Saturday, November 27, 2010

More adventures in retrofitting tether anchors

I posted in August about trying to get tether anchors retrofitted in my mother's 1999 Ford Escort Wagon. It originally began in April. There are still no tether anchors in my Mom's car. We went for our 3rd appointment last week. I found 1 of the holes in the ceiling, where the center tether anchors is supposed to be installed. That's all I needed really, just 1. We went to the dealership, only to find out they would NOT install the anchors correctly for us. Ford told them the ceiling isn't string enough. Yet my LATCH Manual (in which the authors spoke with engineers from all manufacturers), and the vehicle owner's manual say they belong in the ceiling. I have pictures from someone else that had her installed, in the ceiling. They still refused to do it, so I simply had them take them off the floor, since I know that's not where they belong.

I stuck 1 into the hole I found in the ceiling, and tightened it just enough so it doesn't fall out. All I need to do is find out from Ford how many pounds of torque are needed. I've called Ford Corporate, and left a message. I've also emailed one of the authors of the LATCH Manual, and she will check with her Ford contact.

So, I started in April, thinking we'd have plenty of time to get them installed before Sofi could ride forward facing, after she turned 4 in September. It's now Novemeber, and Sofi continues to ride rear facing in my Mom's car.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Do you have your screws?

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Do you have a Graco Turbobooster? For years, the Graco Turbobooster has come partially unassembled. You buy it, you have to put on the arm rests, then put in the screws. Many parents skip the screws. Why? Maybe because many parents don't read the manual, and the screws come attached to that. Maybe because they think the screws aren't really necessary. The newer TurboBoosters that are being sold have the screws pre-installed, but there are still some TurboBoosters being sold (such as the High Back Turbos or older ones that have not been sold yet) that do not have them installed. Or, you may already own a TurboBooster. Either way, be sure you have those screws in so your children can be riding safely!

If you're thinking to yourself, "What screws???" Check out the pictures below.

This is the baggy that came with your Turbobooster. It contains the instruction manual, the shoulder belt positioner, and a bag of 2 screws.
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This is what the side of the TurboBooster looks like if there are not any screws installed in the armrest
 photo TBScrews4.jpg
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This is what it should look like with the screws installed.
 photo TBScrews2.jpg
 photo TBScrews1.jpg

Why are the screws so important?

Graco is very insistent on having the screws installed. While we do not know the exact reasoning that the screws are required, there have been some theories tossed around. Please note that these are only theories. One theory is that, upon impact, the incredible strength of the crash forces may cause the armrests to detach from the booster. This poses a problem because the armrests are what act as a child's hip bones. If the armrests are not acting as the hip bones, the seat belt may slide up onto the child's soft tummy, where it can severely damage, injure, crush, or cut internal organs. Or, perhaps the seat failed testing without the screws installed, or maybe it was not tested at all and we just do not know what will happen. If it has not been tested without the screws, then I am not willing to use my child as the crash test dummy to find what out WILL happen.

Either way, we do not know exactly why the screws must be installed -- All we know is that Graco requires it, and they absolutely forbid the use of the TurboBooster without the screws properly installed.

My TurboBooster doesn't have screws! What do I do?

If you do not have the screws installed and you have lost them, I recommend calling Graco (800-345-4109 (US) and 800-667-8184 (Canada) ) or go to Graco's website -- the Replacement Parts search and put in your Model Number and Date of Manufacture and underneath the option, "Height adjustment screw for armrest (1 of 2)", click on two (you need two screws for each seat) and they will send you free screws -- free shipping and everything. They should arrive within a week or two, depending on your location.

I do not recommend going to a store and buying screws -- You need to be able to ensure that you are using the correct screw. There are many different shapes, sizes, and lengths. Ordering (for free!) directly from Graco is the best way to ensure that you have the correct screw, and you will know your seat will function properly.

The Date of Manufacture, Model Number, and Serial Number (if required) can be found on the bottom of your booster seat, on a white sticker.

*This was taken directly from a post at, and used with permission of the original poster*