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Monthly Archive:: February 2009

Murphy’s Britax Marathon

I had an interesting experience recently and I just have to share.  I had a (non-CPS) meeting to go to and I was carpooling with a friend and her friend.  The other friend (someone I don’t know) offered to pick me up from a prearranged location about 20 minutes from my house and drive me the rest of the way in her new T&C minivan.  As soon as I climbed into the empty captain’s chair in the middle row, I noticed an older-looking Britax Marathon installed forward-facing on the other captain’s chair.  It was a longish drive to our meeting so I had a lot of time to stare at the seat.  I could see that it was attached to the lower LATCH anchors but it wasn’t tethered.  It didn’t look like it was installed tightly either.  I bit my tongue for the moment and decided that I would show her how to fix it before we parted ways.  When she dropped me off after the meeting I said “give me a minute to show you how to properly install your carseat”. That’s when the fun began….

How Did You Become Interested in Child Passenger Safety?

I became interested in child passenger safety when my oldest son was starting to outgrow his Century Smart Fit infant seat, or maybe it was just to heavy to carry him in the baby bucket.  That was 10 years ago, in early 1999.  I originally bought a Century Smart Move and could not get it installed rear-facing in a Saturn SL2 sedan. I didn’t realize at the time that the Smart Move was among the most difficult seats to install and the SL sedan was among the more difficult vehicles. Combined, it was a combination that baffled an engineer to the point where I wondered how vehicles and child seats could be designed to be so incompatible.

The cure? A Britax Roundabout. In the Zodiac pattern. Silky smooth push button harness adjuster, no-twist straps, rear-facing lockoffs, and a tether that could be used rear-facing. Worked like a magic charm, even in a vehicle known to be problematic because of a small back seat with sculpted, anti-submarining seat cushions.

Here’s a blast from the past. Some of my earliest CPS advocacy from 1999. 

Cosco High Back Booster (with harness) as a Booster (Part VI – Combo Seat Review Series)

I’ve decided to document how various combination (harness/booster) seats fit my 4-year-old, 41 lb, 43″ tall son in booster mode.  He’s at the size where most parents would be switching from the 5-pt harness to the vehicle’s lap/shoulder belt in booster mode if they had a combination seat with a 40 lb limit on the harness.  In each case I’ll use the same seating position in my van – driver’s side captain’s chair in a 2005 Ford Freestar.     

The IIHS booster study compared the fit of various boosters using the 6-year-old Hybrid lll dummy who weighs 51.6 lbs (23.41 kg) and has a standing height of almost 45″.  I thought it would be even better to show belt fit on a child who was just over the 40 lb weight limit for the 5-pt harness.  I’ve decided to focus exclusively on combination seats because of their popularity.

This week we’re back to Dorel (Cosco, Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer) and we’ll be looking at the
Cosco High Back Booster
with harness.  There have been many variations of this seat sold over the last 10 years and it’s still widely available today in places like Walmart, Target and BRU.  Recently, I’ve noticed that these seats are being sold in clear plastic, zippered bags instead of traditional cardboard boxes.  There have been many different model names over the years.  Often this seat was sold without the harness (as just a booster) with names like Complete Voyager and Vista.   I think it’s safe to assume that there are millions of these seats being used by children all over America today.  Let’s see how this model stacks up as a booster….

Automobile and Child Restraint Recalls and Defects

Just some filler material for today.  First up, some important links for parents to know when it comes to checking their child car seat for recalls.  A few lists exist, but all have the same information presented in different ways.  Here’s the tome of all recalls from the NHTSA:

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/childseat.cfm

Here’s a nice one from SafetyBeltSafe USA that includes additional comments about problem issues and usage tips:

http://www.carseat.org/Recalls/179NP.pdf

And here’s a free printable list from The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Center:

http://www.hsrc.unc.edu/safety_info/child_passenger_safety/child_restraint_recalls_pdf.cfm

You can also view that one in html format:

http://www.hsrc.unc.edu/safety_info/child_passenger_safety/child_restraint_recalls_list.cfm

You can also find similar information for cars.