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Author Topic: Car Seat Question
dkw
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They do have expiration dates, and you shouldn't buy one used because you don't know if it's been in a crash. There's nothing wrong with using the same one for siblings who are close in age, though. Or a recent hand-me-down from a friend if you know its history.
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ketchupqueen
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Yes, it's not that they're "one child" although they are considered "one use" (if they are in a crash, at least most crashes and most seats, they should be destroyed-- except the cover-- and not re-used.

Here is a checklist that should be used to determine whether a used seat is safe to use. (The list of expiration exceptions is out of date, though-- Peg Pereggo seats have a 5 year expiration, and the Safety 1st Uptown and Avenue and Sunshine Kids Radian seats also have 8 year expirations. The SafeGuard Child Seat and First Years True Fit have 7 year expirations. And the Ride Safer Travel Vest does not expire.)

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Sala
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Thanks for the info. I wouldn't have thought about any of this if it weren't for the article. Now, as my neices and nephews start having kids, I may need to get a car seat. [Smile]
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ketchupqueen
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Or, at some point, two or three (to accomodate different-sized kids.) [Smile] When you do, feel free to ask for recommendations! [Big Grin]
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theCrowsWife
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Just wanted to report that the pool noodle did the job, after much strenuous effort. I'm glad that's all done for now.

--Mel

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ketchupqueen
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Oh, good, I'm glad it worked for you!

I finished my CPST certification course today. I'm "legal." [Wink]

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Mama Squirrel
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Hey kq do you know anyone who can use an infant car seat? We have one that expires in December (right before we will need one). It has never been in an accident. It is a Graco (whichever one comes with the DuoGlider). We have an extra base for it as well.

Congrats on being "legal"!

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Christine
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Actually, now that you mention it, what do you do with old car seats? I see them at garage sales all the time but can't honestly say I'd feel comfortable selling one, since I wouldn't feel comfortable buying one. Can they be recycled or something? It feels like such a waste to toss our old infant carrier.
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Mama Squirrel
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Somewhere earlier in this thread kq says there are some places that recycle them. I haven't checked our area for one yet.
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ketchupqueen
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Mama, that's close enough to expiration I'd do one of two things; destroy/recycle it, or give it to someone you know personally who you KNOW will destroy it when it's expired (someone in your church, etc. who is maybe having a grandbaby and could use it?) Anyone who takes it needs to know that it expires soon and agree to destroy/dispose of it afterwards. I don't personally know anyone. The other thing you can do is donate it to your local Safe Kids for training/demonstration purposes, if they want it. [Smile]

Christine, it can be passed down to a family member or friend if it's not expired, never crashed, not damaged and straps never washed, has all its parts and instructions.

It can be donated to Safe Kids or your local CPST-I (the I is for "Instructor" and they teach the classes). If it has years left rather than just a few months, you can donate it to a local womens' crisis shelter (they always need safe, unexpired seats.)

If you can find a seat recycling program or a center that accepts them, you can recycle most of it. (You can often sell or give away the cover for an extra; covers don't expire.)

If none of those is an option, it should be destroyed.

To properly dispose of a carseat, the following is recommended:

Remove the cover. Cut all straps. Take a sledgehammer to the shell or at the very least write "UNSAFE, DO NOT USE" all over it in permanent marker (if a dark shell try a silver marker.) Dispose of it in a closed (preferably locked) dumpster (don't put it out on the street.) Do the same for the base (if any) in a separate dumpster. Dispose of the straps and other removed parts in a different dumpster. (If you like to re-use, tether and lower anchor LATCH straps make excellent cargo tie-downs; harness straps and covers can be used for many projects, I know someone who makes purses.)

The only part that can be kept and safely used past expiration (other than the aforementioned cover/shade if applicable) is the locking clip. You can keep it in case you ever need an extra, or you can give it to me (I'm starting to outfit my CPST "kit" and need locking clips. [Smile] )

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School4ever
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I took my son to the doctor and there was a woman there giving car seat information. I decided to present her with the same info I gave to KQ. I was very surprised when she said to keep him in the same five point harness until I could no longer force the buckles closed. I was quite disappointed in the advice, I was fully expecting her to give the same advice as was given to me here.
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ketchupqueen
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Oh dear.

Obviously she meant well, but was not well-informed.

If I personally had been given advice in conflict with the manufacturer's instructions, I would ask her a few things:

-Are you a CPST? (If so, ask her why she's advising to go against the manufacturer's instructions and what is taught in the nationally standardized curriculum, and report her to Safe Kids for giving bad advice. If not, on to the next question.)

