Booster Seat That Your Child Can Sleep In...

Updated on April 08, 2010
M.D. asks from Wasilla, AK
11 answers

HI, my son is 4 years old, he'll be 5 at the end of July, he's around 46 lbs. and about 45 inches tall. He's been in a booster seat that has no back, that he just sits on to make him tall enough to use a seat belt with a should strap, so he does just wear the regular car seat belt. He's been doing this since he hit 40 lbs. at age 3. The seat is great and works for him, the only problem is that whenever he falls asleep his poor head just flops to his chest or his whole body leans over to one side or the other because there is nothing to support him. He doesn't fall asleep that often in the car, but we are looking at making a couple of long road trips in which he will inevitably fall asleep - one from WA to Utah for a wedding and later in the summer we are moving to Alaska and will be driving (we are planning on it taking 7-10 days).

So, here is my question: what do you great Moms recommend for a booster seat that will support his head/ be comfortable if he falls asleep in it? We've looked around and saw that there are some just like the booster we have but with a back support - but they look very straight and like we'd still have the problem of his head falling to his chest and not being that comfortable. And the others that look to have a little recline to them are huge and vary in cost and we just don't want to throw away money on a carseat that really wouldn't suit him, or his younger siblings - we just want to make sure we get our money's worth.

Thanks for any advice or input your have - we have tried putting a pillow by the window when we travel to Spokane and other times, and still my son looks like he just isn't comfortable or like he is fallling out of his seatbelt.


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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for all the great advice! I definitely have a sense of which specific boosters to look at and touch when I go to the store - so often you go to one store and buy the only option they have because you don't know what else is out there - now I definietly know what to look for. I also think that we are going to go for a 5-point harness system after hearing about how easy it would be for him to slip out of his seatbelt in an accident. I also want to pass along that someone mentioned the idea of purchasing a neck pillow for him and when I talked to my sister about it she said that she has one that she used for her kids, but put it on them backwards, so it wasn't around the back of their neck, but the front, to keep their head from sitting on their chest if they fall asleep. Anyway, thanks for all the help and advice - I really appreciate all of it!

Featured Answers



answers from Seattle on

I don't really have any booster recommendations - but would suggest that he can go back to a carseat. My son is 4.5 - 38 lbs and still rides in his carseat happily. If not for every car ride, maybe just for these long trips you anticipate taking. You can also try the graco convertible - it goes from a carseat (5 point harness) to booster with back to booster without a back - but it has a headrest that is pretty good.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Children should NOT ride in a booster seat until they are AT LEAST 4yrs old AND 40lbs. No back booster seats are for BIG kids, not 3yr olds, and the bare minimum on them is 4yrs old anyway. No back booster seats are the last seat a child should use, and should not be used until at least age 6. They offer ZERO side impact protection, and you see how his body slumps when he sleeps? In a crash it will be thrown to the side even farther and violently.

At his age and size, he should still be in a 5pt harness. There are many on the market right now that will fit his height and weight. Evenflo Generations 65 will harness him to 65lbs, fits most kids to age 6/7 in the harness, and is $99. It also becomes a high back booster seat. The Graco Nautilus is $150 and will harness most kids to age 7, and then becomes a great high back booster seat, and then a no back booster, to 100lbs. The Britax Regent is a great seat, we have one, and it will harness to 80lbs and most kids can easily use this seat until they are big enough for the adult belt alone (age 8, 4'9", 80lbs), and you can find this seat online for $150 or less. Its been discontinued in favor of a booster/harness combo seat.

If you insist on a booster seat for him, please please get him out of the no back booster seat. Again it offers no side impact protection and in a crash a child his age needs that. Regardless of his height and weight, his body is still that of a 4yr olds, and not mature enough for that type of restraint. A high back booster is second best at his age to a harness, but if you insist on a booster, get a high back.

A Graco Turbobooster fits small children well, and its around $50. Britax makes a booster ($120) with an anti submarine buckle between the legs that not only holds the lap belt down onto hte hips where it belongs, but it keeps children from sliding under the lap belt in a crash. We have a Sunshine Kids Monterey ($150) for our almost 8yr old, and we love it.

Again, he should really be in a harness, but the very least he should be using a high back booster seat. Please google SEATBELT SYNDROME, KYLE DAVID MILLER, BELLE'S GIFT, and EXTENDED HARNESSING for more information.



answers from Houston on

We have the Graco Turbobooster and it has little head rest flaps on each side, but I'm not sure how well they actually work. My daughter has fallen asleep in the car a couple of times since we've had the seat and her head does seem to lean to the side on the cushions, but I'm honestly not sure any booster seat will be super comfy for sleeping. Can't hurt for you to take a look at it. There are 2 price points for these and the more expensive ones have MUCH better cushioning. I think it was around $80.

Good luck!



answers from Casper on

Check this out first, I would prefer a 5 poing harness

If you go to this link, Safety 1st makes a 5 point harness that goes up to 50 pounds, and Britax makes one that goes up to 65 lbs. In either case, I think if your child is strapped in properly he should be able to sleep, since the straps will hold his body securely in place and he won't be flopping around as he dozes. A bit of an investment, but probably worth it in the long run.


answers from Denver on

To answer your question we have found a spectacular high back booster it is a tad pricey but it is soooo worth it. It is the Sunshine Kids Monterey Booster. We had a graco and his head still would flop forward but with the sunshine kids he sleeps with no problem and the sides are really sturdy a lot more than these other boosters. I loved it soo much that we replaced the graco in my husbands truck and got two of them and when my daughter is big enough we will get two more for her. The belt positioning is perfect across my sons chest, easily adjustable and has cup holders. It also has the latch for the base it differs though from the latch in car seats because its more to hold the seat in place so it doesnt fly if in an accident without a child in it.



answers from St. Cloud on

I think you should HIGHLY consider getting a 5 point harness instead of a booster.

Britax Regent goes up to 80 # and the child can be quite tall as well (don't remember the exact measurements.) We got one for our daughter about 6 months ago and she loves it. She just turned 5 at the end of March.

Research the safety of boosters compared to 5-points. Someone else just asked a question about car seats and a link was posted about a boy who died because his seat belt came unfastened in a crash. He was properly buckled in his booster. He was over the 40# weight limit of normal carseats so they put him in a booster. This could be a life or death decision that you make. Please do some research before buying another booster for him........... He is truely not big enough especially if it looks like he is falling out of his seatbelt...... Good luck.



answers from Boston on

My daughter uses the graco one...can't remember the name right now though. She does really well sleeping in it on long trips! Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Unfortunately I don't think any boosters are good for sleeping in , my daughter (age 4) is in a booster with a back and on the rare occasions that she falls asleep she still ends up slumped over with her head hanging.

I do agree with other posters though in that he shouldn't be in a booster with no back yet , he's not old enough , my eldest is 7 in June and I still have him in a booster with a back but using th car seat belt (my son only weighs 42lb). You don't need to go to great expense for a booster with a back , you can get the Graco for $40 , they have a back and you use it with the seat belt and then you can take the back of and use it as a regular booster once your son is old enough.

Hope this helps


answers from St. Louis on

We love our high back boster for our children. When they fall asleep it seems to be the right height for their head. The head part even goes up and down to adjust for shorter or taller children. If you want I can check out the brand if you send me a response.

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