WWYD situation?


New member
I ran across a situation this evening and wanted some input.

A child weighing 55 pounds and a hair over the top slots of a decathalon but ears under the top of the shell or in a lap belt only. Mom needed to transport 2 girls, 5 year old and 10 year old. 10 year old passes the 5 step test easily and did not fit into boosters anymore (over 58" tall). Vehicle was a 93 Ford F150 and has driver lap/shoulder, lap in center, and passenger lap/shoulder. Truck had driver airbag but no passenger airbag. Truck also had no center head restraint in the center and the passenger and driver head restraints were non adjustable.
There were no tethers in the truck either. Child seat laws state that child under 4'9/8 years old/ or 80lbs has to have an appropriate child seat.

So what would you do?

10 year old in lap/shoulder with 5 year old in decathalon?
10 year old in center with 5 year old with lap/shoulder and booster?

5 year old in


Well-known member
There's not really a good answer. Basically, whoever gets the center seat in this scenario is not optimally safe.

If this were a one-time thing, and staying home (or leaving the 10 year old home) were not an option, I'd probably put the 5 year old in the Decathalon. From your description, she hasn't outgrown the seat by weight, and by height she still fits in the shell, and the harness almost fits by height. It's not a good solution, but I think I'd rather risk the dangers of a slightly short harness over the dangers of a lap-belt only next to an active air bag. The lap belt and the air bag nearby just seem like a really really really bad combination.


New member
This is a very occasional thing. What we ended up doing was having her trade vehicles with her daughter and tansporting her grandchildren in a truck that had a back seat and both had lap/shoulder belts. I was just curious what others would have done in this situation.

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