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DS is pushing the 18kg weight limit for his car seat

(19 Posts)
exhausted2011 Wed 08-Jun-11 12:45:59

He is 3 ½
He has a Maxi Cosi, priori, isofix

Everyone else with children a similar age seems to be moving to the high backed booster seat, just secured by the seat belt.
I am really reluctant to do this, I feel he still needs to be secured by the 5 point harness. He would never be restrained by just the seatbelt

Is there any alternative?
Or am I being PFB?
We like the reclining option too, I do a lot of long journeys.

aswellasyou Wed 08-Jun-11 13:02:08

The Britax Two way Elite uses a 5 point harness until 25kg. It can be both rear and forward facing. I'm not sure, but I thik the Britax HiWay also uses the 5 point harness until 25kg. It's only rear facing.

TruthSweet Wed 08-Jun-11 14:42:23

3 1/2 is young to be in a booster so I do understand your reluctance. DD1 was rfing until 4.2y/o and then ffing in a Britax Two Way Elite until she turned 5 when she was able to be booster trained so went in to a high back booster. She still fits in the TWE rfing and she is 5.2y/o, 20kg and 117cm (she went in it recently when having a temper tantrum blush and we didn't trust her to be in the booster so we strapped her in to her 3.6y/o sister's TWE which is rfing).

It's really important that a child understands that when they are in a booster they control how safe they are and they need to understand what they do whilst in the seat could make them very unsafe (reaching for a dropped item/leaning over/fiddling with the seat belt/etc).

When a child is harnessed their parents control how safe they are so to move to a booster is quite a big step - almost as big a step as letting them cross the road by themselves.

exhausted2011 Wed 08-Jun-11 15:17:10

I knew this would happen, I'm more confused than ever now!
Is the 5 point harness a safety issue too? i.e once they reach 18kg, they are safer using the seatbelt in a crash?
it seems there are a few with the 5 point harness, but they are all suggesting that you change to seat belt at 18kg.

and the Britax 2way, only seems to have photos using the harness, when it's FF.
And of course FF is whole other issue!

we are having real safety issues with DS at the moment. I am tempted to keep him in his current one until I think he can be trusted not to escape.hopefully that should only be a couple of months and I'll put him on a diet to make sure he doesn't go over the weight limit grin!!

seriously, I need to change it, if it is the 5 point harness that would cause the trouble

TruthSweet Wed 08-Jun-11 17:29:00

If the seat they are in has a 18kg max weight then when they weigh 18kg (this is a clothed weight not naked) they are no longer safe in it. If you were in an accident and the seat failed then your insurance might be invalid for costs relating to your child as you would be using it against manufacturers instructions.

The safety question of whether a harness is safer than a seat belt at 18kg depends on the age and maturity of the child because you could get a 18kg 2y/o who obviously wouldn't have the maturity to stay still while the car was in motion. At the same time you could have a 18kg 6y/o who would be perfectly safe to boostered.

I think the seats you have seen are group 1/2/3 seats (like an Evolva or a Recaro Young Sport) which cover 9-36kg. 9-18kg can use the harness and 15-36kg can use the car seat belt (group 2 is 15-25kg and group 3 is 22-36kg).

The TWE is a group 1/2 can be used rf or ff from 9-25kg though rfing is recommended until 15kg.

justforinfo Wed 08-Jun-11 22:31:16

What does your DS weigh? If a seat has a 18kg weight limit then they can only stay in it till them. As long as DS's head isn't above the seat and he's under 18kg's he's fine (by above the seat i mean the ''bump'' at the back of the head isn't above it) If he's throwing temper tantrums about being in a ''baby'' seat then maybe a 1-2-3 will be the way forward!

exhausted2011 Thu 09-Jun-11 09:56:19

thank you all
I'm getting worried about this now!
He's 16-17kg. But he has been this weight, or therabouts for a while
His head is slightly above the top of the carseat, what do you mean the bump at the back of the head?

He hasn't said a word about his carseat, but he does like his cousin's (she's 5months older and a lot lighter) which i just think doesn't strap him in well enough. It's a high back booster type.

I'm worried about him getting out, he's very headstrong and wilful. I drive long distances alone with him.

What I would like to know is how come the harness isn't suitable over 18kg? They all seem to suggest, not insist, that you change to seat belt.
The only one is the Britax 2 way elite, which I can see has the harness, but only when RF.

I need a real safety perspective.

TruthSweet Thu 09-Jun-11 10:25:26

The TWE has the harness forward facing too see the manual here (scroll down to just above the price the link's there).

The harness wouldn't be suitable above 18kg because a)it hasn't been tested above that weight b)the seat might break if a child above 18kg is in it in an accident c)the EU allows children 15kg and above to use a belt postioning booster and the group below goes to 18kg so harnesses conventionally only go to 18kg.

allthefires Thu 09-Jun-11 10:30:51

I had similar issues and weight for the recaro young sport as the back was higher and had 5 point harness til 18kg. I was happy with it as a high backed booster when weight limit reached as its really solid and sturdy.

My DS is 3.5 and now over 18kg so seatbelt only now and its a good firm seat.

If you can get a TWE then I would get one. I still regret not getting one myself a little but I made the right choice at the time. Unlike some of my friends who have put their LOs in just booster seats....grrrrr!

