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I'm not sure I made the right decision; but given the Britax reputation...

The Super Elite is still not available so this is the choice I made. My questions:

1) It has no 5 point harness but as my son is right around 40 lbs; the limit most cut-off I guess that wouldn't matter.
2) It has no tether; again I suppose that isn't needed if you're using the seatbelt
3) You don't need to pull the seatbelt & retract it in ratchet-mode since its not holding the car seat? God; does anyone apart from this board know *anything* about seats? Certainly not the guys at BabiesRUs yesterday. I'm going to call the Memphis guys that was recommended in the other thread to get some advice.

I am worried I've made a mistake; even though the seat says '3-10' years old & '30-80 lbs'. I just don't feel like my 4 year old is as protected as he was with the 5-point harness.
 

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And I feel the exact same way, which is why I bought a Futura 20/60 and will be buying a Britax Super Elite as soon as it becomes available (probably will wait until it comes with LATCH).

Because there is no body of federal law concerning booster seats, it's a wild, wild west out there. Anyone can sell any booster seat, good or bad.
 

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On the five-point harness, read what the materials for your seat say. But most booster seats that we looked at say to use the five-point up to 40 pounds, then use the belt positioner above 40 pounds. The five-point harness can be totally removed.

On the tether, I went through the same decision process that you probably went through. As our older son is over 40 lbs. we use the belt positioner. At first I used the tether as well, then realized that it would serve no purpose. The shoulder belt would hold the seat and the kid in place.

I always pull the seatbelt out and engage the ratchet mode after I belt in my son. If the belt is left so that it can be pulled out, the child could play with the belt. If he/she pulls on the belt it could get jammed when passing back through the shoulder belt positioner and would be loose. You would then have no upper body protection in a crash.

The way I look at five-point harness vs. no five-point, it does seem that the five-point wuold have more protection. But I suspect that the five-point harness is not structurally rated for heavy bodies (over 40 lbs), and that is why you must use the car's seat belt system at that point.

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1997 Accord EX-L, Forest Green
Previous Hondas:
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The SRC is a good choice for boosters. Some techs feel that specific booster-only restraints like this one often fit somewhat better than combination harness/booster seats when used as a belt positioning booster. Your child will be safe in a belt-positioning booster, provided they sit properly in the booster. No slouching or leaning, and no unbuckling the belt. As mentioned, the locking retractor mode is not necessary, but it can help prevent the child from playing with the belt and keep them in place more securely. In fact, a few boosters have small plastic clips that position the shoulder belt properly, and you have to route the shoulder belt through the clip. If a child pulls the belt out, it may not retract through that guide, leaving it unsafe if the parent doesn't keep a close eye on them. The SRC does NOT have this problem. As for tethers, they may be of some use to keep the booster from sliding around turns or when not in use, but they do not impact safety significantly.


Also, even though there is no federal law covering the USE of booster seats, FMVSS 213 does cover the standards and certification of any booster seat which has a MINIMUM weight of under 50 pounds. The Britax SRC is therefore covered under this standard. The SRC actually did quite well in the federal compliance tests.


A belt-positioning booster will be almost as safe as a 5-point harness, provided it is used properly. Even when 5-point harness models that exceed 40 pounds are more readily available, belt-positioning boosters will still be a good alternative.

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 10-01-2001).]
 

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We are using Century boosters with our 5 year old in both our Ody and Accord. We use the tether straps even though it is used in the belt postioning mode basically as a precation when the seat is unoccupied.

The seats both have the plastic clips on the side to position the belt correctly and luckily our son has always been great with carseats. He has never tried to unbuckle any of his seats or the belts. He waits for us to instruct him to unbuckle himself.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by nyvram:
I'm not sure I made the right decision; but given the Britax reputation...

