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New Seat Belt Laws in 2007

Thanks to folks everyone who encouraged us to update our info, since New Seat Belt Laws in 2006 will soon be dated. As of Sunday, New Seat Belt Laws apply:

CHILD RESTRAINT LAW: (effective July 1, 2007) Child passengers must be restrained in approved child safety seats until they weigh forty pounds. Infants must ride rear-facing until they reach both one year of age AND twenty pounds.

BOOSTER SEAT LAW: (effective July 1, 2007) Children over forty pounds must use boosters to 4'9" tall unless they have reached age eight.

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Has anyone else purchased a Combi Dakota Booster ( http://www.combi-intl.com/ )? I bought one at Costco for my almost four year-old, but haven't installed it yet. She is 41" tall and 31 lbs. The booster (used with a lap/shoulder belt) holds 33-100 lbs, and is recommended for children 33"-57" tall. It seems very minimal, but maybe it's because I'm used to seeing her in the big Britax Roundabout seat. Thoughts? In the blink of an eye, my girls are almost four (next month) and one (next week.) Where did the time go?! Sigh...Anyway, looking forward to any feedback on the booster. Thanks!

Now I'm not a CPS tech, so you may want to check with someone official, but the way I read it, the new Oregon law would require that a 31 lb kid of any age would have to be in a harnessed safety seat - *not* a seat-belt positioning booster - until they hit 40 lbs. (Plus she's not quite at the lower weight limit on the Dakota yet!)

Not to mention, the longer you keep them in a 5 point harness, the safer they are (http://www.elitecarseats.com/New-on-ECS/5-point-harness/index.cat)

The Roundabout is good to 40 lbs - are her shoulders above the top harness slots or are her the middle of her ears meeting the top of the seat? At 41", she might be getting too tall for that seat, but if not, I would keep her in that seat for awhile yet. If she's too tall, I'd look for a high-backed combination booster seat that uses 5 point harness straps to 40 lbs and switches to use the shoulder belts after that.

*With all that said, I should mention that we do have a backless booster, much like the Dakota, that we use for travel when we know we're not going to be in a car much, for use in airport shuttles or taxis. And I keep it in the back of the car to use for bringing impromptu playdates home from preschool. But it's definitely not something we're ready to switch to for primary use yet. My 4 yr old is also 41" tall and 35 lbs and will be in his Britax Marathon for some time to come.

There are also a few 5-point harness seats that are made by Britax (and others?) that go to 60 or 80 pounds.

The Regent goes to 80 pounds:
http://www.britaxusa.net/products/360_regent.aspx
It is quite wide and can't go on the airplane. We have the previous version of this, the Husky.

There are also 3 other models that go up to 65 pounds, which you can see from that link as well.

Make sure to test the different seats before you buy. We tried to get one of the combo booster seats that jj mentioned, but the highest strap slot was not that much higher then those of the Roundabout, so you'll probably outgrow those straps before reaching 40 pounds as well.

We really like our Compass Booster:
http://www.compassbaby.com/product_B500.html

Hi Liz and JJ. Thanks so much for your feedback. As an FYI, I wanted to pass along the message I got from the CPS coordinator (nothing we didn't already know, but it was nice to get a response nonetheless.):

Hi there Hayley:
The best practice is to have children in a 5 point harness to 40 pounds. It is really awful that these boosters list a minimum weight of less than 40 #'s because it tends to lead parents to take their child out of the 5 point harness too soon.

I would check the maximum height of your round about and keep her in it until she is over those maximums.

Thank you for the great question and please either email me or call us if you have further questions!!

Gayle Watts/CPS Program Coordinator
Child Safety Seat Resource Center/ACTS Oregon
The Mission of ACTS Oregon is to reduce fatalities, injuries and crashes throughout Oregon.
503-643-5620 or 1-800-772-1315

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