heard of, actually.

    Looking at the picture you posted in your blog, who is that in the back right slumped over?? How is that possible? He doesn't look harnessed (though it's hard to tell from his jacket print, I simply can't see the harness). He looks far too slumped. And I'm wondering if he is too tall for the seat anyway. They outgrow it by height when their shoulders are above the top slot, or when the tip of their ears are at the top of the shell.

    HTH

    Wendy
    Last edited by wendytthomas; 11-12-2006 at 02:48 PM. Reason: Looked at the picture and wanted to comment
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  5. #4
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    I'm surprised

    I'm a bit defensive at the idea that I'd use my children as crash test dummies when I'm obviously concerned about their safety. If I were content to allow them to be crash test dummies I'd wouldn't care if they were harnessed or not, nor would I concern myself with the limits of their seats.

    It seems to me that the seats always err on the conservative side and the seats are probably fine to a larger weight limit. But it is also a good point to check their shoulder height; it has been a long time since I've checked that. I also wonder if a beefier seat would be safer (i.e. the SE, not the Parkway) since they are in an "unsafe" 15 pass van. So I'm trying to see all the safety aspects and definitely do not consider my children crash test dummies.

  6. #5
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    I didn't mean to offend. They simply ARE at this size, just in so much as you have no clue what will happen. Britax likely doesn't know. Whoever put the tethers in your van doesn't know. We don't know. And as crash test dummies are used to find out so we do know, they are now in the unfortunate position of possibly being the first to find out.

    The Parkway is a very safe booster, and as the two of us who responded said, a safe booster is safer at this point. It has side impact protection, a high back, headwings, easy access belt guides. It's a very safe booster. And at this point in their lives and size, it's safer than the SEs. I couldn't see if your van had headrests, if it does then when they outgrow the Parkways they will be as safe as you or me. If not, then a high back booster is definitely the way to go, though by age 12 the neck bones are at adult strength.

    Your lifestyle sounds wonderfully interesting. We travel a lot, but not like you do. I'm an unschooler, but my husband would be more a school at home, so we meet in the middle (with me unschooling and every now and then sitting down and "teaching"). What wonderful memories your kids will have.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  7. #6
    CPS Technician nisi's Avatar
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    I personally would not use the SEs any more. They are not designed to hold that much weight and we don't know what would happen in a crash. However, if I were in your situation I'd want to keep my kids in a harness too. At their current size, there are only 2 options that I can think of - the Traveler Plus and the 86Y.

    The TP is basically a SE/Husky/Regent with a few modifications that allow it to be rated to 105lbs instead of 80lbs. It is considered a special needs seat so it is expensive. Given how fast they're growing I don't know how much use you'd get out of it. http://www.adaptivemall.com/brtrpl1.html

    The 86Y is a harness system that's rated to 168lbs. It requires a special heavy duty tether anchor to be installed. You can read more here
    http://www.ezonpro.com/products/fami...yHarness.shtml
    Your seat backs look pretty low, so you might want to look into the Ride Ryte booster to use with the 86Y. It would also give them some sleep support. Although, there's a good chance they're too tall for the Ride Ryte. I've never seen one so I can't tell you how tall the seating area is. http://www.safetyangel.com/products/...kBooster.shtml

    If neither of those options will work, then Parkways are a good choice, too. They'd have good sleep support and side impact protection. Good luck figuring this all out.

    Nisi


    PS I noticed in your picture that the Marathon doesn't have the little rubbery HUGS pads on. If they're still off the MA you should put them back on. They are required for forward facing.

    PPS I was reading your blog and I see you were in my town last week. We froze trick or treating, too. That was the coldest Halloween I remember in a loooooong time!

  8. #7
    CPS Advocate
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    I too was going to recommend the kid-y system. Its great if you want to keep them harnessed still.
    Be absolutely sure to check their shoulders at the top slots. Im actually suprised they have made it to this age! but I have a long torsod child and they could be short torsod.
    Also be sure to check the shoulder height on all your other children whenever you have a chance to keep a good idea of who is where in what seat.
    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes...
    That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away AND you have their shoes.”

