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Booster and high back booster question, AND LATCH question


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I have a car seat and booster seat issue.


Daughter will be 6 yrs old in Sept. She starts kinder in August. Apparently, the other kinder parents are buying boosters now because in the car drop off line, the kids are supposed to be able to get out by themselves and kids generally cannot unhook themselves from the 5 point belts. She is only just over 36 pounds. 


Also, I am confused about the Latch thing on boosters. Do they make the booster extra safe? Or or they just more "bells and whistles?"


The question is..should I switch her to a high back booster? She cries in her Radian, insisting it hurts her around the neck and is too tight. But I want her in the safest option.

Edited by Janeway
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The lower anchors on a booster are supposed to keep the seat in place, reducing the forward movement of the child (since the booster adds anywhere from 5-26lbs of weight, translating that to force on the seatbelt. ) I am not sure if it is safer, because the child still moves into and out of the seat, which has its own issues.  Ours uses both the lower anchors and the tether because it's more than 20lbs of a steel frame.  But I use that over, say, an Evenflo which has a plastic only shell because it also keeps the shoulder belt and lap belt on the child better in crash tests, reducing the movement of the child into and out of the seat.


That said, there are very few boosters on the market that are in the "poor" category on fit and ease of use.  Most have the fixed belt guides (like the Safety 1st 3-in-1 seat sold at Sears and the like.  It makes it hard to get a good, constant fit.  All boosters are crash tested.


I don't know what I would do in your place.  I moved my son to a booster at 6yo, out of necessity.  I will say that with recessed seatbelt buckles the 5pt is easier for him to get into, but the booster easier to get out of.

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One safety advantage to Latch is that the booster is attached when she's not in it.  


A booster can become a projectile in a crash, so it's better to buckle them in when they're empty.  However, in a carpool line a kindergartener may have difficulty buckling their seat in after they get out.  Latch removes that step.  


I'd want to change a child who was crying from discomfort in their seat, anyway, so I would consider moving her at this point. 

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We've used Diono car seats, too. Isn't the Radian the one that converts to a booster if you unthread the straps? Is it the 5-point harness straps that are uncomfortable? Are they adjusted up enough? We've got the Diono high back booster (Monterey, I think), and as best I can tell it's the same basic frame without the threading for the harness. My 8 year old, who is quite large for her age and over 80 lbs, still fits into the Monterey so I'm not sure what part of the radian would be hurting her shoulders if everything is adjusted properly.


As for the latch, we love it because it keeps the seat from sliding around - all the kid has to do is buckle them selves in, and we don't have to worry about whether the booster is correctly fitted to the seat.


That being said, both of my kids were able to let themselves out of the 5-pt harness during the preschool years.

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