Booster Seat Advice - Sun Prairie,WI

Updated on October 30, 2010
T.M. asks from Sun Prairie, WI
15 answers

We recently bought a booster seat for our son, I have not opened it yet because now I am wondering if I bought the wrong one. We bought the Evenflo Maestro Booster Car Seat, it has the 5 point harness that I felt he really needed. The other one we were looking at is the Graco Highback TurboBooster, this one does not have the 5 point harness, it just uses the seatbelt.

My son turned 4 in May, he is 48 pounds and is he's about 45 inches tall. I'm thinking he really doesn't need the 5-point harness anymore but wanted to get some more opinions. And now that I think about it the Maestro says to only use the 5-point harness up to 50 pounds, maybe I should take it back and get the other one. I just hate taking him out of the 5-point harness at 4, but maybe I'm just over thinking it.

Any advice would be great.

Add on: The maestro does concert to a highback booster rated up to 100 pounds, but it does not convert to a backless booster. Is it better to have a booster with a back or a backless one, I guess I don;t understand the difference.

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 Madison on

My husband was worried about the shift too from 5-point to seat belt. I went to Consumer Reports and for boosters the Highback Graco was tops. It is great! And we're happy for the shift.

More Answers



answers from Phoenix on

Considering his height and weight, I would go with the Graco TurboBooster. They are very well rated and can shift to a backless booster when he's bigger. I have had 2 in the past and love them!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I just went through the same thing with my 4 year old. Do I buy the Graco Nautilus for $180 which has the 5 point or the Turbo with just the lap belt for $80. I ended up buying the Turbo - I think that the Nautilus is meant for younger kids who need to transition sooner (new baby or weight limit is hit). My daughter loves it - especially the cup holders!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

The five-point harness is safest; however, if he is already 48 pounds then after two more pounds this particular seat will not be safe for him since it is only rated to 50 lbs. If it then converts to just being a high-back booster w/out the harness is is rated for over 50 pounds you are fine. If not, the other one is going to be best.

The high back boosters seem to protect them better and in my opinion keeps them more securely in the seat. I don't like the backless ones. Since the one you bought is ok for now (sometimes it takes a while for them to gain those last two pounds) and does convert and it rated to 100 lbs, you should be fine with it.

Being old enough to know how to sit properly and actually doing so 100% of the time is not the same thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I am not familiar with the Evenflo model but suspect it may be like our Frontier where it is still attached to the seat like a car seat? If so, that will be the most significant difference. A real booster like the Graco model you have mentioned has the ease of removal and transfer to other cars. I'm kicking myself now for getting our Frontier because the booster isn't a real one and now we're stuck with a seat we can't move to another car (well, not without a huge ordeal). Check the box and see.

The harness is the safest way to go, but honestly, keeping your child in any booster is the way to go. So many people opt out of these seats altogether as their kids get older, so having your child in any form of booster will keep him safe.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Go to
It is a WONDERFUL video about the importance of using a 5 point harness for as long as you can.

T.-mom of 5 wonderful children and licensed childcare provider :)



answers from Boston on

Graco Turbo Booster....get that one and use the seatbelt. Your son is big enough and also old enough to use this seat. It is also my opinion that kids this age should know enough to sit still and use their safetly belt properly. They need to be shown how it goes on them and the booster seat and let them know why this is important. Soon enough, he will not be in a booster seat of any kind and it's through good training and good habits that he continue to wear his safety belt and place it properly on him when he gets into the car. I have seen kids put the shoulder harness behind their heads, sit on their knees, I have even seen kids turned sideways and laying down unbuckled in passing cars! YIKES! I have two kids and both of mine are great "seatbelt" users...always have been. It's habitual and if the habits are taught young and made mandatory, you will never regret it! My oldest is now 17 and has been driving for a year. What's the first thing she does upon entering the car? Go for the seatbelt and buckle up the right way! She's been doing it since she was 5 and out of the booster seat! Go Graco Turbo or GO BUST!



answers from Chicago on

I bought the Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 for my daughter who is 4.5 years old, 40lbs, and 42in tall. The 5 point harness goes until 50 inches tall and 65lbs, so she still has awhile ( I am thinking another year or maybe two) with that and she seems very comfortable in it. After 50in and 65lbs, it is a highback booster with seatbelt until 100lbs and then the back even comes off to be just a booster. Keep him in a 5 point harness as long as possible. I got my Nautilus on sale for $129.99. There is also the Britax which has a 5 point harness that goes to 85lbs, but I went with the Nautilus.



