Ugh! (Belt Positioning Boosters)

C

Caviller

Guest
Ugh! (Belt Positioning Boosters)

Today at a family gathering, I noticed my niece did not have a carseat or booster for her son. When I asked, I found she did have a bpb, but the manual said it could not be used in vehicles like hers, where the child's head would be above the low backrest in the back seat. Her solution was to put her child in the front seat of her vehicle, which has a passenger side airbag. And she hasn't yet put the booster in it either.

She has no money, so I'm either going to give her our Cosco HBB, or buy her a new one as soon as possible. Her son is just over 3.5 yr, ~ 40 lbs. She has Geo Tracker, which I think is based on the Suzuki Sidekick. I don't see any entries for boosters on these vehicles in the database. Would it be prudent to use a harnessed model for a little while longer, or is a bpb really OK at this point?

Anyone have any recommendations? If the Cosco HBB booster is a good fit for her, then I will be needing a replacement HBB with harness straps for my DS (2.5 yr. old, ~35 lb.). Preferably something with easier adjustment and no-twist straps than the Cosco. This is for our second vehicle, which is only used for kids now and then, so I'm hoping not to spend a bundle if I can find a reasonably priced model that fits well. The Cosco HBB fit very well, but the straps are just too annoying to consider again.

Thanks.
 
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K

kymberlee26

Guest
Re: Ugh! (Belt Positioning Boosters)

You have a couple of things going on here that you need to address.

First of all, stay away from Cosco harnessed boosters. They are all modeled on the same shell and are all too short to properly accomodate a child for the length of time required.

About your cousin (your niece's son) who is "about" 40 pounds. Unless they are in Canada you cannot use a harnessed seat for him, unless it is the Fisher Price Futura whose harness goes to 60 pounds, as the harnesses of all seats have a maximum limit of 40 pounds (again, except the Futura). In Canada the rules are different so seats with harnesses go to 48 pounds there. He is 3.5 yo so is right on the borderline for a bpb. If you want to keep him safER you could get him a 5 point Futura from www.cipsafe.org for $85 (email me for the coupon code). If you would rather get a booster then some HBB to look at are the Britax Starriser/Comfy, the Fisher Price Safe Embrace and the Galaxy 2000. It sounds like she has a low or backless booster which cannot be used in a car without headrests and/or if the child's head is above the back of the seat. The only thing to consider is whether or not you think he is mature enough to keep the positioning required of a booster. If so, go for it, get a HBB. Otherwise get a Futura (but check his torso height, should be 17" or less as that is the top slot on a Futura). Of course, you could hold out for a Britax Super Elite (a seat whose harness goes to 80 pounds, look under Youth at www.childseat.com) but your niece has a smaller sized car so I don't think that that would be a good choice).

Some ideas for your 2.5 yo would be (in order of preference) the Evenflo Express Comfort Touch, the Century NextStep (MX or DX model), the Graco Cherished CarGo and the Century Breverra Ascend. I have heard mixed reviews on Fisher Price's new Grow With Me so I would tend to stay away from it but you could certainly look at it. If your ds tends to be somewhat skinny you'd probably want to stay away from the CarGo as its deeper wings tend to hold the shoulder belt too far away when used as a bpb.

And, of course, make sure your niece moves the front seat as far back as possible if she must use that position and if she cannot turn off the airbag. Here's a good article about an 8 yo child who was probably killed by an airbag: www.thestar.com/apps/AppL...News/News.
 
C

Caviller

Guest
Thanks!

I know he's 3.5 yrs old, but the 40lb. is a maximum weight she estimated for me yesterday. I can put him on a scale when she stops by to see if a harnessed booster would be OK for a while longer, should he turn out to be only 35 lbs... Otherwise, I'll go for a high back bpb I think. If the Cosco has plenty of height for him, would it be safe to give it to her and get her another one when he grows too tall? By that time maybe she'll have a safer car which can use a backless booster... Otherwise the Futura sounds like a good investment. Indeed, she has a backless booster right now, which is not being used.


I'll check out the Evenflo Comforttouch for myself. I've been eyeing the SuperElite, and may try to hold out for that one if I can.
 
K

kymberlee26

Guest
Re: Thanks!

As long as the Cosco hbb has never been in a crash, is less than 5 to 6 years old, the straps are not overly twisted, your cousin's shoulders are even with or below the top harness slots and the tips of his ears are not above the shell of the seat then, yes, it should be fine to use. Think, though, that if she is not using a seat at all she may not be using one because of convenience and giving her a seat that has straps prone to twisting and (probably) a harness adjuster in the back this may not be the optimum seat to give her to use. So you'd be faced with either getting a different harnessed booster or a regular bpb.

I have a Comfort Touch and got it for $55 including tax. I'd like a Super Elite myself (though I am not sure if I am going totally overboard there lol) but am thinking that at worst this could be a second seat for us or something my younger dd could move in to or a seat for when my eldest gets too tall for the !@#$% AO that d!h insisted on buying (that, thank goodness, is NOT in my car). I think it is a good seat and I like it better than the other harnessed boosters out there (and, of course, so did my dd or else I wouldn't have bought it!).
 
C

Caviller

Guest
Cosco HBB

If the Cosco does fit (only 1 yr. old, excellent condition), I would probably have her use it in bpb mode if it meets the fit guidelines in the manual. I have little confidence she would be able to re-install it properly as a harnessed booster.
 
K

kymberlee26

Guest
Re: Cosco HBB

Just make sure that she knows he will need to keep his positioning proper in the car. At his age he may not be able to do this yet, unfortunately.
 
J

Joyous24

Guest
I have a comment

I would suggest to her for the time being to put her child in the back seat with the booster seat and lap/ shoulder belt. Even though the child's head will be over the back of the seat, in my uneducated opinion I think the risk would be far less than having the child up front (even in a booster) in front of the air bag. Statistically the back is safer, and with that air bag, AND with no booster...I would suggest she put her child back in the back seat ASAP and take the risk of whiplash vs. all the risks he has up front, until he can get a HBB.

Of course the ideal is to get him bak in a booster w/harness if he is reasonably under 40 lbs.

JMO! and Good Luck! :)

Jade
 
C

Caviller

Guest
Thanks all

My niece came to a check up event I was working this weekend. The Cosco HBB worked very well in her vehicle and with her son. The certified techs were pleased as well!


I think I am going to hold out another month or two for the SuperElite. Then I will look at the Express and the NextStep, especially if the NextStep can use Century's EZ-LATCh upgrade while in harnessed mode...
 
C

Caviller

Guest
Nextstep MX/DX

How big is the difference in cost and features? I see their website mentions that the DX has "Beltway" seatbelt routing, but otherwise it was hard to see if there were other major differences.


I assume these seats have a top tether for harnessed use? If so, any idea if they can use the EX-LATCH upgrade? This might be a key feature for me, unless the Express has any major safety improvements. I'm still hoping the SuperElite is released on time though.
 

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