Booster Seat or Highback Booster?

Updated on August 17, 2011
B.F. asks from Millbury, OH
10 answers

My 6 yr old DD is 40.2 pds and 47 inches tall...should I keep her in the high back booster (it is a 3 in 1 convertible) that uses a shoulder strap OR should I buy her a regular 24.99 booster base seat? The reason on considering a booster seat is #1 because my 2 girls fight over who will get the pink seat and this way they will both be happy. #2 My 6 yr old wants a booster seat and #3 because if someone needs to ride with me the regular booster base seat is easier to remove and put in since it is only held in while she is strapped in. I don’t want to reduce safety so what are your thoughts?

On that do you all feel about her riding rollar coaster rides at Cedar Point? She has 2 that she is TALL enough to ride BUT I feel it is still unsafe for her because she is so small and thin BUT my hubby says she will be fine.

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So What Happened?

Our sitters hubby is a fire chief so I can have him look at it, then he can "authorize" who uses whch seat. They should agree with that and stop bickering. Technically the "pink" seat is safer for her because our other car seat the straps are well below her shoulder line and more suited for our younger DD. The pink carseat also has a removable back but until her head exceeds the top we will leave it on...

I already knew the answer in my head just sometimes I second guess myself. I see my sister and alll my friends using the regular boosters since they were 3 and my DD is 6...I thought I was just being overprotective.

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answers from Seattle on

My 49 in 65 lb 6 year old is in the britax frontier, which will keep her in a 5pt harness to 85lbs, that's how "overprotective" I am. We were in a fatality accident when she was a year old, I'm not taking any chances when it comes to safety. After that it will use the belt to 120. She will probably never be in a backless booster!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, the "pink O." and "happiness" have nothing to do with this decision. Take your car, your girls and the seats you have to a local inspection site and do what is SAFEST!
7 out of 10 people use the wrong seat or install seats improperly.
So...even though there are great gals on this site, are you really looking for "opinions" here?
Call your local police/fire dept and find YOUR inspector and GO there!
Good luck!

*ETA* Just becasue he's the fire chief, doesn't mean he is qualified to "look at" your seats...ask him who is CERTIFIED just to be safe.

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answers from San Francisco on

With belt-positioning boosters, one of the key factors is, not surprisingly, how well does it position the lap and shoulder belt on your child. The 3 in 1 seats like the Cosco/Eddie Bauer Alpha Omega tend to do a very poor job of positioning the seat belt on the average child (tends to place the lap belt too high up, over the soft abdominal tissue, rather than low across the tops of the child's thighs - please see the article and photos at this link:

Is your 6yo using this seat as a harnessed seat or as a belt-positioning booster? If she's using it as a booster (lap/shoulder belt without the 5 point harness) please check how it positions the seat belt on her. Chances are that she would be better off with a different booster. If she's still using it as a 5-point harness seat, please check that her shoulders are still at or below the harness slots as many of the 3 in 1 seats have relatively short top harness slots that are frequently outgrown before the child has the size and maturity for a belt-positioning booster (and in many cases the top slot of the seat is to set the seat up as a booster and is not for the 5 pt harness - please check your manual about this).

Depending on your budget - if you wish to keep her in a harnessed seat (Carseat dictionary moment - techically, a "Booster Seat" refers to a belt-positioning booster, which has no 5-point harness and only positions the vehicle's seat belt on the child; a forward facing seat that can be used as a harnessed seat or a belt-positioning booster is called a "Combination Seat" - the confusing thing is that car seat manufacturers themselves frequently call these seats "booster seats"!), some good "Combination seats" recommended by certified child-passenger safety techs (CPSTs) for how well they work both as harnessed seats *and* as belt-positioning boosters are, in order from least to most expensive, the Evenflo Maestro (about $80 retail), Graco Nautilus (about $160 retail), and Britax Frontier85 (about $240 retail).

If you feel she has the size and maturity to use a belt positioning booster, some that are frequently recommended by CPSTs for positioning the belt well on smaller booster riders include the highback Graco Turbo Booster (I've seen them recently at Costco for around $30), the Britax ParkwaySG (has a "SecureGuard" clip that attaches to the lap portion of the belt to prevent smaller booster riders from "submarining" under the lap belt in an accident).

(and BTW my 9YO twin DD's still use boosters and will continue to do so until they pass the "5 step test" described here: ). Yeah, I'm one of *those* kinds of moms ;-).

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answers from Seattle on

High back booster w/ 5-pt harness for sure. At 6 years and 40 pounds, she's just a waif - she would not be safe even in a low-speed collision in a booster alone.

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answers from Kansas City on

If she only weighs 40.2 lbs, I would keep her in a 5pt harness. Like the Britax Frontier 85. We are going to be buying one for our 45lb 42 inch tall 3.5 year old in the coming months.

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answers from Buffalo on

well you have options:
1. Yes you could fo to a ordinary booster, less expensive and would stop the bickering
2. If you are looking for safety there are Booster/car seats that hold in the 5 point harness up to 65 lbs. My 8 yr old is still in one. They say the longer you can keep them in the harness the safer they are, so yes he is still in one. (Apex 65)

It really is up to you in the end.

Good luck!

Yes we all need the reasurance, My son complains all the time that his friends do not have to sit in a seat at all. I tell him that I must really love him alot then if I want him safe. Last time I know it was recommended that all kids are in a booster seat until 4'9" well he is still 6" short of that so he needs to grow.

Checking with the Fire Man is an awesome idea.

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answers from Denver on

High back seat. Hands down.

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answers from Milwaukee on

I would do what is SAFEST for your girls, do not give in or go by what they want. In this case do what is right and safest for your girls & your family.

My daughter just moved to a backed booster seat, she just turned 5 years old and is 41 pounds height 3 1/2 ft tall. She had out grown the safety features on her other 5 point harness car seat, that is the ONLY reason why we got her a new one. The back of the booster seat is removeable when she outgrows the height of it so it will then just be a backless booster (guessing we will use just the booster when she turns 7ish).

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answers from St. Louis on

I would stick with a high back normal booster seat. These are easily moveable if need be. Our high back booster seats also have lights in the headrest for winter reading. LOL It is called the pimp seat now.

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answers from Rochester on

I took the back off my daughter's booster seat when she was four. Now she's about 47 inches and 53 pounds...and still riding in it, of course, at six and a half. Does the back not come off your booster? Check around the base and back of it and see...most of them, I think, do. :)

On the ride daughter did fine this year, but last year they "said" she was tall enough for this ride that I went on with her, and I spent the WHOLE TIME trying to hold her down in the seat because she literally was going to fly out. It was the scariest two minutes I've ever had with her, and my body was so sore from fighting against gravity to hold her down. If your nervous, maybe wait.

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