  9. #8
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Another reason to consider discontinuing using the SEs: most/all of the Super Elites were recalled by Britax, and the recall fix (something to do with the harness adjuster strap) rendered most Super Elite harness adjusters completely impossible to adjust, and the seats unusable. Some Super Elite owners ended up getting completely new replacement seats from Britax, either another comparable harnessed seat, or a booster. I would recommend contacting Britax ASAP, and see what they're willing to do for you about the Super Elites. Maybe you could get a credit for some replacement Parkway boosters, or work out some other arrangement, given your unique traveling circumstances.

    Good luck and safe travels to you and your family, sounds like fun.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

    Click here if you wish to view the full size version of my avatar

  10. #9
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Yes, ALL the SE's have been recalled, Britax sent out replacement seats last year, and will probably still honor that 1-888-4BRITAX as long as they aren't expired. (when used with both top tether hooks, it's the SAME seat as the Traveler Plus, which is certified to 105 pounds...with only one tether hooked, I don't think it's safe past 80 pounds... it's not even the anchor in the van that might break, it's the tether hook on the seat itself that starts to give out in high-weight, high speed crashes).
    I'd trust the Parkway or Recaro Start or Monarch with my own kids..plus, they like the sleepability of the headrests (they have Regents, too, but they aren't so comfy for sleeping, that's for sure).

    Best of luck, I hope Britax sends you new seats or credits for the SE's.

    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

  11. #10
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    thanks to everyone for the input

    I wish I could look back over the responses as I type but thank you Wendy? for explaining about the crash seat dummy thing; I didn't understand the reference and took offense. I've looked at the harnesses but since the benches in the van have no headrests it looks like either the carseat with harness thing (can't remember what it is called) or a booster are our choices for the boys.

    Someone asked about the hugs on the Marathon; if that is a rubbery thing that goes on the harness then yes, it is on. I checked the boys in their seats and the eldest's shoulders are just a tad bit over the harness slot. The 10yo is right at it. But I guess all that is moot since it seems that the concensus is that we need to get rid of the SE's. Oh, and the 7yo is in a Husky. Forgot it is a Husky; we got it last year and I think it was a year or two old.

    So thanks to everyone and now a fluffy question; does anyone know of a place to get "pretty" Husky covers?

  12. #11
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    Wait a minute Jools; are you saying that if I use both tethers with the SE's I have then they are good to 105lb? (I seem to remember that number when I bought the seats). But at the same time that all SE's have been recalled? I'll definitely give Britax a call tomorrow.

  13. #12
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Looks like Wendy & Jools have already mentioned what I had in mind when I read the thread-start ... so I guess all I have left to common on is the pretty covers Britax told me (but check for yourself when you call about the SEs) that you can use the Regent covers on a Husky or Jools can maybe show you how she made hers pretty
    TIFF ~ doula & all hours childcare provider
    SCARLA: winter '02 . . . Jr. Roller Derby level III
    BEAR: spring '11 ... Recaro Sport + Clek Oobr
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    childcare: 0-7yrs... Contender + Frontier Clicktight
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  14. #13
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    On the phone with Britax; the only SE's that have been recalled are those in manufacture date between Aug 01 2001 and Aug 31 2002. If I use both tether hooks on the SE's they are rated to 105lb. So I guess we don't need the Parkways!

  15. #14
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Well, that depends. If their shoulders are above the top slots, or the tops of their ears above the top of the frame of the shell, then they've still outgrown the seats and need the Parkways. Was it you who mentioned that you measured them and one was above and one was right at the level? If he's at the level then it's ok, until he grows just above it. If your oldest is above the top slots then he's outgrown the seats and no amount of tethering will make it ok. :-( If they're above the slots then they're back into the crash test dummy range.

    The reason behind this is about spinal compression. For people who face forward (us too) the seatbelts/harness need to be at or above the level of our shoulders. That way in a collision we can ride up into the seatbelt and it'll hold us. If the belt is below the shoulder then we can't ride up and the spine will squish into itself, causing a compression injury. For RFing kids (not that you have any, but to explain this further) it's the opposite. Since their forces are the other way from FFing the straps are at or below their shoulders to hold them in better.

    It's also very likely that neither boy will remain at their current heights for very long. You may want to grab a couple of Parkways at a good price (if you can wait for your older son, I don't think you can) and just put them in the back or in the trailer. That way when you need it, which will be soon, you have it. That way in case you find yourself in some town in the middle of North Carolina that doesn't even have a Walmart you're still covered.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

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