The Super Elite is still not available so this is the choice I made. My questions:

1) It has no 5 point harness but as my son is right around 40 lbs; the limit most cut-off I guess that wouldn't matter.
2) It has no tether; again I suppose that isn't needed if you're using the seatbelt
3) You don't need to pull the seatbelt & retract it in ratchet-mode since its not holding the car seat? God; does anyone apart from this board know *anything* about seats?
</font>
I use the tether with a belt positioning booster -- belt & suspenders approach. The seats won't budge even when empty they're so tight, which is good since you're really supposed to buckle the seat belt even when the kids aren't in them to keep the seats from flying around. There is no play in the seats that would allow them to move when occupied. My kids were in the car when we had the t-bone collision (front on at 45 mph) that, thankfully, was fatal only to the van and they were not the slightest bit injured.

As far as ratcheting the seat belt by pulling and releasing it, I always do that too. Not sure if you absolutely need to, but it won't hurt. Seat belts can be tricky. I read that they loose approximately 10% of their strength/effectiveness every time they are twisted.

All things considered, I'd rather rely on a seat belt that is anchored into a two ton object than a five point harness attached to a 15 lb car seat, even if they do make harnesses for larger/heavier children. Without the benefit of seeing and conducting safety testing first hand, we all need to rely on the experts and the info we have to make these decisions. Marv, if you don't feel good about it, do something different. There's a lot to be said for going with your gut feeling especially when it comes to your kids.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by nyvram:
I'm not sure I made the right decision; but given the Britax reputation...

The Super Elite is still not available so this is the choice I made. My questions:

1) It has no 5 point harness but as my son is right around 40 lbs; the limit most cut-off I guess that wouldn't matter.
2) It has no tether; again I suppose that isn't needed if you're using the seatbelt
3) You don't need to pull the seatbelt & retract it in ratchet-mode since its not holding the car seat? God; does anyone apart from this board know *anything* about seats? Certainly not the guys at BabiesRUs yesterday. I'm going to call the Memphis guys that was recommended in the other thread to get some advice.

I am worried I've made a mistake; even though the seat says '3-10' years old & '30-80 lbs'. I just don't feel like my 4 year old is as protected as he was with the 5-point harness.
</font>
Marvyn,

You're a good man, and your children are lucky to have someone as concerned as you looking out for them. As parents we are forced into unpleasant decisions daily. All we can do is gather the information that is available to us at a particular point in time, weigh the options, and go with what appears best suited for our set of circumstances. And still, even after all that, the best solution available is often a compromise.

The Star Riser Comfy is a great seat. Our 5 year old, who is big and solid for his age, has been in the one since he was 3. This is a clever, well thought out product. Its got a base that can be adjusted to the child's needs, comfortable arm rests that hold the lap belt and shoulder belts in place across the pelvis, an adjustable height back that correctly positions the shoulder belt across the chest, a back that can be removed from the base when bulk is a concern like for use on an airplane, a shoulder belt positioning tether for use when the back is removed, a great headrest so kids can sleep without their head flopping all over the place, and even a secret compartment for your kids personal stuff. What more could you want ... besides a five point harness.

And Britax, as far as I can tell, is an excellent company. Britax used to advertise on their website that they were specified as optional equipment on Mercedes and Porsche automobiles. I don't know if they still are, or if they just quit advertising the fact, but that's was a pretty good endorsement, IMHO. If you want more, go to NHSTA and check Britax's recall list, then check other seat manufacturers. You may never be on the other end of a recall, or it may amount to nothing in the scheme of you child's safety, but I want to reduce my risk of exposure every chance I can (exactly why I drive and Odyssey). In this respect Britax seems like a good choice.

My wife and I were not pleased about loosing the five-point harness when we moved our oldest into is seat. But look at it this way, the Odyssey's 5 star safety ratings were derived with test dummies strapped into the lap and shoulder combo in the rear seats, just like our children are. The belts are all positioned correctly, the momentum locking mechanisms (or the locking retractor, if you choose that route) are going to do their thing if the occasion arises, all you have to do is drive carefully and teach junior not to fiddle around with the belts too much, as was pointed out by Caviller. Even if you had them in the Super Elite, the whole setup is still ultimately dependant on the seatbelts.