-Where are you getting your information? (There are not a lot of sources out there that trump the manufacturer's instructions!)

-Are you aware that seats can be outgrown by height as well as weight (and usually are, since most kids hit the torso height limit on a seat before or around the same time as the weight limit?)

I look at misinformation as a chance to educate. (Otherwise it would drive me insane. [Wink] )

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scholarette
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I saw this link on my local newspaper page and though of ketchupqueen.
http://blogs.chron.com/babysteps/2009/05/boosters_seats_and_other_thing.html

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ketchupqueen
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I've been anxiously watching the progress of the TX booster law. As it stands right now TX has one of the most lax child occupant protection laws in the country. Coupled with a population half of whom don't seem to care even when given the information... This law would lead to some very positive changes if similar laws in other parts of the country are any indication, especially if it's actually enforced.

Right now, in TX, the law is 5 OR 36 inches. [Eek!] [Angst] 8 OR 4'9" would be a big improvement!

Now, if only we could get a new governor here in CA who wouldn't veto our booster law improvements.

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Brinestone
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It's time to buy Duplo a convertible car seat, I think. He's growing out of his Graco Snugride. There's the "cheap" range: $5580 or so, and then there are the expensive ones: $120 and up. There's this Graco, which is the only one that kids can stay rearfacing in up to 40 lbs.

The thing is, I probably won't want to be rear-facing a 4-year-old. I know, I know. I am all for extended rear-facing now that I know about it, but past four seems extreme to me. (Please don't try to convince me otherwise; I've done my research and made up my mind. My question isn't about this.)

My children are low in weight. Lego is over three years old and still under 30 lbs. I just don't think I'll need something that rear-faces past 35 lbs. for my children.

So is there any other advantage to the Graco that makes it worth $100 more than, say, this one?

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ketchupqueen
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One-- that particular seat is the only convertible left on the market (other than ones for institutional distribution only) that does not have EPS or EPP foam. That's the stuff in bicycle helmets; it helps absorb and dissipate the energy of the child's head hitting the seat in a crash. I consider it a fairly important feature. Is the Scenera safe without it? Yes, it meets minimum standards. Would I use a Scenera? Yes, and have, as a backup, rear-facing.

Oh, the other thing is that the Scenera has really low straps and shell for its weight limit. Most kids don't make it to 40 lbs. in it. Especially skinnier and/or longer-torsoed kids. Maggie outgrew it rear- and forward-facing at the same time-- at 9 months old (she had, at that point, a torso as long as the average 2 1/2 year old.)

However, the Graco MyRide (the new 40 lb. seat) has a low shell for its weight limit. Few normal-to-skinny kids will make it to 40 lbs. rear-facing by height in that seat anyway. (FTR, I won't try to convince you to rear-face until 4. I would personally rear-face to 5 if I could, but I can't. Tall kids. [Wink] I will tell you that the most benefit to rear-facing is seen until age 2, and especially for smaller children, and would encourage you to rear-face at least until 2 or so. 3 is an even better age-- has to do with body proportions and skeletal development, but I know not all parents are up for that.)

If you have kids on the skinny side, I would encourage you to look for a seat with a taller shell than the Scenera and one that has EPS/EPP foam as features that might be valuable to you.

The Avenue (only available at KMart and Sears) might be a good one to look at. It's very similar to the Scenera, but has EPP foam, a taller shell, and top slots that will take most kids all the way to its limit 40 lbs. (not quite all, but most.)

The Evenflo Triumph Advance (prices start at around $120, depending on trim level) may be another option to look at.

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ketchupqueen
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Just because I haven't given new information on this thread in a while, thought I'd mention-- the Sunshine Kids Radians (all models, manufacture dates 9/1/08 and later) have been retroactively rated to 40 lbs. rear-facing in the US. Dorel has also released a new seat, the Safety 1st Complete Air, that rear-faces to 40 lbs. (and has a really super-tall shell, and allows rear-facing use to the top of the shell rather than one inch below like other seats, making it the tallest rear-facing seat on the market as well.)
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DDDaysh
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Well KQ, Texas did pass our law. It goes into effect next week, but I must say that I'm finding it quite annoying! I also find it somewhat silly because they STILL haven't done anything about people sticking 12 kids in the back of a pickup when they pick them up from school....

