My son doesn't fit any booster on the market! Help!!

J

JenJenJen

Guest
He is 7 years old, 107 lbs, and 4'5". He is built like a linebacker - rock solid kid all the way through! He is over the 100 lb weight limit of his Graco backless and 3 lbs away from being over in his Chicco Kidfit. He is squished in and spilling over the edges of both. I don't want to buy another booster that will only get him to 120 lbs cause he will be there very soon and the largest width I could find was 17.87", which isn't enough to stop the spillover. His current boosters which are too narrow are 17" and 16". He needs one that is like 19" across. They don't make that size. I've read car seat adjusters aren't safe. I really am at a loss here. Does anyone know of an adjuster that IS safe? Thanks in advance!!
 
ADS

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
He is 7 years old, 107 lbs, and 4'5". He is built like a linebacker - rock solid kid all the way through! He is over the 100 lb weight limit of his Graco backless and 3 lbs away from being over in his Chicco Kidfit. He is squished in and spilling over the edges of both. I don't want to buy another booster that will only get him to 120 lbs cause he will be there very soon and the largest width I could find was 17.87", which isn't enough to stop the spillover. His current boosters which are too narrow are 17" and 16". He needs one that is like 19" across. They don't make that size. I've read car seat adjusters aren't safe. I really am at a loss here. Does anyone know of an adjuster that IS safe? Thanks in advance!!
Most aftermarket adjusters are not safe and not covered by federal standards. Most boosters do top out at 120 lbs, but it's possible he may be tall enough by then to 5-step in at least one of your vehicle's seating positions.

The Graco RightGuide is better than average and built for older kids. It's also limited to 120 lbs, but at least it doesn't cost a fortune: https://fave.co/2tO43sf . It's not super wide, but the belt guides do tilt outward and that may help.
 

HelloJeepers

New member
Most aftermarket adjusters are not safe and not covered by federal standards. Most boosters do top out at 120 lbs, but it's possible he may be tall enough by then to 5-step in at least one of your vehicle's seating positions.

The Graco RightGuide is better than average and built for older kids. It's also limited to 120 lbs, but at least it doesn't cost a fortune: https://fave.co/2tO43sf . It's not super wide, but the belt guides do tilt outward and that may help.
Thank you for your reply. I think that Graco will likely be our option.

What is "5-step in"?
 

HelloJeepers

New member
To "5 step" is parlance for "pass the 5-Step Test." The 5-Step Test is the way we check that the seatbelt fits appropriately without a booster.
https://carseatblog.com/3966/the-5-step-test/
Thank you so much!!! That is REALLY helpful info that I will absolutely be referring to. I feel now like I have some sort of guide to know what to do rather than just guessing in the dark. I've never had a child this size before - all my others were beanboles so this has really thrown me for a loop. Keeping him in a safe carseat or belt matters a lot to me and just hoping I was guessing right was not good enough! So thanks!!

The Graco Right Guide booster I ordered is supposed to show up today, and am really hoping his weight will stall out for as long as needed till he can pass the 5 step test!
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
I hope it works for you!

If this were my child, I would absolutely use a booster that fit and improved belt fit over the weight limit rather than use a belt alone too soon. There's not any real reason boosters have an upper weight or height limit- it's a guess by manufacturers of who will fit, put on because the law requires it.
 

HelloJeepers

New member
OK so I think I have a bigger problem than booster seats and I can't believe I didn't see this before. My son usually buckles himself in. We have a 2012 Odyssey van and a 2020 Dodge Ram. The Graco RightGuide is perfect in the Ram (photo below), but in the Odyssey, the belt lays HORRIBLY over his neck in both his Graco RightGuide and the Chicco Kidfit (which we just took the back off a few months ago). The pic shows the seat back raised as high as it will go and it looks like he's outgrown it, but taking the back off makes it worse. Come to think about it, I am not convinced that middle belt is safe for anyone of any height. I know middle back is safest, but do I move him to the door when possible cause that neck strap is utterly unacceptable!?
 

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ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
That belt tends to do better on medium to large adults. He should definitely ride outboard where fit is better.

Does the headrest raise up in the Ram? If not, he's too tall for that seating position. He needs support to the top of his ears. (It also looks unusually reclined, does it sit up at all?)
 

HelloJeepers

New member
I checked and the seat in the Ram is as it is. Neither the headrest nor the tilt is adjustable. I put him near the door and the belt cuts across his neck there so I assume the middle is still safer? Since the middle seat is made to seat a much taller adult, I guess that is just a flaw in the safety, which is crazy since we specifically picked the 2020 literally JUST because of the across the board perfect safety ratings. (We would have bought a 2016 or so, but it was less safe in a few areas.)
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
No. I would say that as long as he has otherwise good fit and doesn't move the belt behind him or anything, head restraint is more important. You can try a booster with a shoulder belt adjuster there if you want, but support to the top of the ears is really important in preventing severe spinal injury.
 

HelloJeepers

New member
The RightGuide has a shoulder adjuster. Try the fit with the adjuster.
Brilliant! I didn't see that before you pointed it out. That will apply for the sides in the RAM as well as the middle for the Odyssey - very much needed no matter which vehicle we take.

I have to say I am pretty disappointed in the RAM with that middle seat headrest. Those few occasions we have all 3 kids with us means someone has to be put at risk. We have an 18, 17,and 7 yr old. Who would likely be safest in that seat with no headrest protection?
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Brilliant! I didn't see that before you pointed it out. That will apply for the sides in the RAM as well as the middle for the Odyssey - very much needed no matter which vehicle we take.

I have to say I am pretty disappointed in the RAM with that middle seat headrest. Those few occasions we have all 3 kids with us means someone has to be put at risk. We have an 18, 17,and 7 yr old. Who would likely be safest in that seat with no headrest protection?
There's not really a best option. If the 7 year old can be lowered at all that would be ideal and buy you some time; that would likely necessitate using a Ride Safer Travel Vest.
 

HelloJeepers

New member
There's not really a best option. If the 7 year old can be lowered at all that would be ideal and buy you some time; that would likely necessitate using a Ride Safer Travel Vest.
Once he grows, will it be the same problem even with the shoulder belt fitting properly? Is it safe for a teen or adult to ride in that middle seat without being able to get that headrest higher? I am wondering if my 17 and my 18 year olds are safe in that middle seat also.
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
If they are short in torso but longer legged perhaps? The issue is that anyone big enough to have the belt fit properly is unlikely to have support to the top of the ears with that head restraint, and both are important. At some point you'll likely have to make a tough choice that leaves someone unsafe.
 

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