Booster Seat for 4 Year Old - 40 Lbs

Updated on September 11, 2008
B.R. asks from Mount Holly, NJ
12 answers

My daughter will be 4 in a few weeks and she is about 38lbs. Her current car seat goes up to 40lbs. What type of booster seat should I buy? What is better the high back booster seats that look like the car seats or just the plain old booster?

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answers from Allentown on

Well, high back boosters are much safer than the backless boosters.
The best boosters are Britax. They cost much more & are bigger/bulkier than a lot of others, but they are extremely well made.
I've also heard very good things about most of the Graco ones.

Good luck!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

We have a high back booster for our four year old. The difference is in how they adjust the shoulder belt. We like the way it adjusts the should belt to his should level.

But I am not an expert. As a parent of three (the 4 year old being our middle child), I do recommend going with the one that is going to work best for both your child and your car while still allowing the most use. In Pennsylvania, they have to be in a carseat until they are 8 years old. We went with one that can be used up to 100 pounds just to be sure it would work for as long as we might need to use it. (Although, I'm sure that the one that only goes to 80 pounds would probably have been sufficient. I just wanted to be covered in case they changed the law AGAIN.)

Anyhow, I hope this helps you out a bit. If you have any further questions about how we like our seats, send me a message. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have on our experiences with carseats. (Our oldest is almost 9 and our youngest just turned a year old.)



answers from Philadelphia on


I just researched this because I have a 3-year-old little girl. I was surprised and upset to find that all the research and crash test studies state that a child really really really shouldn't use a car's seat belt until at least 65lbs if not 80lbs. Even though it looks like it will hold them, it doesn't do such a good job. Many children slide out from under them and it causes devestating head and neck injuries. I was made aware of this from another mom who spoke with me about a Youtube video about Kyle David Miller ( about a little boy who was killed b/c his seat belt didn't contain him. Had he been in a 5pt harness, he would most likely be here today. With that said, You will find an array of car seats that can hold up to 65lbs and the Sunshine kids Radian 80 holds up to 80lbs. It is kinda pricey, but how do you put a price on your child's safety? I am hoping this helps and maybe saves another mother from heartache.

Take care, A.



answers from Harrisburg on

i never had my kids in the high back booster- but that was basically b/c i was being frugal/cheap whatever you wanna call it - that being said - i honestly think that at 38pounds you and 4 you dont need the high back - but if you are more comfortable with that did you know that the (at least the gracos) high backs do separate to become the lower one.

i agree i LOVE graco's turbo boosters - also the nice thing now is that they come in different patterns and themes - at KMart you can get a dora; or diego or princess booster seat - thats what we got my 4.5 year old for his 4thbday - a diego carseat - he's so proud of it - plusit makes the transition into "Big boy/girl - hood" almost like a rite of passage!!

hope that helped!
S. w.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Sadly, a high percentage of car seat users have the wrong seat or have it installed the wrong way!
My advice to you: Be cautious of the decisions and changes you make to your car seat. Get your information from the people that are TRAINED and CERTIFIED on the subject. My son is 5 and weighs 43 lbs. I just attended a County Police car seat check b/c I thought I could remove the "high back" part. Boy was I wrong. Actually, because my back seat does not have headrests--the expert told me he still needed the high back part on the seat. In fact, the back actually needed to be RAISED higher than it was set. I was surprised but SO glad I attended the car seat check. Aside from the belt-positioning part of the seat, the high back makes sure that he will minimize any "whiplash" type effects upon an impact. I strongly recommend that you find a qualified organization in your area and take your daughter and her car seat to the checkpoint. It is worth EVERY second of the time it takes!
Start at to find a free and invaluable assessment NOW!



answers from Philadelphia on

I believe by law your daughter still needs the high back booster. My daughter is 4 and still has hers. The main benefit is that it positions the shoulder belt more appropriately for a child. We bought evenflo--you can find them at target, walmart, toys'r'us. They are very decently priced (I think ours was $50) We bought the one that has little lights on either side of the headrest. They definitely help on road trips because she can still play once it is dark. The other nice thing about these is that they convert to a booster really easily. Hope this helps.



answers from Philadelphia on

I also have a four year old, my problem is that my daughter is very tall for her age. in my mom's car, my dughter sits in a booster without the high back and she can get out of it. i bought a booster with a high back that has a removable bottom piece for when they are a little older.



answers from Harrisburg on

I would suggest NOT getting a booster seat. Go with one of the new car seats that are out that allows your child to continue to be in a 5 point harness up to 80 pounds or see. That would be the Britax Regent. They're not cheap, but until the rest of the companies catch up to the new states laws across the country, the 5 point harness car seats are MUCH MORE SAFE for you children. Need proof? Watch this video closely:

It's worth the money to have your child be safe. One of my triplets already grew out of his car seat that goes up to 40 pounds. It then can change to a booster. We refused so we saved the money for the Britax. He's now ready to be in a 5 point harness with a ton of space for his very large body and he loves it!

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets



answers from Philadelphia on

There are seets out there for an older child, you have to check the seats for the weight. It isn't hard to find and easier if you do a search on the internet than trying to do this at the store since the stoes only carry a limited stock.



answers from York on

Try here to answer your question:

The longer you can keep a child in a five point harness the safer they are. But your daughter is old enough and weighs enough to be switch into a high back booster.

Good luck with your decision.




answers from New York on

Two of my children are in booster seats and I love the Graco Turbo Booster and I love it. My son is about 65 lbs and my daughter is 50 lbs. My so is just about done with his, but he still likes to use it on long trips. It is nice and portable and easy to move from car to car (grandmoms). I think the seat is rated for 30 lbs and up with the back and 40 lbs and up if being used without the back. My daughter doesn't always like to use the back, but it is great on a long trip, because the headrest is great if they fall asleep. It is a reasonably priced seat. I believe it can be purchased with or without the back. My husband almost never has the kids in his car, but it is nice, because without the back the booster is small enough that when it is not used it really doesn't take up much room. good Luck.

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