Have any questions about car seats?

MacKenzie - posted on 01/02/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Hello! I became a child passenger safety tech in 2002 as part of my job at our local Children's Hospital. My oldest child was 2 at the time, and I really thought his seat was safely installed. The average car seat has three mistakes, any of which can be life threatening. My seat, that I was so sure was properly installed, had NINE mistakes. I was horrified. I knew I must not be the only mom who thought I was doing things right, but was actually putting my child in danger every time we rode in the car. Since 2002 I have checked 1000's of car seats, and I have never found a single seat that was installed and used properly. Nationwide the misuse rate is about 90%. There are so many myths about car seats (like kids can go forward facing at 12 months and 20 pounds (false), a child can safely use a booster seat at 30 pounds (false), kids don't need boosters once they turn 8 (false). I would love to help you find the safest way to travel with your kiddos. Post here and I will help you find safe solutions to your car seat quandries.

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Crystal - posted on 02/11/2011

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i am looking to buy a new seat for my daughter i am looking at the britax marathon70 and the boulevard70 is one better than the other the marathon is cheaper so kinda leaning twards that one due to tight budget want something that will last for awhile i have her RF right now just turned her back that way actualy 18 months 23lbs and 31 3/4in want to keep her RF as long as i can would love to put my 5yr back into a 5 point harness as she is tiny to 42lbs 43in and always has to be told to sit up in her seat but unfortunetly i cant afford a new one for her to can barley afford the one for the baby

MacKenzie - posted on 01/03/2009

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Hi Ingrid,



I am assuming your son is forward-facing (FF) since he exceeds the rear-facing (RF) weight limit for the Marathon (MA) . Please correct me if I am wrong. The MA is an excellent car seat, and it is a favorite among car seat techs. Most of us have Britax seats for our own children. It is extremely easy to use and install. One thing I would double check is the recline on the seat. Sometimes when you are installing (MA) it can slide into recline mode. The seat must be installed fully upright when FF after your child weighs 33 lbs. To make sure unbuckle the car seat and pull the recline lever at the bottom front of the seat. While pulling the recline lever, push the seat into a full upright position. Reinstall your seat taking care that the seat stays upright. The base of the seat should remain flat on the vehicle seat and should not tip forward at all.



Another thing to be sure of if you are using LATCH (the lower anchor straps on your seat that hook onto metal bars in the crease of your vehicle seat) is that you have switched the LATCH anchors on your MA. They come set up for RF use and must be switched before using FF. Your instruction manual shows you how. Basically you life up the front of the cover to expose the black metal bar that runs across the front of the seat (under the gray foam). The LATCH belts are attached to this bar. Bring both LATCH anchors up inside the seat to the center of the bar. Put one anchor through the fabric loop of the other anchor to pass it through to the other side (the anchor that had been on the left side of the seat should now be on the right side of the seat). Move the anchors back into position on the metal bars on either side of the seat. Reinstall and tighten the LATCH straps until the seat does not move 1" in any direction. Be sure to use the top tether as well....you should use the top tether for all FF installations (with LATCH or with the vehicle seatbelt).



All FF seats are going to allow your child to kick the vehicle seat back. The MA does sit at an angle that puts their legs a little closer to the seat ahead of them, however. Two seats to try are the True Fit (TF) by the First Years and the Graco Nautilus (GN). The TF is a convertible seat that harnesses to 65 lbs. (like the MA) but it has a deeper seat so you may find his legs aren't so close to the passenger seat when he rides in it. The GN is an amazing new seat from Graco. It is a FF only seat that harnesses to 65 lbs. with very tall top harness slots (most kids outgrow the MA and the TF due to height before weight...your child is too big when their shoulders are above the top harness slot or when the top of their ears is at the top of the car seat shell). The top harness height on both the MA and the TF is about 17", while the top harness height on the GN is about 18.25". This enables most kids to ride in it until about age 6 when they can safely move to a booster. The other cool thing about the GN is that it converts to a great booster seat once they outgrow the harness. The booster can be used until the child weighs 100 lbs.



I hope you'll join my new community "Car Seat Safety...Questions and Answers" for more great info on car seats. Let me know if you have any other questions. ~ MacKenzie

User - posted on 01/03/2009

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I'm looking for booster seats that are very small. I saw them in someone's car. They are basically little blocks. Have you seen anything like this?

Ingrid - posted on 01/03/2009

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my son is 28 mths old and I have him in the Britax Marathon seat. He is at around 36 pounds now but is tall so his feet hit the back of the passendger seat. Do you have any suggestions of which seat I can change him to, that will not be as bulky and sit so high up ?

Martha - posted on 01/03/2009

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It is so great to have an expert on something which we use everyday and is so important to the safety of our kids. Maybe you can start a blog with short examples of
common mistakes and how they and how they were corrected. Quite frankly, I do not have any questions because I think I am doing it correctly, I might be very wrong! I am already looking for the instructions. You may also want to entitle your next conversation as something like "Are your car seats safe?" Thanks so much for your service.

Kristie - posted on 01/03/2009

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Could you please give some examples of the most common mistakes made are so I can check out my 3 kids car seats. Also you have written about the myths can you please give me the correct answers. sorry i dont mean for you to write me a novel but i am always worried about the car seats as we are constantly changing cars and i always feel like maybe i am doing something wrong. Thanks Kristie

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