03 April 2007

Mighty Tite keeps car seats secure

Mighty Tite[UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments on this post; several parents suggest the Mighty Tite can actually overtighten the seat belt and be unsafe. -- Ed.]

There was a time when I could never seem to get my son's car seat fastened securely in any car that wasn't my own. This was in the days pre-LATCH, when all we had was the shoulder belt, the locking clip, and a prayer. (Those days are gone; my daughter rides in a Britax Marathon fastened with LATCH connectors and a tether, and the thing doesn't budge.)

If you're still driving an older car without LATCH connectors, consider further securing your child's car seat with a Mighty Tite. This ratchet-like device goes on quickly and tightens then locks the shoulder belt in place -- and the resulting fit is solid as a rock. I had the opportunity to watch the Mighty Tite in action (my cousin Hayley won't go anywhere without it) and I was mighty impressed.

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The Mighty-Tite is also great even if you have a LATCH system.

Whenever we had to remove and reinstall our car seat we never could get it tight, it always seemed the angle was just wrong to be able to get things tightened up properly. What I ended up doing was hooking everything up and then putting the seatbelt on the empty seat and using the Mighty-Tite to ratchet it down tight, then simply grab the free end of the tether and tighten it up. Then unbuckle the belt and remove the Mighty-Tite and the seat stays firmly put.

We love Mighty Tite for travel. It makes installing a carseat in a cab (or MIL's SUV) at airport curbside a *snap*.

I love the idea of this, but I've heard a lot of Car Seat Inspection Tech label this as one of the Big Unsafe items as its not been tested in crash tests. Makes sense to me, but the benefits of a tight install are undeniable.

I'm not a Saftey Nazi, but am a bit torn on this.

Anyone else feel the same way?

(we're still using the Infant Safeseat, and have a few months to go on it, so not strugging with difficult installs yet)

I LOVE the Mighty-Tite. In fact, it is one of the things I give to all my friends when they first have a kid. I never leave home without it. My main car is a Jeep (no LATCH) and it is virtually impossible for me to tighten the seatbelt down enough for the seat to be secure.

No car seat inspector has ever given me the thumbs down on the mighty Mighty-Tite.

Hmmm, if you read the second comment on the same Amazon page you linked, a person who claims to be a "nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST)" indicates that it is categorically unsafe....

Yeah, unfortunately the car seat safety people say these are incredibly dangerous. You are relying on a piece of plastic to hold your seat in a crash. They're not crash tested either.

The manufacturer claims it has been saftey tested. Read their product info and make up your own mind.

http://skjp.com/products/index.php?v=detail&name=MightyTite9919&cid=14&id=6

Their site is miserably slow though so be patient.

These after-market seat belt tighteners are not recommended by safety technicians and may actually be quite unsafe. See http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/SeatBeltTite.aspx

I used one for my Britax carseat but removed it after I read the warranty limitations on their website. Tightening devices are not approved by Britax and their use automatically voids the warranty.

http://www.britaxusa.net/support/warranty.aspx

There may be similar warranty limitations for other carseats.

Continue reading the Amazon page, and you find "This device cut the seatbelt completely off in a auto accident. T-boned at about 25mph and it ripped seatbelt causing the carseat to be thrown. Thankfully no major injuries. This device will damage your seatbelt."

When we had our first child and had our child seat inspected, we were told that it was actually fastened TOO TIGHT! "Trooper Tight" was the phrase that they also used, as highway patrolmen who used do seat installs/inspections apparently tended to tighten the straps too much. Apparently the seat does need to have *some* give, which makes sense as you want the seat to absorb as much of the kinetic energy in a crash as possible. If the seat is too tight, no kinetic energy can be absorbed and is instead passed onto the occupant. But, PLEASE, don't take my word for it, have your carseat checked out by a trained professional.

For what it's worth, we used one of these to install our car seat and then had the California Highway Patrol inspect it. The officer said not to use it because it's possible to over-tighten the seat belt. As I recall the explanation was that seat belts are designed to stretch during a collision, and if they are over tightened they will also stretch (especially over time) and then won't hold when they need to. No idea if that's true or not, but we chose to forgo the device.

Thanks to all who have posted yeah or nay about the Mighty Tite -- it's wonderful to get such helpful feedback. I've updated the post to reflect the comments here.

The Shriner's Hospital tech who installed both my car seats said DO NOT use this device--it can actually break the seat belt in crashes.

When I was pregnant with our baby, we were told NOT to use this device - that after market carseat parts are incredibly & inherently dangerous and that they are not approved to be used with car seats.
A *much* better and *free* alternative would be to call your police or fire non-emergency number and ask for a car-seat check.
You can bring your car & seat in and they will tell you if it is installed properly and help you fix whatever issues exist.
This link to an Epinions review pretty much sums up what we were told in class: http://www.epinions.com/kifm-review-276D-2E74FBB6-39A1DE74-prod5

All Car Seat Techs. that I have spoken to say this is a HUGE NO! NO! Please, for the safety of your children - DO NOT USE THIS GADGET!!!

THIS IS A HUGE NO NO!!! Ask any Sheriff (trained in carseat safety) and they will explain that by tightening your seatbelt this much, you are actually giving it the opportunity to SNAP in an accident leaving your child's carseat completely not buckled into the seat...

When I googled car seats this came up.

I am a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

These are a HUGE no no.

Here's why-

1. The actually over tighten the seat belt. Seat belts are designed to absorb and distribute crash forces. This devise eliminates much of that functionality.

2. All car seats are designed to be used with either a latch, or a seat belt (never both) and NOTHING else. Graco, or Britax, or Recaro, never thought about this product when the designed their seats or tested them. The chances of this product working perfectly with your seat; slim.

3.The device will damage your seat belt. And your seat belt is THE MOST important safety feature in your car.

If you have a mighty-tite installed in your car: REMOVE IT NOW!

Most seats can be installed correctly in most cars. If for some reason your seat will not fit in your car, get a new seat, but do not force fit with a belt tightener.

OK, I'm off my soapbox.
Broderick Turner
President, tinyPROOF

http://www.tinyprooof.com
child proofing, child safety

I'm a Certified Child Passenger Safety Tech and ask that you please remove this post from your site. The Mighty Tite will not only VOID the warranty on your seat (therefore limiting any recourse you have in the event of an injury or fatality to your child) but it is very very dangerous. The makers of the Mighty Tite state that it has been crash tested...my question is by who? Certainly not the government agency who crash tests Child Restraints (car seats). And it certainly hasn't been crash tested with each and every seat. Not only has the Mighty Tite been known to do damage to seatbelts but it can do damage to occupants should it become a projectile in a crash.

Parents need to know that there is no need for such a device! Any every day parent can tighten their car seat sufficiently. Car Seats may not move side to side or front to back more than one inch at the belt path (only test at the belt path).

All parents should have their seat checked by a CPST ... find one at www.safekids.org.

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