Booster for Petite 8 Year Old, Law Says up to 8, but She Is Only 50Lbs

Updated on May 29, 2013
J.C. asks from San Marcos, CA
18 answers

It seems like prior posts are when to move a big 3 year old to a booster, my problem is opposite.

My daughter is still in the Britax Marathon! Since she will be 8 in July and CA law is booster seat until 8, I want to dump the Marathons for her as she has been begging each time she rides with a friend in a backless booster.
We used one in Hawaii and she realized she couldn't fall asleep comfortably and stopped asking.
But now it is time, she is only 50lbs and about 46-47 inches.
My problem is picking the right one. My friends all suggest the Britax Frontier, but when she saw that she was like NO WAY!
I fully support the 5 point harness idea, but that seat is a bit too much seat for am 8 year old. I like the Britax Parkway SGL, if only it had the harness. Any other ideas? Help! Thank you.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

I can't imagine the humiliation she feels when her friends see she is still in a car seat when most of them are probably not in anything but a booster and seat belt.

I think you have to weigh this carefully. When she rides with anyone else she'll be in just the seatbelt after her birthday. If she needs a ride somewhere and you volunteer to take other kids they'll make fun of her in a car seat so you are sort of in a bad place.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

at 8 I would get her a backless seat where she can use the regular seat belt, that is what I use for my 8 year old son who does not yet weight 60 pounds. He knows he will have to use the booster until he is the recommended height of 4ft9. The bonus of this seat is that it puts him at a height where the seat belt hits him in the correct spot, but he does not look like a baby (causing his friends to make fun of him) by being in a full out car seat.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from New York on

At eight I am sure she is embarrassed. Don't blame her. Get her a high back booster and use the seatbelt. It works well for my granddaughter.
No need to spend a fortune. Mine was like $45 and goes up to 80 lbs. I think. Can't remember.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If you're over the harness, I'd recommend the Graco Nautilus. We use it when my six year old rides in any car other than my own (he is in a Frontier in my car). It's a good seat with solid reviews. It converts from a high back to a low back, so you can use it either way.

By this age, you should be making your decision based on your daughter's height, not her weight. A booster seat has nothing at all to do with how much she weighs and everything to do with making her tall enough for the seat belt to rest properly across her body. I agree that, since she's so small, you should keep her in a booster even though she's eight. It's just so much safer.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

We use the Sunshine Kids Monterey high back booster. Sunshine Kids are now Diono
My 9 year old is on the smaller side as well. I think he was 53 lbs and 52 inches the last time we checked.
It really is a great seat! He can easily sleep in it during long or late trips. It secures with the LATCH so it stays attached to the seat in case of anything which I really like. It has side impact protection.
It's worth the money!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I am not sure how she's still fitting in the Marathon - we had the boulevard which is similar and she outgrew it at about 3. But my daughter has a long torso - perhaps yours has longer legs so she could fit longer.

Regardless, we got the Britax Frontier for our next seat - it goes up to 65 lbs in a 5 point harness and my soon to be 6 year old is the same size as your daughter and will be in it for the next few years. It does convert to a high back booster and I think a backless booster as well. We also have the Graco Nautilus, currently still using 5 pt harness and it also converts to high back and regular booster.

I see us using these seats until she is old/big enough to just sit with the seatbelt.

GOod luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

I'd go strait to the high back booster. graco makes a good one . My 8 yr old is in just the bottom part and he uses a pillow that straps to the seatbelt to fall asleep on and it works great. 50lb is actually only just below 50% on the growth charts for girls at 8 yrs old.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

My kids (short, lightweight) used a high-back Graco Turbo Booster (nice headrests!) from about age 8 to 11, when they finally outgrew it by height. They have never been teased and they were not the only kids using one in that age range.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Danville on

You know...I do not mean to hijack the thread...BUT...I have a 16 yo special needs kiddo...she is about the size - height and weight of a 5 year old. When she was was a lower age/weight restriction for car seats. She is almost 70 lbs...height I cannot remember...but petite....should I have her in a car seat still?

She has mastered the seatbelt...I am sure she would think it an insult...

Private me if you have thoughts...


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is 7-1/2, 50" and 60 lbs. I am certain that if he felt deep humiliation every time he rode in his Graco Nautilus car seat with 5 point harness restraint, he would TELL us. He doesn't keep much to himself.

