Booster Car Seat - Mishawaka,IN

Updated on April 27, 2010
S.H. asks from Mishawaka, IN
21 answers

My daughter is almost 4. She weighs 35 lbs and is 40 inches tall. I am hesitant to switch her to a booster yet. Need more advice and expert opinions from experienced mamas! So i am under the impression that keeping your child in a 5-point harness as long as you can is the safest way to go. I want to get a good booster seat that has been tested and approved with the highest quality. So anyone know of booster seats with these qualities? Any other opinions about booster seats? Have i heard the right things about the 5 point harnesses? Let me know what you moms have heard and experienced!! Thank you!!!

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So What Happened?

first of all, THANK YOU EVERYONE! every single one of these responses was a great help in deciding which car seat option to go with. I was doing research and found that 5 point graco nautilus was a good match for my situation! So i am really glad that so many moms had positive things to say about it! You moms are so knowledgeable and thats why i feel its safe to ask mommy questions!

Featured Answers


answers from Denver on

sunshine kids montery booster. It has far better side protection than a lot of the boosters out there. It has good head protection and my sons head doesnt flop forward when he falls asleep. And it has one of the highest rated belt positioning. Tad pricey but I feel so much better about my son being in this seat and it does go into a backless booster but it also adjusts at the shoulders so if you have a bigger child the sides go out instead of just the top going higher. Awesome seat!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

It's safest to use seats as intended until the child out-grows it. My kids stay rear-facing until they outgrow their convertible seats (#2 is 25 months and still rear-facing) and I plan to keep them in a 5-point-harness booster until they outgrow those seats.
I have the Eddie Bauer High-back Booster for my 3.5-year-old. You can use it with a seat belt, but it isn't as safe. It's better to go from a 5-pt-harness to a no-back booster with the seat belt. My older son is tall, I expect he'll out-grow the 5-pt-harness by age 5. I'd rather have them safest than the convenience of a short booster with the lap belt.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Muncie on

I love our Britax Frontier that allows you to have the 5 point for a larger child or use it as a high back belt positioning booster when you want to go that route. My son loves it. The only thing is that if you are doing a lot of car switching it is heavy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Most states have car seat guidelines posted on the internet, quite a few say 6 years old or 60 lbs but IN is one of those that say 8 years old or 80 lbs. There are some exceptions to the law but I have it posted below.
Look up "car seat laws for IN".

By state:

And here's tha actual law for your state:



answers from Sacramento on

My son sits in a Graco Nautilus. It's a 5 point harness to 65lbs and then a belt positioning booster. He's 43 1/2 inches now and still hanging on at 39lbs, so you may have a good long time before you actually NEED a new seat.

Those last 5 lbs can take a LONG time, so you're probably good in whatever forward facing seat she has right now.

When she outgrows it (probably at 40lbs or 43inches) is the time to consider another seat.



answers from Minneapolis on

A forward facing car seat is outgrown when one of three things happens; the child goes over the weight limit for the harness, the ears are level with the seat back, or the shoulders go over the top usable harness slot.

When forward facing, the harness should come from just at or above the shoulders. If it comes from below, its very dangerous and can cause spinal compression in a crash.

Read your car seat manual, if you have a 3-in-1 type seat (Alpha Omega, Eddie Bauer, safety 1st) the harness will only work to 40lbs, then it must be removed to be used as a booster seat with the adult belt. However these seats are typically outgrown in height long before weight, because they have a short shell and the very top harness notch is only good in booster mode. Plus these seats make terrible booster seats, they have consistently failed every crash test they've been in. Don't use them as booster seats!

At almost 4, 35lbs and 40" tall, she should absolutely still be in a 5pt harness. If she hasn't outgrown her car seat according to what I listed above, then leave her in it. She is absolutely safer in a harness because of her age and weight. If she's outgrown her current seat, you need to find her another seat. You can spend $50 on a booster, or you can spend $150 on a Graco Nautilus, which will harness to 65lbs, has a 19" top harness slot which fits most kids to age 7 in the harness, and then becomes a high back booster, and eventually a no back booster. With her only being 4, you have 4+more years of car seat use before she can sit without a car seat or booster, so invest now in a seat that will last her all those years while keeping her safest now in the harness. plus you can get the Nautilus in super cute pink patterns!

If you do insist on a booster seat iwth the adult belt only, please only purchase a high back booster seat. A no back offers no side impact protection, and children under age 6 or so are way too small to not have that added protection. My almost 8yr old is still in a high back booste rand will remain there... he is 60lbs and 53" tall. My 4.5yr old is sitll in a 5pt harness where he will remain for a couple more years.

The graco Nautilus is a great seat that will last her for years in the harness, and then becomes a good booster seat to 100lbs. For $150, you will get your moneys worth out of the seat, and keep her safest.



answers from Columbus on

We have the Cosco Summit seat which converts from a 5-point harness to a booster seat that will accommodate a child up to 100 lbs. My 6-year-old and 4-year-old both use them ... one with the 5-point and one as a booster and we love them!


answers from Hartford on

I feel like the 5-point harness is touch to fit a larger child in. The high-back boosters are great. Both my daughter are in them. I believe they reccomend that a child is 3 before switching. Many states have car seat safety places (local fire dept) they help you install and put your child in properly. Call them and see if they have recommendations.



answers from Seattle on

My son is Britax Marathan, he can be in it until 65 lbs.



