I probably should have addressed this post to my husband. The more accurate title might be: Dear Hubby, Here’s why I refuse to swap our youngest over to a booster seat.
See my youngest child is now six and over the past few months it’s become increasingly obvious that her carseat was no longer the right fit for her. It had also expired, which is a big no no. However I held off on looking for a new seat because my husband and I couldn’t agree on what the next step should be.
According to the Ministry of Transportation:
You need to use a forward-facing child car seat until your child weighs at least 18 kilograms (40 lb.).
You need to use a booster seat if your child:
is under the age of eight
weighs between 18 and 36 kg (40-80 lb.)
is less than 145 cm (4 feet-9 inches) tall.
My husband wanted to move our daughter on to a booster seat. A booster seat is so much easier to get in and out of. It’s a heck of a lot easier than leaning into the van and fussing with a fidgeting kid and trying to get everything latched just so while your posterior hangs out in the rain. I get it. It’s also easier to move a booster seat from one spot in the vehicle to another. Which means less fuss when we need to take the seats out to haul something big in the back of the van, or if we need space for more adult-sized passengers.
Okay, I understand some of you might be siding with hubby at this point, but keep in mind the Transport Canada website says:
Keep your child in the forward-facing seat until he or she grows out of it. A forward-facing car seat spreads the force of a sudden stop or crash over the strongest parts of your child’s body. Your car seat user guide will tell you the weight and height limits of a child for that car seat. If your child grows out of their forward-facing seat before they are ready for a booster, there may be another forward-facing seat that fits your child. There are forward-facing car seats that are made for children up to 30 kg (65 lbs)!
So while our daughter did hit all of the legal requirements for being in a booster (ie, she weighs over 40lbs) I still wanted her in the safer five-point harness style seat. Convenience doesn’t matter when we’re talking about keeping our kids safe. I will gladly be the one standing out in the rain, or the freezing cold, or what have you, for a few extra minutes so I can buckle my kid into a harness-style seat and keep her safe.
Even if your child weighs more than 18 kg (40 lbs) and your provincial/territorial law says you can use a booster seat, your child is safer in the forward-facing car seat as long as he or she is still below the car seat’s weight and height limits and fits in the car seat correctly. – Transport Canada
It also has to do with the maturity level of the child. With kid number one I felt more comfortable with moving her to a booster seat because I trusted her to sit properly, stay seated, and not mess around with her seat belt while we’re driving.
Pretty much the instant that Rainbow hit the height and weight requirements for a booster seat we moved her over. I actually feel a bit guilty that I moved her over to a booster as quickly as a I did. I mean, it’s turned out fine thus far. She is really responsible about sitting properly, and well, we haven’t been in an accident, so we haven’t had to test just how safe she is, thank goodness. But if I had known then what I know now I likely would have argued for keeping her in a harness seat.
See, look again at that bit from Transport Canada that talks about how much safer a child is while in a forward-facing car seat. “If your child grows out of their forward-facing seat before they are ready for a booster, there may be another forward-facing seat that fits your child. There are forward-facing car seats that are made for children up to 30 kg (65 lbs)!”
Wait. Stop the press. They make forward facing five-point harness system car seats for big kids?? I didn’t know that. When our eldest kid, Rainbow, started to be too big for her old seat I thought moving her on to a booster was the only option. I figured all child-sized car seats were roughly the same for height and weight limits, and would fit my kid from baby-sized to almost-big-kid sized, until she was ready to swap to a booster.
Rocket isn’t like her big sister, Rainbow. Rocket doesn’t sit still, ever. I can’t trust her to keep her seat belt done up and to remain with her butt firmly planted on the seat. She would be leaning forward and trying to reach things. Her shoe would fall off. She would slip out of the belt to try and get her shoe up from the ground, or that paper she saw over there, or for a better view out the window. I know my kid. She’s trouble.
Rocket is tall for her age, and she’s a fidget machine. When she started to outgrow her seat I looked online to double check those legal age, height and weight requirements for moving on to a booster seat. I ended up on the Transport Canada website and I noticed that line about forward facing seats with bigger height and weight restrictions, and I decided I wanted to shop around and look at getting her another five-point harness seat, instead of transforming her current chair into a booster.
And then fate stepped in because it was at this point that I received an email from Diono asking me if I would like to review their RadianRXT Convertible+Booster Car Seat. I quickly took a look at their website and discovered that not only was the seat big enough for my girl, it was actually designed to keep children forward-facing longer.
Key Features of the Diono RadianRXT Convertible+Booster Car Seat:
- Comfortably seats rear-facing children from 5-45 lbs, forward-facing children from 20 – 80 lbs (!!) in a 5-point harness, then converts to a booster for children up to 120 lbs.
- Booster mode from 50 – 120 lbs (40 to 57 inches)
- Full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides for unmatched safety
- NCAP crash tested, the industry benchmark for verifying child seat performance in severe accident conditions
- Unique SuperLATCH system that makes installation easy
- It also fits 3 across in most mid-size vehicles, folds flat for travel and is FAA certified.
My daughter is in love with her new car seat. It fits her incredibly well, and she assures me it is far comfier than her old seat. I am loving how quick and easy I find the buckles to do up (which means less time hanging my rear half out into the elements, thank you very much). But mostly I love the feeling of knowing my child is as safe and comfy as I can make her.
One happy big kid testing out her new car seat.
In closing, here are Six Great Reasons Why You Want to Leave Your Kid in a Forward Facing Car Seat For As Long As Possible:
- It’s safer.
- No really, it’s safer.
- The Ministry of Transport recommends it (a.k.a it’s safer).
- Transport Canada recommends it (a.k.a. it’s safer)!
- Because you know your child, and sometimes being tall enough isn’t the same as being mature enough to sit still and be safe in the less restrictive seat belt plus booster set-up (a.k.a it’s safer).
- Because you can. There are car seats out there, like the Diono RadianRXT, which will fit kids up to 65lbs and beyond!
What do you think? Am I nuts for wanting to keep her in a five-point harness for as long as possible (hint: hubby thinks the answer to this is yes)? At what point did your kid (or will your kid) move into a booster seat?
Disclosure: I was provided with a Diono RadianRXT for review purposes. As always my opinions and words are my own.