Watching them grow up and feeling helpless to protect them is no fun. Your kids, on the other hand, will relish the little bit of freedom the booster seat provides. This compromise, for better or worse, about as good as it gets, unless you want to drive a Sherman tank or stay home forever. Ah parenting ... the agony and the ecstasy. Hope this helps.

Todd
------------------------------------------------------------------
'86 Civic - gone
, but not forgotten
'90 4Runner - great, but lacking for a family of 5
'02 GG Odyssey EX-L-RES - hello, my new best friend

tnuckels

[This message has been edited by tnuckels (edited 10-01-2001).]
 

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Steve Pert:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The way I look at five-point harness vs. no five-point, it does seem that the five-point wuold have more protection. But I suspect that the five-point harness is not structurally rated for heavy bodies (over 40 lbs), and that is why you must use the car's seat belt system at that point.

</font>
For the seats that are "combination" seats, generally that's true--the 5 point harness is not designed for anything beyond 40 pounds.

A new breed of "youth" seat is coming out now, though, for those of us who want more than the belt-positioning booster can provide. Britax has one, called the Super Elite; it is designed from the ground up to be permanently installed in the car and use its 5 point harness for kids up to 8 years or 80 pounds.

They call it a "youth seat" to differentiate it from a "child seat", the idea being that "youth" implies older than "child". And it's a problem, quite frankly, to get the consumer past the idea of "Oh, well, that's no good, the harness isn't used beyond 40 pounds anyway, that's how they all are." That's how they all used to be, but Fisher Price started the "youth seat" trend with their Futura 20/60 and discovered that the market was ripe for exactly that type of seat. And now Britax can't make enough of the Super Elite to solve the pent up demand. People are lined up, waiting. (But we on this board are all used to that sort of thing, right?)

http://www.childseat.com/resultsdetail_seats.cfm?pro_id=26
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by adam1991:
Steve Pert:
A new breed of "youth" seat is coming out now,
</font>
These *are* new to the market.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Britax has one, called the Super Elite; it is designed from the ground up to be permanently installed in the car
I have seen this one before. When you say "permanently installed," how so?

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> They call it a "youth seat" to differentiate it from a "child seat", the idea being that "youth" implies older than "child".
Do you know of a link to information somewhere that we can read more about this seat (other than the manufacturer) -- general info that says it is preferable to, or safer than, a belt positioning booster seat? I'd be interested to know more in that regard. I have also been looking at a "youth" seat by BoPeep Nursery products called the Komfort Rider GTX. Am still researching it. It uses the car's seat belt and is a booster usable up to 100 lbs. My concern frankly is relying on two systems to work effectively in the event of an accident; the vehicle seat belt and the car/booster seat's belt as opposed to just one. I know firsthand that the seat belt alone worked great in the accident we had. No matter how tight you get it, seats secured with the seat belt seem prone to move -- how much or whether that could be a big problem, during a wreck, I don't know for sure. I'm just into minimizing risks. Like everyone else on this board I want my kids to be as safe as possible so if there's something better out there, I'd like to know about it.
 

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5-point harnesses are inherently safer than a 3-point lap and shoulder belt, simply because you are restrained at both shoulders and the crotch. There is less chance to submarine out of the seat, less chance for ejection and less chance for the occupant to be out of position due to leaning or slouching.

A lap/shoulder belt with a booster is very safe when used properly, but a 5-point harness is safer. 5-point harnesses are used frequently for adults in high-risk environments like racing.

Many police departments, fire departments and hospitals have trained child passenger safety technicians on staff who can do a free inspection and teach you how to install any seat properly. I have more general information and links to locate technicians at my site:

http://www.car-safety.org

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 10-01-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #11
LOL

Caviller.."submarining" out of a seat? I have never heard that term before but the mental image that conjured up gave me a good case of the giggles....that and the fact its 1:44 AM...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Todd..and others.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree with both Adam1991 & 3Odys that the Super Elite is what I would have preferred. However NO ONE seems to have it and I get the nebulous 'sometime this fall' response when talking to Britax about availability.