I love the Graco Nautilus - it works for 5 point restraint up to 65 lbs and as a high OR low back booster until a child reaches 4'9" or 100 lbs. The NTSB recommendations are that a child use a booster until the are 4 feet and 9 inches. Your daughter is nowhere near there yet. The Nautilus is also 1/2 the price of the Britax Frontier.

We do use a backless booster when we travel (when we fly, of course when we drive our own car we take the car seat). Once he turns 8, we plan to continue using our Nautilus (we will switch to using it as a high back booster when he hits 65 lbs) and we will continue to use the backless booster for travel. You are not less likely to DIE because you are 4' 2" and 8 years old than when you are 4' 2" and 7-1/2 years old.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

The Radian R100 (mentioned below by Katrina A. as Sunshine kid car seat). These are great. They have the 5 point harness and are a lot less bulky (you can fit 3 across) because they are made out of steel instead of plastic. Either click on her link provided or google Radian car seat. I had no idea Diono took over in place of Sunshine kid. They are comparable to price with the Britax. I got rid of mine so my kids could have the same carseat and not fight over the Radian (mine is up to 65pounds).

My marathon was also old and dirty and i needed to get my daughter a new seat (i didn't just get rid of a perfect car seat).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Does she not want a high backed booster at all?

I did pose a similar question a bit ago and I think the Frontier was what was suggested (though I realize she doesn't like it). My DD is also very small and some of her friends are in backless boosters already and she is in a Marathon. I am not ready for a backless booster with her at not quite 5. Whenever anybody asked why she was RF longer, I simply said that she is small and we felt it was safer.

This is also an area where you need to sit down with her and explain WHY she needs x and y and why you will be selecting x booster in the end. She needs to be safe. I was in a backless booster for a long time because I was so small. This was years before it was law. My mom simply said I had to as it was a safety issue so I could parrot that back to friends.

I will be watching this thread for ideas. My DD has a short torso and longer legs so for now she still fits in her Marathon. But I'm sure our booster days are coming in a year or so.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Our almost 8 year old uses a Britax Frontier (my car) and Britax Parkway (dad's car). I like the Parkway for a booster because it uses Latch and it has a place for the seatbelt to go through so it fits the child correctly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I'd do a highback booster, not a backless yet. She is used to the harness, too, don't forget. Are you sure her shoulders are still below the harness in a marathon? If they are above, it's outgrown. You need to go by height as weight usually isn't an issue, as long as you follow the weight limits of course. At 47 inches I doubt any harness would fit except the Frontier by Britax.

If the law says booster to 8, take that as a minimum. Most children will need the booster until ages 10-12, depending on height or can easily be killed by the seatbelt in a crash. You are smart to be thinking of her safety.

She'll need to have her booster whenever she rides with a friend, yes, as someone pointed out. whether that's until age 10, 11, 12, etc. You're a good mama!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Medford on

In California, the law is about height and Age, but I would go by hight for as long as possible. Its about the seatbelt fitting correctly across them.

I would get what you feel is right for her safety and if she doesn't like it, oh well. My neice was allowed to sit without a booster when she was 5 or so, but in my car she had to use a booster. Im all about safety. Even when my daughter first turned 8 I made her sit in one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My doctor said age and weight don't matter. It should be by height. I think she said 4 ft 8 inches. You want the regular car seat belt to fit correctly across the shoulders so the kids don't get choked in an accident. We used the Graco that just uses the regular seatbelt - I can't remember the model but we got it at target. The back comes off so you can use it with or without the back. Hope this helps.



answers from Norfolk on

Thanks for asking this question, J.! I have a similar situation.

My 7-1/2 yr old (only 43" and 43 lbs) uses the Graco Nautilus with the 5-pt harness (I wish I had gotten the Britax Frontier though, but that's an aside). However, I'm looking to give that to his 5-yr old brother and get the 7-yr old a new booster seat.

We have an extra backless, Graco seat that we use when we need an extra seat for friends, but I really do not feel is the safest place for him. I saw the recommendation for the Britax Parkway and am hoping to convince my husband to invest in one more carseat. As he always tells me: "Safety is free, why not use it?" Except for the Nautilus we have always been a Britax family and I wish I had used them exclusively. Such fantastic products and I have never been disappointed.

I find it unfortunate that posters think that she will be embarrassed and that you should succumb to the peer pressure of other 8 year olds and get her a backless booster. I have always told my kids that they are secured in the car in the safest way possible because I love them that much. It is important to properly and safely secure them and to do any less is poor parenting, especially for such a ridiculous reason. I have small kids and they need to be more secured than some of their larger friends.

Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions