Question Four kids, not enough tethers. Who gets one?

Mommy0608

New member
Next week I will likely have four children riding in my van, all in Frontier 85s. I have a 2009 Grand Caravan. Middle captains chairs have tether anchors, and in the third row there is a full LATCH set off-set center. I'll probably have to put two kids outboard in the third row but I will try to put one in that off-set position and one outboard. So, one or two of the kids will not get a top tether. Please help me decide who should get one. Oh, and rear-facing and boostering are not options. All are FF with harness. Thanks!

The kiddos, oldest to youngest:

My DD, turning 6yo in a couple weeks, 36-37lbs.

My DS, 3yrs 9mo, 38-39lbs.

T, 3yrs 4mo, 37-38lbs, has proportionately large head.

E, 2yrs 3mo, 30-35lbs (approx).

I have an idea in my head but want to see what others say to help me decide. Thanks.

(Sorry I've been MIA. Lots going on right now. Will try to post an update soon.)
 

EmmaGrace'sMom

New member
My gut says the oldest kids do without tethers, in theory their bones should be more ossified. I would make sure I installed with long belt path, I feel like that might offer some "tether like" protection.

ETA: If at all possible, I would rf the 2yo and put all 3 fr85's at tether spots.
 

Avery'sMama

CPST Instructor
I would also do the oldest without tethers.

Do you have access to seats that perform well without tethers? You're welcome to borrow either my Radian or my ProSport if you want?
 

canadiangie

New member
No one has a convertible that the 2yo can rf in? Because honestly, that's your answer.

I put a Frontier in the off-centre LATCH position in your van a few weeks ago, and a rf Scenera beside it. Worked great.

But to answer your question, (per Darren) the taller the child, the more forward head excursion there tends to be. The more head excursion there is, the more risk for head injury from striking the interior. Even still, I'm just not sure I could "choose" who gets a top tether.

The Canadian in me says the best way to transport these kids involves 1 rf seat. I know, I know, you said that's not an option... I probably shouldn't have posted.

Runs to hide...
 

Kecia

Admin - CPST Instructor
The smaller, lighter kids should, theoretically, have less head excursion but I'm not really sure if it will make much of a difference in this case. Do whatever works best in terms of logistics but use LBP routing in the 3rd row. You won't be able to put 2 Frontiers side by side back there. If it helps - recline the 3rd row seats, install LBP, buckle, tighten and then upright the vehicle seats. That should result in a very tight install. Good luck!
 

jjordan

Moderator
I was thinking that I'd choose for the lightest/youngest child to go without the top tether. My advice is colored by the Radian rules, which use a Safestop for a FF kid under 40 pounds (when the seat is top tethered). The Safestop essentially increases head excursion a bit (compared to not using the Safestop). So my reasoning is that if that's okay to have that little increase up to a certain weight limit, then the lightest is best off left untethered.
 

zactayaus

New member
I was thinking that I'd choose for the lightest/youngest child to go without the top tether. My advice is colored by the Radian rules, which use a Safestop for a FF kid under 40 pounds (when the seat is top tethered). The Safestop essentially increases head excursion a bit (compared to not using the Safestop). So my reasoning is that if that's okay to have that little increase up to a certain weight limit, then the lightest is best off left untethered.
This was my thought and reasoning exactly!
 

bnsnyde

New member
We had four kids in a rental van and I FF 2 kids (age 4 and 5) and gave them the 2 available tethers, and the baby and toddler I RF'd.

But it was really close with the 2-year-old. He sort of barely just fit in the seat and I was not 100% comfortable with it. There was no shell above his head but the seat didn't require that, as it could go up to. After the trip, I declared that seat outgrown RF for him.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as too many tethers! :) I wish car companies got that.
 

Brigala

Well-known member
I also would prioritize top tethers for the taller and heavier children.

And of course if you can RF the youngest in something else that would be ideal.
 

kirst

New member
I would put my own kids with the top tethers. I would not risk the safety of my children. Not saying that I would want to risk the other kids as I would do the best for them as possible. I agree rfing 2 yr old would be best but they are not providing the best seat for the child so theres nothing you can do. not to sound mean or as if the other kids dont matter because they do but my child/ren will always matter most to me as to you also.
 

krystin_21a

New member
Not a tech, but personally I would tether older heavy kids and make sure to long belt path the other seats with the younger kids. I love long belt path installs in my third row because my tether if off center.
 

SynEpona

New member
No one has a convertible that the 2yo can rf in? Because honestly, that's your answer.
...
The Canadian in me says the best way to transport these kids involves 1 rf seat. I know, I know, you said that's not an option... I probably shouldn't have posted.

Runs to hide...
I can't ever make that choice, by law FFng kids must be tethered in my vehicle, AND 40lbs is the booster minimum. The only legal choice I could make in your situation is to RF at least one child. My own vehicle has 4 seating positions, and only 3 tethers, so I have had to RF a child that is 'too old' according to either themselves or their parent, in order to put 4 children in the vehicle.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as too many tethers! :) I wish car companies got that.
I agree! It's frustrating to have ONE seating position that is only 1/2 functional for our needs. I've had this vehicle for 3+ years, and its only just now that DS & a friend can ride together in the 3rd row, since he is in a booster now, and so is his best friend.
 

monstah

New member
jjordan said:
I was thinking that I'd choose for the lightest/youngest child to go without the top tether. My advice is colored by the Radian rules, which use a Safestop for a FF kid under 40 pounds (when the seat is top tethered). The Safestop essentially increases head excursion a bit (compared to not using the Safestop). So my reasoning is that if that's okay to have that little increase up to a certain weight limit, then the lightest is best off left untethered.
Same train of thought here too.