My main problem with it is that the law doesn't give any thought to the purpose of booster seats. Booster seats are there, primarily, to position a seat belt so that it fits a child correctly. This is all well and good. My son uses a booster in my car, and I have extra boosters on hand with my parents so that he can use it in their vehicles most of the time. HOWEVER, my parents both have SUV's with a really TINY third seat. My sons knees already bend in the correct spots on those seats, and the seat belts are positioned so low that they already hit him in the correct spot when he sits there. When our whole family is trying to carpool to destinations, my son is often relegated to the third seat in order to fit everyone in one vehicle. Trying to put him in a booster seat back there is just ridiculous! The booster doesn't really fit, so I feel like he's less safe in the booster than he is just sitting on the normal seat.

Oh well... I guess we'll just carpool less often now.

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ketchupqueen
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DDDaysh, there is evidence from at least one study that until kids hit puberty, they can benefit from the additional protection of a booster even if the belt is positioned properly without it. I can try to dig it up if you'd like.

In the mean time, there may be a solution to find a restraint that fits better back there. How does the booster not fit him when he's in that seat? What kind of booster are you using?

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ludosti
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Cool! Woot! Kids has the First Years True Fit seat for $99 today!
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lobo
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Why do car seats expire but seat belts don't?
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TomDavidson
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They're made of cheese.
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Mama Squirrel
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quote:
Originally posted by ludosti:
Cool! Woot! Kids has the First Years True Fit seat for $99 today!

Yep! We saw this before going to bed last night and got one.
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ketchupqueen
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I missed it. [Frown]

Car seats expire for many reasons. Seatbelts don't expire, per se, but their fibers do degrade as a car seat harness would (they just generally aren't exposed to as much mess as car seat harnesses...) They are also a "one use" item. If a seatbelt is in use during a crash (holding a person or carseat or something else, I guess, in) it should be replaced. If seatbelts are 10 years old, they should be carefully inspected several times a year, at least one time being by someone who knows exactly what to look for (like a mechanic with experience with seatbelts) and if they are over 15 years old, you should consider replacing them. I personally won't use seatbelts over 20 years old unless I have no choice whatsoever (other than no seatbelt at all) and sometimes ones not that old just don't look safe to me. A seatbelt with a broken retractor or with any rips, frays, or cuts of any length should not be used. Crash testing has shown that a 1/4 mm cut in a seatbelt can cause catastrophic failure and injury to an occupant.

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Minerva
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How dangerous is leaving a coat on, given that the straps are tightened to the point that the coat is compressed? In my case, it would be an rear-facing infant in a bucket SS1.

I understand that there is anecdotal evidence, such as cases of infants being ejected from the seats. But were those situations in which the straps were not tight enough to compress to coat?

Is there any data on how much more dangerous it actually is?

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dkw
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Put the child in the seat with the coat and tighten the straps. Then, without loosening, unfasten the straps and take the coat off. Put the child back in and refasten. If there's any slack in the straps, then the coat is too bulky to safely wear. If the straps are pulled as tight as they would be without the coat, it's safe to wear.

I made both of my kids carseat capes -- There're double-layer fleece ponchos with hoods. When we set the kids in the seat we lift the poncho up in back and fasten the harness underneath it. The kids love them because once the car warms up they can pull the cape off altogether. They're also great if the kids fall asleep in the car coming home at night -- instead of pulling the cape back on we just wrap the kid up in it like a blanket -- much easier to put them to bed without waking them up.

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Sala
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dkw, what a great idea! I've never heard of that (not being a mom), but that's something that would be terrific to make as a baby present.
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dkw
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They aren't really necessary if you're using a carrier-type infant seat. You can strap the baby in in the house and put blankets over them so they don't need a coat. But they're great once the kid is in a permenantly installed seat.
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Minerva
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Those capes are great.

I'm wondering whether it really is that much more dangerous to put a kid in a seat with a coat, however. It's taken for granted that one should simply not do it, and I'm wondering if the advice should be just to ensure that the straps are tight enough to compress the coat.

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ketchupqueen
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It's more dangerous. The problem is that human strength is often inadequate to fully compress the coat to the amount that will happen in a crash.

I've seen pictures of an infant seat with a puffy snow suit still buckled in tightly.

Baby was ejected. [Frown]

If you want to use a coat in the car, my advice is (if it doesn't pass the test dkw described, where you take the coat off, and if you don't need to tighten to get a tight fit-- tight fit meaning you can't pinch any slack checking at the shoulders, your fingers slip off-- you don't use that coat) to use the "coat trick" where you unzip the coat, fasten the harness after pulling the coat out the sides, and then re-zip over the harness.

Here is a post with pictures on the coat trick. Here's one on how to check for proper harness tightness.

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