So, in the meantime I picked the next best seat I could find...and spent $100 on it. Since it came from BabiesRUs I can certainly return it if the SE actually materializes sometime before my son starts college.
 

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3odys4me:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I have seen this one before. When you say "permanently installed," how so?</font>
In that it's mounted like a baby seat: you strap it in with the car's seat belt and it stays there and the car's seat belt never comes undone; instead, you use the seat's 5 point harness for the child.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">My concern frankly is relying on two systems to work effectively in the event of an accident; the vehicle seat belt and the car/booster seat's belt as opposed to just one. I know firsthand that the seat belt alone worked great in the accident we had. No matter how tight you get it, seats secured with the seat belt seem prone to move</font>
Oh my--then you need to go to the local police or fire station and have someone install the seat for you and show you how it's done.

My car seats have never moved. It takes some effort, but the goal is that the child seat becomes one with the car's original seat. The child seat should never move relative to the car's seat. If it does, it's not really installed correctly.

For example, I have a Britax Roundabout. I tighten the harness by pulling a strap at the lower front of the seat. I don't need to hold onto the Britax seat to hold it still as I pull the strap; I just pull the strap. The Britax seat doesn't pull forward as I do this, because it's held to the Ody's seat like it was welded there.

If you're the type to remove and reinstall the child seat regularly for whatever reason, it's more likely that you're not installing it well enough. For example, I bet most people who try to use one car seat for both parents, or to give to the grandparents as they babysit, don't use the tether in something like the Ody. It's just *that* much more difficult, and they rationalize its use away.

I realize that's the human tendency; that's why I buy car seats for everyone, car seats that we leave in the car. I have one in my little Civic, just for emergency purposes. It stays there, properly installed, even though it gets used maybe once every month or two. Sure, it's $100 sitting in the back of my car doing nothing most of the time. So what? It's rigidly installed, super tight, with tether attached. So when we need to put the boy in there for whatever reason, we don't hesitate or hem and haw or reason that "we're only going 6 blocks, he'll be OK without a car seat, we'll just drive slowly". He's buckled into HIS seat just like Daddy is buckled into Daddy's seat, no questions asked.

We also put one in Grandpa's car, where it sits the same way. I consider these to be "permanently mounted" in that they don't go in and out all the time; they just stay there, ready for use just like the regular passenger seats in a car.

Hey, think about it: why did I buy an Ody in the first place? Partly because of the Magic Seat! Because I don't think part of the car owning experience involves removing and installing passenger seats. The same goes for child seats, IMHO.

Go talk to your local fire department. They'll tell you all about this. You *can* properly install a child seat so that it becomes one with the car, and there's no concern over using two systems.

Also ask them about a 5 point harness. I think they'll agree that if it's available, it's preferable. Quite frankly, it's much easier--particularly on a regular and ongoing basis--to get the 5 point harness onto the child properly each time than to maneuver the car's seat belt onto a belt-positioning booster properly. (And that's the same as with the LATCH philosophy: LATCH is easier. LATCH isn't necessarily better than car belts, but you're more likely to use LATCH properly than you are car belts.) But again, that depends on how well you've installed the child/youth seat using the car's belts and the manufacturer's tether.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I don't know for sure. I'm just into minimizing risks.</font>
Sure. We understand. And the 5 point harness seat, appropriate for the child's weight and size, installed properly according to the manfuacturer's directions and taking into account the laws of physics (i.e., strap that baby TIGHTLY to the car's seat so that the child seat doesn't move a millimeter in any direction), is the best bet for minimizing risks.

We're also going to put our soon-to-be infant into the very center seating position, I think, again to mimimize risk. She'll be the weakest one, and she'll need all the advantages she can get if an accident occurs.
 

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Actually, with two children, "Best Practice" is usually that the least protected child sits in the center. Rear Facing seats typically offer more protection from side and frontal offset impacts that front facing seats. Therefore, most certified technicians would suggest the front facing child be in the center, and the rear-facing child be outboard.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by nyvram:
LOL

Caviller.."submarining" out of a seat? I have never heard that term before but the mental image that conjured up gave me a good case of the giggles....that and the fact its 1:44 AM...
</font>
Hehe. I didn't make up the term either:) Many vehicle seats are now sculpted so that your butt sits farther down while your knees are raised a bit. This isn't only for comfort, it's the same principle to help [small] adults from moving down and under the restraint. Unfortunately, these same sculpted seats often make carseat installation much more difficult.
 

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adam1991:

We're not on the same page here, so let me clarify. When you said "permanent" that implied fixed, i.e. bolted or the like. Now I get that your version of permanently installed means left there. In that sense, my seats are also permanently installed. I am not "the type to remove and reinstall" my child seats. But this is not relavant to most boosters. I have 2 in my car, my husband has two in his and I keep 2 spares for my kid's friends (whose parents don't think it matters - it matters in my car.) Yes, I have bought 6 booster seats in my parenting career, soon to be 8.
I actually don't need to go anywhere for help with installing my car seats. They are booster seats which will generally move. So again, we're not talking about the same thing here. My boosters don't move much however because I have them tethered. When I was using a car seat, it would have taken a stick of dynamite and an act of God to move it from the seat -- it was "one with the seat."
I hear you on the five point harness thing in terms of ease, but I really am not interested in the quick, easy solution. I want what is safest. The point I was trying to make on the seat belt vs. harness is that with the 5 point seat you have 2 links in the chain, 2 systems that must perform optimally. With the booster there is one. Caviller pointed to five point harnesses being used by race car drivers but those harnesses are part of a car, like a seat belt. This is the only thing I was referring to, the primary anchor point -- one vs. two.
Let's face it, most people don't obsess over proper car seat installation, their seats aren't welded to the vehicle seat. The older kids of those parents may be safer in boosters where there is less margin for error. Since you are a physics fan, when I talk about seat movement, I mean in the mass x's speed x's force sense in an accident scenario not rocking it with your hand. I once was clocked by a old lady who ran a red light. I was in a '66 mustang coupe (solid metal.) The force was so great that both doors flew open and buckled, the back seat flew out and a tape (that normally required a good push) slid into the cassete player by itself. Pieces of her car were imbedded in the engine of mine. That's the kind of movement I'm talking about. A family (injured but ok)in a van, here in Raleigh, was hit by 4 teenagers (who all died) the metal locking (look kind of like and H) clips on the kid's car seat were mangled beyond recognition. That's force. The kind that makes me agonize over the hows, whys and what kinds of car/booster/youth seats.
For me right now, I know for sure in a front end collision @45 mph. my kids are perfectly safe in their belt positioning, tethered booster seats.
In the absence of data supporting the five point as superior to the seat belt, I'll stick with what I know works for now. The other issue is availability of these seats as Marv pointed out. If they are better and the y can be had, it's a no brainer. But I'm a fact over opinion person. I'm going to search for some info along those lines. Will post anything relavant. Here's hoping all our kids will never have the limits of their seats tested. Safe travels all.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by caviller:
Originally posted by nyvram:
LOL

Caviller.."submarining" out of a seat? I have never heard that term before but the mental image that conjured up gave me a good case of the giggles....that and the fact its 1:44 AM...
</font>
Hehe. I didn't make up the term either:) Many vehicle seats are now sculpted so that your butt sits farther down while your knees are raised a bit. This isn't only for comfort, it's the same principle to help [small] adults from moving down and under the restraint. Unfortunately, these same sculpted seats often make carseat installation much more difficult.
This is what happened with the Previa ('94-'97) that earned it a "poor" safety rating. That's the first time I had heard the term. It's strange (and funny sounding) but real.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by 3odys4me:
adam1991:


