As I wrote about over the weekend, we were rear-ended last week. Both boys were in the backseat in their car seats – a Britax Marathon for our 3.5-year-old and a Britax Roundabout for our 2-year-old. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that car seats be replaced after a moderate or severe crash, but states replacement is not necessary if the crash was minor. It defines a minor car crash as one that meets all of the following criteria:
- The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
- The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged.
- There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants.
- The air bags (if present) did not deploy.
- There is no visible damage to the safety seat.
The accident we were in does fit the criteria, but probably just barely. The back of the car is so badly damaged that I think we were only a few miles per hour from damage to the rear doors. So we’ll be replacing the boys’ seats.
Fortunately, our insurance will pay for it. That doesn’t mean I won’t hunt for bargains, though, especially since I am going to try to get them to pay for an upgraded seat for our younger son, because I just haven’t been thrilled with the Roundabout. (My biggest complaints are that it’s harder to install and the back is lower.)
However, instead of getting two Marathons, I am thinking about getting two Regents. I’d love to hear from anyone who has a Regent, because I’m just not sure the boys are ready for it.
In doing some research, I’ve come across quite a bit of food for thought. For instance, a friend who has a Regent pointed out that the Regent sits lower, making it harder for the child to see out the window. So I’m going to take the boys to try out the seat in her car, but it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for our younger son, especially – at least not yet.
The same friend also reports that a friend of hers cautioned against using five-point harnesses with boys older over the age of four because they can be harmful to the genital region. I was skeptical, and couldn’t find anything about that in a couple of Google searches, so I called our pediatrician’s office. The doctor is out until the end of the week, but I got my favorite nurse on the phone. She didn’t know anything about it and couldn’t find anything about it while we talked. She did, however, point out that if it was a common problem, the doctors would be aware of it and warning parents about it. I even called the NHTSA hotline (888-327-4236) and was assured that there is no such problem. So I’m calling this one an urban legend.
Another thing I learned is that LATCH anchor weight limits vary by car but are usually around 40 pounds. The car seat then needs to be installed with the car’s seat belt. The tether should be used regardless of the installation method. So that’s something else to keep in mind.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), it’s going to take two to three weeks for the car to be repaired. So I’ve actually got some time to think about this.
Image credit: Britax Regent Youth Car Seat at Amazon.com.