C.R. asks from Plain City, OH on August 13, 2009
Car Seat That Converts to Booster Seat - Britax Frontier or Graco Nautilus
My 9 month old daughter will soon need to move out of the infant carrier and into a regular car seat. I am planning to move her into the Britax Marathon that we currently use for my 2 1/2 year old son. I was hoping to only purchase one more seat for my son, one that has a harness option for the next couple of years and then converts to a booster seat. I am curious if anyone has any comments or advice between the Britax Frontier and the Graco Nautilus or any other seat that has both the harness and booster options.
D.T. answers from Indianapolis on August 14, 2009
We LOVE the Nautilus - it's affordable, it has high safety ratings, it's comfortable for the child and it will last for YEARS due to it's range (harness to 65 lbs, highback booster and then backless booster). We bought one more than a year ago (forget exactly when... but they had just come out). We then bought another one a few months ago when our youngest was 20 months and ready to face forward. So we currently have 1 daughter using the harness and one using it as a backless booster (she used it as fullback booster for awhile, too). I don't have hardly any complaints about any of the configurations.
I know it's safe... we were involved in a pretty bad accident (other driver hit us hard, no way to avoid it) last month. My toddler in the harness came out with a scratch or bruise and was totally fine. My 2 kids in backless boosters had some minor bruising along the front shoulder area from the seatbelt - it matched my bruised. The paramedic said that's pretty typical (had nothing to do with backless boosters or fullback boosters).
The kids love the little 'hiding spaces' for small toys and snacks built-into the arm rests and the cupholder. My older daughter said it was the 'comfy-est' of all the carseats she'd been in.
P.B. answers from Dayton on August 13, 2009
My son is 5 1/2 and we recently got th Frontier. I did not want him in a high back booster as there is way to much wiggle room in those seats that just use the seatbelt.
Frontier will last the longest as a 5 point restraint. The reason this is true is because of the shoulder height. The weight limit for most children is meaningless because they outgrown the seats by shoulder height way before weight. The frontier goes to 21" where the others are 16". Huge difference!
The seat being made for an older child does not have the slight leaning back as a regual 5pt harness seat that is designed for up to 40lbs. If your son sleeps in the car much, his head may droop forward. That is the only issue that we have found with moving to this seat. I am planning to get one of those travel neck support pillows for my son to try. He seldom falls asleep in the car these days, but on trips he sometimes will. He never complains about being uncomfortable, it just looks uncomfortable to us when his head droops.
C.M. answers from Cleveland on August 14, 2009
Check out www.hipmonkey.com. They have great car seat options and they have all been researched on safety! I highly recommend them and there is no shipping or tax on your purchases.
I have both of my children in Britax seats including my son who is almost 8, he is in the booster that hold to 80 lbs in a 5-point harness (he doesn't even weigh 50 lbs).
Best of luck on your search!
J.L. answers from Cleveland on August 13, 2009
I have been doing the research, and I will admit I am very anal about it, and I found that the nautilas is the right choice. I am in a similar situation, or will be soon, with a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn. The Nautilas is at least 100 cheaper, gets really good ratings and can be a 5 point harnass, a booster, and a backless booster.
My friend recently got it and does say that unlike the Britax (she has the marathon, I have the roundabout), the clicking mechanism is not as easy and you have to be more deliberate about it. She does admit that she only got it Sunday. Maybe you should play with it...but it gets great ratings.
S.L. answers from Cleveland on August 14, 2009
Hi! I posted pretty much the same exact question with the subject "Convertible-Booster Car Seat" on 6/29 and got lots of responses. Take a look :) We ultimately went with the Britax Frontier. We've had it two weeks and it is working out well. My son will be three years old in October. Good luck!
M.K. answers from Fort Wayne on August 14, 2009
We LOVE our Graco Nautilus. It is literally half the cost. I ordered ours from Amazon. Saved over $50 with free shipping and their price as opposed to Wal-Mart. We highly recommend it. Our son loves the cupholder, the little cubby holes for toys and snacks, and his head doesn't "flop" too bad when he falls asleep. It is easy to take in and out as well.
K.T. answers from Columbus on August 13, 2009
When we were faced with a similar situation a couple of years ago we opted for the Cosco Summit carseat/booster. I'm not even certain that they still make it, but at the time it got very high ratings from Consumer Reports and was affordable ... only about $80. It has a 5-point harness for up to 40 lbs. and then uses the vehicle seat belt for up to 100 lbs.