For me right now, I know for sure in a front end collision @45 mph. my kids are perfectly safe in their belt positioning, tethered booster seats.
In the absence of data supporting the five point as superior to the seat belt, I'll stick with what I know works for now. The other issue is availability of these seats as Marv pointed out. If they are better and the y can be had, it's a no brainer. But I'm a fact over opinion person. I'm going to search for some info along those lines. Will post anything relavant. Here's hoping all our kids will never have the limits of their seats tested. Safe travels all.
</font>
I agree that your kids are very safe in their BPB, provided they are always used properly and remain seated properly. I doubt you will find studies of the kind you seek. The money is just not there to do studies on factors that are relatively small increases in safety when larger issues exist. On the other hand, I do encourage you to seek out and correspond with people at organizations like SafetyBeltSafe (carseat.org) or perhaps a local police department officer who is a carseat technician and has done crash reconstruction. Most if not all will agree that a 5-point harness is superior. In fact, it is "Best Practice" as defined by the NHTSA/AAA course to leave children in their 5-point harness all the way up to 40 pounds, and NOT move them to a BPB sooner. For me, the relatively small risk of having one extra device is outweighed by the larger risks of ejection, submarining (which can be compounded by the use of LATCH on a combination BPB when it is NOT recommended), or sitting out of proper position.

I will re-iterate that even though I think a 5-point solution is somewhat safer, BPB are still very safe when used properly. I own a combination BPB, and intend to use it as a booster when my child is old enough, unless a 5-point option is readily available and not particularly expensive.

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 10-02-2001).]
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Since you are a physics fan, when I talk about seat movement, I mean in the mass x's speed x's force sense in an accident scenario not rocking it with your hand. </font>
There's also the issue of whether your belt is right up against you vs. having some slack and your body has to meet it with some force.

It's the same difference between placing your fist on a brick wall and exerting X newtons of force vs. placing your fist a foot away from the brick wall and exerting the same X newtons of force.

Race car drivers are belted in as tightly as possible, for a reason. The biggest guy on the team is responsible for pushing the driver down and yanking on his straps. I belt my kids in that tightly for the same reason. I don't want any slack in the system. The best way to achieve that is to weld a youth seat to the car's seat, and then strap the youth in tightly with the 5 point harness.

Caviller is right. The two systems vs. the one system may be a false lead to focus on. Talk to safety officials who have training in this sort of thing.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by caviller:
Originally posted by 3odys4me:
adam1991:


For me right now, I know for sure in a front end collision @45 mph. my kids are perfectly safe in their belt positioning, tethered booster seats.
In the absence of data supporting the five point as superior to the seat belt, I'll stick with what I know works for now. The other issue is availability of these seats as Marv pointed out. If they are better and the y can be had, it's a no brainer. But I'm a fact over opinion person. I'm going to search for some info along those lines. Will post anything relavant. Here's hoping all our kids will never have the limits of their seats tested. Safe travels all.
</font>
I agree that your kids are very safe in their BPB, provided they are always used properly and remain seated properly. I doubt you will find studies of the kind you seek. The money is just not there to do studies on factors that are relatively small increases in safety when larger issues exist. On the other hand, I do encourage you to seek out and correspond with people at organizations like SafetyBeltSafe (carseat.org) or perhaps a local police department officer who is a carseat technician and has done crash reconstruction. Most if not all will agree that a 5-point harness is superior. In fact, it is "Best Practice" as defined by the NHTSA/AAA course to leave children in their 5-point harness all the way up to 40 pounds, and NOT move them to a BPB sooner. For me, the relatively small risk of having one extra device is outweighed by the larger risks of ejection, submarining (which can be compounded by the use of LATCH on a combination BPB when it is NOT recommended), or sitting out of proper position.

I will re-iterate that even though I think a 5-point solution is somewhat safer, BPB are still very safe when used properly. I own a combination BPB, and intend to use it as a booster when my child is old enough, unless a 5-point option is readily available and not particularly expensive.

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 10-02-2001).]
Thanks Caviller. I appreciate the info and your input.
 
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