answers from Eugene on

I don't want to go outside to look, but I think it's either a Costco or Evenflo, but it's a highback booster with the lights on the top and it converts to a just the booster seat. It uses the seat belt. The reason why I decided on that one was because of the comfort of the seat. It also was rated pretty well at the time too. I only paid about $30 to $40 for it. I put my son in the different displays and asked him which one was most comfortable to him and he said he liked that one.


answers from Chicago on

Does he understand that he needs to sit still in the car? My son is nearly too big for the 5 point harness so we have been using the car seat that is a three point convertable, 5 point harness- to highback booster w/ seatbelt- to backless booster. So basically we are testing the waters on short trips to the neighborhood stores (5-10 min drives) with the Highback booster for my son who is pretty much on point with your 4yr old's height/weight that has a difficult time sitting still. Once he can do it for the 10 min ride then we will keep increasing, I like doing it while he still fits in the harness b/c he knows that if he does not do what is needed he will go into the harness, it has been working out WELL so far he is excited about this big boy thing. Hope this helps you make up your mind.



answers from Minneapolis on

I moved my son to a booster seat around the time he turned 2. He's a tall kid and had outgrown his convertible toddler seat VERY early. He would scream when I'd put him in. So getting a booster seat was best for us. Contrary to the many "warnings" I received, my two year old (now almost three) sits still and doesn't try to remove the seat belt or get out of it. On loooong car trips, he will get fussy and try to wiggle out, but that is the only time. He likes using a seat belt like a "big boy" and it has been the best way for us to get him to enjoy being safe in the car.

We have the Graco Turbobooster and I love it. The back comes off, so you can eventually remove the back when your son gets too tall for it. The advantage of the back attachment is that it has a spot next to the shoulder where the shoulder part of the seatbelt threads through to keep that part of the seatbelt resting against your little one's shoulder, and not against their neck. If your son sits in the booster seat with the seatbelt buckled, and the seatbelt sits well against his shoulder and isn't in danger of slipping up against his neck, then you may not need the back part of the booster. I think it's a good idea to keep it on, just to ensure the seatbelt will definitely stay placed against the shoulder. We've had great success with ours. We were in a car accident last May - a car ran a red light and broadsided my vehicle. My son was, fortunately, on the opposite side from the impact. I sustained a small head injury, but my son didn't have a bump, bruise or a scratch on him.



answers from Dallas on

I would stick with a 5 point harness for as long as you can. Most are rated for 60lbs or more and up to 52". This is the safest thing for him, just my opinion.



answers from Milwaukee on

They can be in a booster at 40 lbs with a seat belt. Whether or not you need a high back booster or a backless one depends on the seats in your car. I would go for a high back booster if you have low back seats and a low back booster is you have high back car seats. Going with a highback booster in either cicumstances would be fine.



answers from Minneapolis on

I think the best way to gauge your choice is to think if your son is an escape artist. If you believe that he will sit in the booster properly with the seatbelt positioned correctly and not unbuckle himself while you are driving ... he is probably ready for the regular highback booster. I bought the Graco HighBack booster that converts to a regular booster as the child grows and I have been very happy with it. My daughter never complains about the positioning of the belt at her chest/neck or waist.



answers from San Francisco on

It depends a lot on the maturity of your 4YO - many 4YOs haven't quite developed the maturity to sit properly in a belt-positioning booster (wiggle around, play with the seat belt, etc.). If you feel your son would benefit from being harnessed longer, the Graco Nautilus and Britax Frontier have higher height and weight limits which should be able to keep him harnessed until he's mature enough to use the seat as a booster. The Maestro is a good budget option for kids who are a bit smaller than yours, but as it doesn't adjust very tall in booster mode you'd eventually have to get another booster when it's outgrown.

For boosters - the high back is best for younger booster riders because it offers some side impact protection, keeps the shoulder belt in position better, and also some kids (mine included) find the "wings" on the headrest to be comfy when they fall asleep in the car. Backless ones are best for kids who are too tall for using the highback booster but still need a boost to ensure that the lap and shoulder belt are properly positioned (shoulder belt across middle of shoulder, lap belt low across tops of thighs) and can be handy for field trips and carpools

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions