Sometimes I wish I was just an average parent, happily putting my kid in a backless booster straight out of a convertible seat and going about my business. But I’m not. I’m a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor and have been in the field for 10 years this spring. I like to analyze the decisions I make for my kids and make sure I’m making the safest decisions. Why? Why do I overanalyze these decisions? I’ve always prided myself on giving others the same advice I follow myself. So why am I so uncomfortable following this advice I’m giving myself?
We just bought a new vehicle. Oh boy! You know what that means! New seat opportunities! Awesome! OK, well, let’s be practical. Let’s start with the old ones first. My previous vehicle was an ’05 Sienna and my 8.5 yr old dd sat in the passenger’s side captain’s chair where the seatbelt came from directly behind her shoulder (What?! An 8.5 yr old is still in a booster seat? Yep, she still needs one.). In our new vehicle, the shoulder belt is mounted to the C pillar that’s located next to the vehicle seatback; I’d say it’s a fairly neutral position. But, for our van, I was careful to obtain highback boosters (Cybex X-fix, Combi Kobuk, Chicco KeyFit Strada) where the shoulder belt guides are located on the back of the seat to accommodate the “behind the seat” geometry. Guess what? They aren’t working—the shoulder belt is catching up in the belt guide. Argh! The only other highback I have for her (old style Britax Parkway) is in dh’s Lexus RX 330 and she needs that one there because the shoulder belt is so far forward of the vehicle seatback. I could try to talk ds into trading his Monterey with her for one of our myriad backless boosters hanging around. . . hmmmm. He’s pretty possessive when it comes to carseats, though.
After a different booster nearly every day since we’ve gotten it, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and just put dd into the olli. It LATCHes so it won’t slide around on the slick leather and get tossed out of the car as they get out of the car when I drop them off at school and it solves the shoulder belt problem.
But ACK! My youngest is going into a backless in one of our vehicles! I know, she’s old enough and she hovers around 53-55 lbs., but holy cow! When did she get big enough to do this? She’s my skinny minnie! Does this mean I’m . . . old? I’m still trying to come to terms with this.
The new vehicle has side airbags that come halfway down the inside of the doors (according to the graphics on their website) and going backless means she’s a few inches further back on the vehicle seat so that gives her more head excursion room to the front seat (plus I’ve moved the front passenger seat forward a few inches to give the kids room to disembark at school). These are valid safety points I keep reminding myself of as I imagine the look on her face as she finally gets to ride in the one seat I’ve denied her for so long.