Things to Consider Before You Buy A Car Seat | Diono US

Before You Buy

Becoming a parent is a big deal. Learn some of the details to consider before you purchase a car seat.

Vehicle Compatibility

Diono convertible car seats fit in many cars, but we cannot guarantee a correct fit in 100% of the cars on the market. No car seat fits every vehicle on the market. The best way to figure out if the car seat will fit is to try before you buy. Most retail stores will allow you to take the car seat out to your car and see if it is compatible. You can also take a look at measurements of the Diono Convertibles to assist your assessment. Measurements can be found on each of the product pages on the Diono website.

As of September 2016, Diono has approved the use of all current models of Diono convertible car seats and booster seats with Ford Motor Company’s Inflatable Seat Belts. This allowance is retroactive to previous Radian convertible and Monterey booster models.

 

Are there any cars in which a Diono car seat can’t be installed?

Generally all Diono convertible seats install exceptionally well in most vehicles. There is not one car seat on the market that can fit properly in every single car. There are particular challenges with seat belts buckles that lean forward and are rigid. Sometimes the belt webbing pinches and does not allow for the belt to tighten further, resulting in a loose and incorrect install. It has been our experience that this is a compatibility issue with the vehicle and we would not recommend using our car seat in a seating position with this type of seat belt buckle. Look carefully, there might be another seating option in your vehicle, as there can be up to five different types of belt configurations in one vehicle.

3 Across

Radian Convertible car seats fit three across in most midsize vehicles. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 51” from door armrest to door armrest. You can take a look at the hip measurement of your particular vehicle. Using the seat belt, instead of LATCH, for all three car seats allows more flexibility to fit the three seats side by side. Install the center seat first and then the outboards.

Rainier, Pacifica and Olympia models feature extra deep side walls and still offer a space-saving design, as their bottom portion is narrow. With the addition of the deeper sidewalls, the top of the seat is wider than the radian rXT by 1.5?. The seats offer a space saving design that allows for a passenger to comfortably ride between two installed seats or for 2 adults to sit comfortably with a car seat installed in the center. Three across can only possibly be achieved if the vehicle has over 54? of room side to side.

Cambria and Monterey booster seats are designed to accommodate growing children and have a wider seat base, therefore they cannot fit three across in most vehicles.

Proper Fit

Will my child fit in Diono convertible seats to the maximum height and weight?

All car seats are designed with a 50th percentile child in mind and tested with the same size child test dummies. Pediatric growth charts are used when test dummies are designed and manufactured. Anthropomorphic test dummies (ATDs) are not designed by car seat manufacturers. Therefore, our testing matrixes are limited to certain size test dummies to use for testing. Since these specific ATDs fit our car seats, weight and heights are determined based on these specific test dummies. Children grow at different rates, shapes and sizes. Your child may or may not be able to use the seat up to the maximum height and weight limits. We typically see children outgrow the seats by height, not weight.

Side-Impact Protection

Read all about it in our blog post, May the Force Not Be With You. The article goes in depth about the extreme forces occurring at all points of contact between a person and their vehicle seat. If occupants are not snug, this will add to the “G” forces that their vulnerable bodies will have to absorb, as they move still further until they reach the restraints. The resulting impact forces and whipping action can produce severe trauma to a child’s head and neck, resulting in far more serious harm to a baby or child than from front or rear end collisions. Most automobile accidents are from front or rear end collisions, however side impact crashes are typically the most deadly for children. Statistics from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the U.S. show that side impact crashes represent approximately 25% of all motor vehicle accidents.

Unfortunately they result in some of the most severe injuries and mortality rates, and the most vulnerable are children.
Diono developed side impact protection for its car seats by creating a rigorous testing protocol that simulates side impact crashes.

The seats were evaluated on how well they contain the head, and reducing chest and pelvis acceleration. Testing was repeatedly performed in multiple facilities both in the US and in Europe. Diono Convertible+Booster car seats feature deep, reinforced sidewalls that extend straight forward and are lined with thick, energy absorbing foam. Sidewalls must have proper size, shape and strength in order to contain a child, provide protection and absorb side impact forces.

Head Wings vs No Head Wings

While there are currently no side impact standards that any car seat manufacturer must meet, having a car seat with additional internal head wings, with a strong structure and energy absorbing foam like the radian rXT and rainier, does provide more protection for a child’s head.

It is important for a child’s head to stay contained within the shell of the car seat during a side impact collision. Having the head stay in line with the neck and spinal column is also beneficial and therefore, having the head wings help in this case. Keep in mind though, most side impact crashes have more of a frontal component to them, thus pushing an occupants head more forward and then to the side during such a collision.

Some children may have a hard time adjusting to head wings. They can interfere with their peripheral vision or make a child uncomfortable with material so close to their face. Our radian r100 and r120 all-in-one convertible car seats without internal head wings still provide side impact protection. The side walls of the seats are expansive and deep enough to contain the head in a side impact crash.

The majority of crashes are frontal collisions. Side impact can occur on either side of the vehicle. Statistics show almost an equal amount happen on each side. One side is not safer than the other. Center position provides more protection as it keeps an occupant further from an intruding car or object.

Expiration Dates

Most car seats on the market have between a 6-8 year expiration dates. Car seats expire due to various factors. Mostly, the manufacturer has tested the seats for extreme cold and hot conditions to determine how long the lifespan of the seat is before it degrades and is still able to perform properly in a crash. Secondly, like any new technology, car seat manufacturers are always improving their seats and want you to take advantage of any new safety advancements.

Diono Convertible+Booster car seats are ahead of the curve, made with a fully integrated steel frame which is riveted together with thicker engineered plastic to withstand severe crash forces.

Diono Radian models expire 10 years from date of purchase and approved for the use of harness mode for 8 years and up to 10 years in booster mode.

Diono Rainier, Pacifica and Olympia expire 10 years from date of purchase and approved for the use of harness mode for 8 years and up to 10 years in booster mode.

The Monterey booster has an 8 year product life.

Special Needs

If your child has special health care needs, whether they are physical or behavioral, a conventional car seat like Diono’s line of car seats may be suitable for your situation. First, it is important to consult with your child’s doctor, occupational therapist and/or physical therapist to determine their needs. Next, take a look at conventional car seats on the market to see if there are compatibility features for your child to be safely secured in the seat. Diono Convertible+Booster car seats accommodate high rear-facing and forward-facing harness weights. They are also designed with memory foam for superior comfort. Our seats tend to be ideal for all children who come in many shapes, sizes and smiles!

We also manufacture a special needs high back booster for R82. It is called the Pilot. Click here for more information.

Use of Diono car seats for non-standard use.