answers from Columbus on

First of all at 40 inches your child is too big for a regulare car seat. Check your owners manual. If the straps are below the top your daughter's shoulders or the tops of her ears are above the top of the seat you are risking serious injury by keeping her in that car seat. Most booster seats are designed for children weighing more than 30 lbs. So now is the correct time to switch her. There are some car seats that use a 5 point harness and that convert to a booster, but with your child being to tall you may not be able to use the harness.



answers from Johnson City on

we use the boosters that have the 5 point harnesses but also have the the seat belt adjusters on the sides so when they get old enough to get out of the harness they are still the belt adjusting boosters i will look at them but i think they are either graco or cosco my 7 year old still uses the harnesses from time to time, out of 3 seats i have removed the harness from one but no one has a specific seat to sit in so they all bounce around from a harness to the one that dont have it. while they are in the harness the seat belt runs through the back of the seat like any other car seat. we love them they are easy to move from one car to another and the kids are used to being in them either way. hope this helps.



answers from Lafayette on

Our little guy turned 4 in February, and he was about 35 pounds and 38 inches. His pediatrician said he needed to stay in a harnessed car seat instead of a booster. He was perfectly okay with that -- thank goodness!

My recommendation -- don't switch until 40 pounds and 40 inches.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes, 5 point!



answers from Los Angeles on

5-point harness is BEST; If your carseat harness is not rated above 40lbs (or if she's too tall fo rthe highest harness slots) then you might consider a model carseat that's a combination forward-facing seat that converts to booster with higher harness weight limits and taller harness slots.

We LOVE our Graco Nautilus; it harnesses to 65lbs, is a high-back booster and eventually can be a regular booster up to 100lbs. My daughter is 43" tall and just reached 40lbs and we still have 2 more slots we can raise the harness before she's too tall. There are just a few seats out so far with these higher limits, but more and more are coming out.



answers from Dayton on

I agree that you need to check your owner's manual. There are some newer carseats whose straps are rated up to 65 lbs, but most aren't. That means if you have a child who is over the recommended weight in the seat, they may not be safe in the event of an accident. I'd also check with your state patrol and see what the exact laws are and what they recommend. Then have whatever it is inspected for proper installation and fit for the child!



answers from Columbus on

We purchased a convertible booster seat with a removable back. It uses the regular seat belt, running through the openings in the back part. This keeps the seat belt in a comfortable position for the child. If you jump directly to a booster, chances are the seat belt will "cut" into the child's neck and not be safe. The convertible seat allows for removal of back part when the child gets taller and lets them get used to the idea of using the regular seat belt. My boys love the idea of being able to click and unclick their own seat belts like "big kids" do!



answers from Washington DC on

You should absolutely stick with the 5 pt harness as L. as her height and weight are both within its limits (the shoulder straps should be at or above shoulder level).



answers from Boston on

State law dictates specifics but in general, 5 points until 40 lbs and longer if your child will cooperate.
After that, booster is booster is booster, IMHO. The purpose of the booster is to ensure that the seatbelt crosses diagonally across the chest and not high up at the neck. The rest is bells and whistles (drink holders etc.)



answers from Cleveland on

Check your state's law. Ohio's grace period just ended for the new booster seat law. All kids age 4-8 under 4'9" have to be in a booster. I think they also have to be 40 lbs. first. My almost five year old is still in his five point harness because he just made 40 lbs. so I will be transitioning him as soon as I buy a booster. I'm pretty sure all the booster seats have to pass the same tests, so I think they are equally safe. I did see a story on the news about the booster seats without backs. They are not as safe because they can potentially come out from under the child in a crash. High back boosters are safer.



answers from Indianapolis on

Here in Indiana, the law just says a child must be in an approved child restraint until age 8. It never says when to make the switch from carseat to booster seat.

Both our girls love(d) the Graco Nautilus. Very comfy. Harness goes to 65 lbs - heck, my 7 year old is only 55lbs! You can use it as a high back booster or remove the back and use as a backless booster till 100lbs. Easy to adjust straps that never get tangled (not once in the 2 years we've used it), cupholder and little pockets in the armrests for stashing small toys and snacks, goes in/out of the car very easily.

A 5-pt harness is safer than a booster seat, but a booster seat is very safe. We were involved with a serious crash last summer (I wasn't even moving, the guy creamed us) and my older 2 kids (just turned 7 and just turned 4 then) were in Graco backless booster seats and came out of it without a scratch - just a minor bruising on shoulder from seatbelt (but we all had that - totally normal - even the almost-2-year-old in the Nautilus).

Most booster seats are made for kids over 40 lbs. Maturity also plays a role. You don't want a child in a booster seat until they are sitting still in the seat (no twisting around, no leaning to a side, etc) so the seatbelt stays put. Plus, of course, they need to understand not to touch the buckle and undo themselves when the vehicle is moving. We switched our son right after his 3rd birthday (he was 42lbs) simply because there was no option (no carseats had harnesses over 40lbs back then) and he was fine in it.



answers from Seattle on

We moved our big four year old out of the britax marathon so our little one could have it. We got her a britax frontier booster, it's a five point harness up to 80lbs I believe then a belt positioning booster to 100lbs. So basically she will never need another carseat probably! After all the reports, and my experience being in three accidents I will always buy britax. It's worth the extra money, to save my childs life!

P.S. You're getting a lot of wrong information I've seen in posts, your child may be too big for the harness in a convertible seat but is NOT to big for the harness in the britax frontier or graco nautilus or radian boosters! Please look into these three and you'll see how much longer they can be safest in a five point harness!

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