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Adaptive Car Seat, Supersized

February 27, 2012

Today, a show-and-tell on Joy’s new adaptive car seat. The seat on the right is the seat she just outgrew–a standard off-the-shelf seat purchased at Target when she came home from Korea. The seat on the left is a SnugSeat Traveller EL branded Britax.

Notice she is moving from the highest harness position on her old seat into the lowest harness position on the new seat. At her current rate of growth the new seat will fit her until she’s about seventeen.

We did not supersize this seat by choice. We purchased it because there are very few choices for kids over 36 inches tall who need a reclining bucket-style seat.

Joy has low trunk tone and can sit upright for short distances in her wheelchair, in a vehicle with tie downs, wearing a vest to hold up her upper body when she fatigues –like she does on the school bus ride home from school. But we don’t want her worn out from sitting up on the way to therapy or church or school. For that, she needs a seat with recline so she does not have to work to sit up.

We chose the SnugSeat Traveller after a visit with an occupational therapist at Gillette (our local children’s hospital), who helped us try out several seat options for Joy. The OT wrote a letter of medical necessity. We knew our insurance would deny it as uncovered “transportation options.” But that’s how the game is played. MA is secondary insurance for Joy and we knew MA would pay for the seat –after our private insurance turned it down.

We started the process in September and took delivery in February–which is comparatively fast. That’s another thing you get used to about the system: thinking out ahead of what you need today because getting the next thing may take a while.

This seat has some really nice options. Like these removable foam bolsters fastened with an elastic loop for easy removal as Joy grows.

It also comes with this seat extension that adds depth so her legs won’t dangle as she grows. (The extension snaps into the shell under the upholstery.)

It is only one inch wider than her old seat. But as you can tell from the top photo, it is much deeper, even without the seat extension. In our Toyota Sienna minivan, Joy’s new seat is mounted on the bucket seat behind the driver and her shoe tips now touch the driver’s seat. She’s not a kicker. But that would be an issue if she was. In our next van,we’ll have to try to find and adjustable second row of seats to give her leg-room as she grows.

It comes standard with an abduction wedge, which is easily removable if you don’t need it. It also has a very nice butterfly-shaped head support pillow  which I removed before I got out the camera.

The harness is easy to manipulate, even with my less than average hand strength. I like how the buckle  in nestled inside an upholstered cover that does not obstruct operation, but will protect her bare skin from the hot buckle in warm months. The Velcro flap beneath the abduction wedge covers the expected quick-adjust mechanism for the harness.

For safety it comes with two attached tether latches (the second one to be used when she weighs more than 60lbs.) and a handy attached pouch to store the unused tether inside.

Oh. And if like me, you are about to look up the 1-800 number to report that your seat was delivered without an instruction manual, flip the seat over and notice the manual niftily stored away beneath the seat where you’ll never lose it (and where I almost didn’t find it).

The coast of this super-sized Gingersnap beauty? That’s a subject for another post.

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