14 answers

The Switch to Booster- What Do You Guys Think?

Hi moms!
I'm having mixed feelings. Is there ANY information out there about keeping a child in a 5 pt. vs. a booster seat when they are well over the age/weight requirements? My son is a smaller 7 year old- he is now about 56ish lbs. We are at a time where we need to buy some new kid seats. And I'm really not sure what to do. He has a 5pt. to booster seat- and is now way past the weight limit for the 5pt. (40 lbs.) so we switched it to a booster seat using the car seat belt. My daughter car seat is now 7 years old- so it is expired (I didn't realize that happens til just this week!). We will most likely give her the 5 pt. to booster my son was using and b/c she is 5 and 33 lbs- so she can still use it as a 5 pt harness for a short time. Here is the BIG question: Is it worth the $279 to buy a Britax Frontier or Recaro ProSport that have a 5pt. harness til about 85 lbs. so the 7 year old can still be in a 5 pt. harness? OR are we OK to buy a nice highback booster for about $100 for side impact protection and use the car seat belt? There is A LOT online about not putting a child in a booster too early- but is there any research that says 5pt. till 85lbs and 8 years old is safer than booster??? I have not found any. Wondered if anyone had any insight into this?

I also found out recently that you should not use the latch system after 40-48 lbs! If the car manual doesn't have info then you refer to the car seat manual- either way, you should use the seat belt to secure a car seat or booster after somewhere between 40 and 48 lbs.

If anyone has information and/or links to websites that would be greatly appreciated!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank You to everyone who answered!!!!!!!!!! Every single post was helpful in our decision! The links were all awesome! We are going with a booster seat for my son- and letting my daughter use the 5 pt. harness he had til she is ready for her booster seat when she gains some more weight. Now to decide which one!

Featured Answers

I would go with a sunshine kids monterey booster. It has good side enforcement and it fits my kids perfectly on the belt positioning. At 7 years old I wouldnt spend a ton of money on a 5pt harness unless you expect him to use it until he is 12

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Britax Frontier 85... check it out online. They are on sale right now for about $200 with free shipping.

2 moms found this helpful

A five-point-harness (and rear-facing) are the safest options for everyone, including adults, but at some point it becomes impractical to use those, and I think you've reached that point. To me, the super-big weight limits on Britax et. al. are a great way to accommodate young kids who are heavy, not older kids who are normal weight. I'm kind of a car seat safety freak (my kids were rear-facing until they were either 2 or 3, my five-year-old is still in a five-point harness car seat because he weighs 33 pounds, my six-year-old was also in a five-point harness until he was well over 40 lbs, etc.) and even I would put a 7-year-old in the appropriate size booster seat that uses the shoulder/lap belt. He not only meets the weight and height recommendations for this, but is at age where he can sit properly for the belt to work in an accident. Sometimes younger kids (ages 4 and 5) are not ready for this because they slouch, etc. but a typical 7-year-old should be fine as a classic high-back booster is designed for exactly this age and size.

Here is some info from car-safety.org regarding "Front Facing and Specialty Models," where several Britax and the Sunshine Kids Radian are categorized:

"Some models are suitable for older kids in vehicles that don't have shoulder belts, or for big kids that are still too immature to ride properly in a seatbelt or booster. Others are designed for children with special needs. If you have a lap-only belt seating position and cannot have a shoulder belt retrofitted, one of these models may work for you."

So it seems that as long as your son is mature enough to sit properly, doesn't have special needs and you have shoulder belts, you should be all set with a booster.

2 moms found this helpful

For safety reasons I would go for the 5 point harness for each. This is truely the safest place for them to be until they out grown that harness. I would also look at the Sunshine Radian, they are rated up to 80 lbs and are slim lined and very highly rated.


1 mom found this helpful

I think it's worth it to spend the money on a 5 pt harness booster. We purchased the Britax Frontier 85 for our 5-year-old and she'll be in it for many years to come. We're really happy with it and actually bought one for each vehicle.

1 mom found this helpful

I would go with a sunshine kids monterey booster. It has good side enforcement and it fits my kids perfectly on the belt positioning. At 7 years old I wouldnt spend a ton of money on a 5pt harness unless you expect him to use it until he is 12

1 mom found this helpful

The CarSeat Lady on Facebook is GREAT! If you have an acct, "like" her page. She provides a lot of great info and I think you can ask her questions too. She is also a pediatrician though, so I know she's one busy gal! (if she doesn't respond to your quest. right away).


1 mom found this helpful

I would just buy a nice non-Britax, highback that will take you to 80-100lbs. I would get the kind that has the seatbelt anchor near the shoulder to help keep it in place.


1 mom found this helpful

Hi- Took this from carseatsafety.org:

Usually a child can be moved to a booster when they are too big for a harnessed carseat, and once they are able to sit properly in a seatbelt. A child should be in some type of booster seat until around 8 years old, unless they are already 4' 9" tall (Also see Question 9 below).

As far as I know there is no difference in safety between a harnessed seat and HBB, once your child has met the seat's req's and can sit properly. I bought a Graco Nautilus when my child outgrew his convertible carseat at four. He is five and half and currently using the top slots. Once he outgrows the harness, I see no reason to buy another seat to keep him harnessed longer. We purchased a Graco Turbobooster for Dad's car and he is currently booster training. I would find a good high-back booster at this point. Here's a link to find more great info and hopefully get your questions answered: http://www.car-safety.org/

Good luck with your decision!


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