Shield/Tray Booster

We’ve been meaning to share this on here for a while yet.

This is a video showing a roll-over accident with a car seat where the child is forward facing, in a booster seat that has a “shield or tray” placed across the child’s abdomen over which the vehicle belt is placed. This acts to then push the tray in towards the child’s body, which in itself sounds good but then raises concerns in two areas.

1. The tray is pressure mounted, the belt has to firstly be tight enough to keep the tray in place at all times, and secondly seat belts are designed to lock under force, or when full extended then retracted. This could cause the belt to lock and further pull the tray into the child forcing internal organs to shift due to intense pressure on them.

2. The upper part of the child’s torso remains unrestrained. Unlike in booster mode with only the seat belt, the sash portion of the seat belt keeps the child’s upper body in place and acts to keep the top of the body in the seat, where the lap part of the belt is used to keep the lower body in place.

In an accident, especially a roll over, the child, if petite in build, could slide right out, what’s stopping them? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
As you can see in this video link – External Link –  [This link was in English, however days after it was bought to Mountain Buggy's attention, the video went incognito].

This is, however, the same video with the voice over in Spanish.

What scares us most is that the roll over tests conducted on these seats are in no way reflective of a real world roll over test. Sure its slow enough that they can see each part of the process as it goes, but it does not apply real world forces that would pretty much eject the child right out of the seat (as the video shows).

America used to sell these seats, well over 10 years ago, however they choose to ban the sale of tray shields on booster seats when a large number of children were presenting with head injuries, when striking the tray, and multiple internal organ damage from being slammed into the tray during an impact.

“Children are at nearly eight times higher risk of serious injury when riding in these seats, a new study shows.” [2004, WebMD Health News]

While the seat appears to offer great side impact protection, the tray is questionable. If you do find yourself ending up with one of these seats, or a friend of yours has one, talk yourself/them out of using the seat with the tray and use it with just the seat belt. Booster seats have always been used with a full lap/sash seat belt, there’s no reason to use harnesses or trays, they do not offer greater protection to your child.

If the child is small enough to need the tray, they’re small enough to remain in a harnessed car seat, and with what you pay for these style of seats you can in fact get your child a car seat that will keep them in the harness longer, and keep your piece of mind stable.

Link to UK ECE.04 Testing Requirements:

American Shield Booster: [PDF File] (overhead trays are just as bad and no longer sold after 2009 when a rouge batch appeared for sale).