BUT (and this might make me a horrible person) my kids would all have TT's. I would put the lightest "guest" in the no TT position.
 

carseatcoach

Carseat Crankypants
I would put my own kids with the top tethers. I would not risk the safety of my children. Not saying that I would want to risk the other kids as I would do the best for them as possible. I agree rfing 2 yr old would be best but they are not providing the best seat for the child so theres nothing you can do. not to sound mean or as if the other kids dont matter because they do but my child/ren will always matter most to me as to you also.
If I felt strongly a that a particular mode of transport (FFing/untethered) was not safe enough for my own child, I would not transport another child in that position. If it is safe enough for another child, it's safe enough for mine.
 

tiggercat

New member
canadiangie said:
No one has a convertible that the 2yo can rf in? Because honestly, that's your answer.

I put a Frontier in the off-centre LATCH position in your van a few weeks ago, and a rf Scenera beside it. Worked great.

But to answer your question, (per Darren) the taller the child, the more forward head excursion there tends to be. The more head excursion there is, the more risk for head injury from striking the interior. Even still, I'm just not sure I could "choose" who gets a top tether.

The Canadian in me says the best way to transport these kids involves 1 rf seat. I know, I know, you said that's not an option... I probably shouldn't have posted.

Runs to hide...
The Canadian in me agrees with the Canadian in you. If the 2 yr old can't rearface, then you cannot safely transport those 4 kids in that vehicle.

Sent from my iPod touch using Car-Seat.Org
 

SignCuer

New member
I just am shocked at those who would pick their kids over other kids to be in the top tether position. It's just not fair to them AND your kids as well. Personally I believe that if there's not enough top tethers for everyone, I would try and see if any are able to rearface and do so otherwise, I'm not transporting anyone.
 

monstah

New member
Well, I would never drive my 1 year old FF. It's not safe enough IMO. But I would drive someone else's 1 yo FF if their parents REALLY insisted.
I would still drive my 4 year old in her GN in a car without TT's. Why not someone else's kid?

I have a seat in the third row that doesn't have a TT and if someone asked me to do them a favor and transport their harnessed child, I wouldn't move one of my TT'd seats into that position. I'd use it without a TT. (If DS was still harnessed. Obviously, I'd move his booster over there if it actually happened today.)

OP's answer is to use a convertible. If a convertible is out of the question, I'd tell the parents there's no TT in that spot and if they don't care, so be it. If that's not safe enough for them, they will have to get a ride from someone else.

I'm not going to refuse to drive someone just because they aren't as passionate about ERF or EH, or I'm short one TT, etc. Their parents make that choice, not me, and I respect their wishes.
 

safeinthecar

Moderator - CPS Technician
monstah said:
Well, I would never drive my 1 year old FF. It's not safe enough IMO. But I would drive someone else's 1 yo FF if their parents REALLY insisted.
I would still drive my 4 year old in her GN in a car without TT's. Why not someone else's kid?

I have a seat in the third row that doesn't have a TT and if someone asked me to do them a favor and transport their harnessed child, I wouldn't move one of my TT'd seats into that position. I'd use it without a TT. (If DS was still harnessed. Obviously, I'd move his booster over there if it actually happened today.)

OP's answer is to use a convertible. If a convertible is out of the question, I'd tell the parents there's no TT in that spot and if they don't care, so be it. If that's not safe enough for them, they will have to get a ride from someone else.

I'm not going to refuse to drive someone just because they aren't as passionate about ERF or EH, or I'm short one TT, etc. Their parents make that choice, not me, and I respect their wishes.
I would not drive a kid in a way I felt was unsafe, regardless of their parents wishes. My insurance company isn't going to accept "but her parents wanted her to ride this way" when their canceling my injury rider because I've reached the life max payout limit for the broken neck of the ffing 1 year old.
 

monstah

New member
safeinthecar said:
I would not drive a kid in a way I felt was unsafe, regardless of their parents wishes. My insurance company isn't going to accept "but her parents wanted her to ride this way" when their canceling my injury rider because I've reached the life max payout limit for the broken neck of the ffing 1 year old.
I totally understand and respect that. :)

Just to clarify my thoughts: I'm not talking about a permanent car seat in my car for a FF 1 year old. Never gonna happen. But for a one time favor, I'm OK with that. The chances of getting in ANY type of collision, never mind one actually severe enough to cause serious injury, is SO slim I'm not going to leave a kid stranded at daycare because I don't agree with their parents wishes.
I didn't mean to imply a FF one year old is OK, we know it's not.
 

carseatcoach

Carseat Crankypants
I will transport in ways I do not prefer, but not ways I consider unsafe. And if I felt that FFing w/o tether was too unsafe for my child, it would be too unsafe for any child, especially because this does not seem like an emergency situation.
 

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