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-11 10:38:39

If he's the lower end of 17kg now, then he won't hit 18kg for a good while, I'd have thought. Can you dig out his red book and estimate based on the centile lines?

I don't think it's the 5-point harness itself which is unsafe - after all, they have 5-point harnesses for adults in racing cars etc. It's just that the harnesses in group 1 (or group 1-2-3 etc) carseats will only have been crash tested to 18kg. So using it after he hits that weight limit could be compromising his safety as the straps might not hold.

turkeyboots Thu 09-Jun-11 10:51:25

You can get back backed boosters with 5 point harnesses - DD has a Britax one. Have just moved her at 4.6 to using the seat belt.

turkeyboots Thu 09-Jun-11 10:51:58

High Back boosters even!

exhausted2011 Thu 09-Jun-11 10:57:44

truthsweet, thank you, I've found the answer

As your child grow Two-Way Elite can be turned forward and used with harness or seat belt until 25 kg (55 lbs). This seat is unique, it's the only one in Europe allowing forward facing use with harness to 25 kg (55 lbs)

exhausted2011 Thu 09-Jun-11 11:00:56

turkeyboots, yes, they have them, but if you read the details, they all suggest moving to the seat belt once the child reaches 18kg, so I wanted to find out if it was a major issue.

When you look at the safety videos for FF v RF, the danger seems to be the movement of their back and neck and shoulders, so I thought maybe this was the issue with the harness.

I'm happier now, it's a bit pricey though!

turkeyboots Thu 09-Jun-11 11:16:05

I've always long assumed all the guidance on moving on to different seats was based on the desire to keep us all buying new ones ever few years!

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-11 11:29:20

Hmm, well they do want you to keep buying new ones. But I don't think they would bother testing them over the limits and then not advertise that fact. It must cost quite a lot to crash-test seats anyway. So if you're using a seat over the limit of that seat as stated on the box/website/manual, you're likely to be running a risk.

TruthSweet Thu 09-Jun-11 11:54:04

exhausted - they don't suggest they insist the child has to be secured using the seat belt when the child reaches 18kg (assuming it is a group 1/2/3 seat not a group 1 seat - if it's a group1 seat it cannot be used past 18kg).

It is not a guideline but a rule for seats that have a 18kg weight limit on the harness that the maximum safely restrained weight is 18kg.

Also, the movement in the head/neck is due to the direction of the child in the crash not the harness.

Bertie - several seats in the US have retroactively changed the rfing weights on due to crash testing. This all started when more parents became interested in ext.rfing and a rfing Cold War kicked off in the States with seats coming out with higher and higher rfing capacities.

Notably the Sunshine Kids Radians which have increased their limits from 33/35lbs to 40/45lbs. As when the designers were re-doing the Radians seats to have a larger rfing capacity they found the original seats could with stand rfing to a higher degree than they had previously tested them too. This means that some seats that were already sold and installed in cars had their rfing capacities changed so accommodate larger children rfing so their parents didn't have to buy new seats and move away from the brand to Britax (Sunshine Kids biggest rivals).

Unfortunately we can't do this in the UK as we are bound by the group system so we couldn't have a Britax First Class rfing to 16kg (from the original 13kg) and a TWE rfing to 29kg (from an original 25kg) because those weights/groups don't exist in law. I suspect if it was found that the FC could safely maintain a child of 18kg rfing they might change it but there doesn't seem to be the wide spread consumer interest in the UK in car seat safety that there is in the US.

Car seat safety advocates changed the Britax Husky from a special needs seat to a main stream seat (the name changed too, to the Britax Regent) with in a few years and paved the way for multiple seats entering the market with a 65lb/80lb top harnessed weight (29kg/36kg) with out the special needs price tag. The latest higher harnessed weight Britax seat is the Frontier 85lb so goes to 38kg harness.

BertieBotts Thu 09-Jun-11 12:13:41

Ah okay, truthsweet. I didn't realise the weight categories were bound by law. Is that why we ended up with Group 0 (up to 10kg - largely obsolete now I think?) and Group 0+ - up to 13kg.

It does seem the seats available in the US have a much wider choice available. And it makes sense about retroactively testing the seats and finding they can withstand heavier loads in a crash, but if it hasn't been tested, I wouldn't want to risk it indefinitely I don't think.

TruthSweet Thu 09-Jun-11 13:15:20

Personally, I would rather a possibly 18kg, possibly 17kg child in a HBB than a possibly 19kg/20kg child in a harnessed seat with a 18kg max.

There is exceptions to that preference though - a discussion on US Babycenter about a 36lb 9 month old baby with an expected weight of 40lb+ at 12m (18kg) forward facing because the parents don't know/care any better/more (US law is rf until 1y/o AND 20lbs not either/or) which is kind of an extreme but in the UK unless you purchased the TWE £200 or the Traveller Plus £600 (special needs seat) that 12m would have to go in a booster shock.

I'm not going to do the maths on the effects on a couple of kg over the limit as I've proven that maths/physics aren't my forte but as the mass increases in an accident (well relatively speaking) each kg over the limit are a heck of a lot more when the car is doing 60mph. If the harness can cope with 18kg at 60mph (seats are tested at 30mph anyway so aren't even guaranteed to still work at high speeds if the child is under the limit) it really might not at 20kg and 60mph.

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