Booster Seat - What One Is the Best...

Updated on January 28, 2008
S.A. asks from Cos Cob, CT
17 answers

My question is what to do about booster seats...

I have been going back and forth on which brand to get and when to get them (infant and convertible choices were so much easier)! Are there benefits to a more expensive model (Britax Monarch or Graco TurboBooster or Britax Regents)?

Right now our twin girls (4 1/4) are still in their Britax Marathons (they are 42" and weigh 43 pounds each). I really like the safety of the 5 point harness and feel that they are too small for the booster that just uses a seat I crazy?

We were looking at the Graco TurboBoosters and found there is one with a high back and then the upgraded model has the ability to take the back off and just make it a seat booster. Is this important to have? I just don't know...please advise!

Thanks so much in advance, S.

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answers from New York on

I have 4 1/2 year old twins (boy/girl) who are very big for their age. We have been using the Britax Regent seats for about 8 months now, and am very pleased with them. I love the fact that they have a 5 point restraint, and that they will accommodate my kids up to the weight of 80 pounds (I think that was the recommendation). These seats are, however, VERY bulky and heavy, so I would not recommend them if you have to transfer them often to a different car. My kids are very comfortable in them, and I feel at ease knowing that they are in the safest seats on the market.



answers from New York on

I tend to stick with Graco,

I have a 3 point harness,

BUT with twins , I could see the value of the 5 point,


I have 2 boys 3 and 21 months

ON occasion my 3 year old, JUMPS out of his 3 point harness

a reall safety issue, because I might have the key in the ignition on a cold day,


When unloading groceries, he jumps into the trunk of the minivan,

So I suggest the adjustable 5 point harness
in the Graco brand


More Answers



answers from Buffalo on

You're not crazy at all. Staying in a 5 point harness is definitely a lot safer than a belt positioning booster. Plus, another thing to look at is your twins maturity level--are they mature enough to sit properly in a booster?

I would go for the Britax Regent. I also have a Marathon right now for my daugther and plan to buy a Regent when she outgrows the Marathon. In case you didn't know, Britax has big sales (usually just online) in Feb and Sept of every year. I was able to get a Marathon for just $209 with no tax and free shipping from The Regents were on sale for the same price.

If you do decide to go the booster route, then I'd skip the Turbo booster and go for one with more side impact protection and don't get a backless! Ex: Recaro Vivo, Recaro Vivo Lite, Britax Monarch, Compass B510.

Another option would be the new Graco Nautilus seat. It's a seat that harnesses until 65lbs and then turns into a belt positioning booster. It also has taller harness slots than a Marathon so it would last your girls longer.

Here are some helpful links:

Graco Nautilus:

Recaro Vivo and Vivo Lite:,

Britax Regent and Monarch:,

Compass B510:



answers from New York on

I recently bought a booster for my daughter who will turn 5 next month. I also like the safety of a 5 point harness but I also wanted her to be more independent getting in and out of the seat. She is on the small side so I was leaning toward a 5 point but then I chose the Britax Parkway. I feel comfortable with her in it especially since it's for our secondary car that she only rides in for about 10 minutes, 3 times a week. A friend of mine has a 5 point booster that folds for easy transfer. But when I investigated it, it requires a LATCH equipped vehicle which we do not own. Here's the link for the company if you're interested.
My daughter rides in the Britax Marathon in our primary car which I will continue with until she outgrows it or complains about not being in a "big girl" seat.

M., mother of 2 girls turning 3 and 5 next month



answers from New York on

I am not sure if you are set in getting a booster seat, and I am not sure if this product is right for you, but I saw in my "One Step Ahead" catalog yesterday something to put on your car seats you have now that seems to make it more accomodating for the bigger child. Link:
Hope this helps. Good luck!



answers from New York on

I've been wondering the same thing myself...there seem to be a lot of new (and expensive) booster seats out lately. We had the Graco Turbobooster for my daughter- we always used the back until she was about 5. I'm keeping my son in the Marathon until he is 4 and then I guess I will use the Graco one for him as well.



answers from Syracuse on

I would ask your peditrician for his advice but I believe that at 40 pounds a 5 point harness isn't going to hold their weight....check the seat and the of the seat. I love my graco boosters I have 3 of them. I like that the back comes off and they can use it as they get older.



answers from New York on

We put our very thin, very tall 5 1/2 year old into a Britax Monarch last year, his 4 1/2 year old brother remains in a Marathon. For the older child the seat belt is positioned precisely where it should be, and the head rests are adjusted so he sleeps comfortably. I believe the safety angle is covered because of the appropriate placement of the seatbelt. We have always had Britax seats and love them.



answers from New York on

None of the Britax booster seats got very good ratings with Consumer Reports for safety, ease of use, etc. They recommended the Turbobooster so that's what I went with. It cost me $40 at Target and it's great! No complaints!



answers from Albany on

I have the Graco turbobooster for my 6 and 4 year olds. I like it a lot. I had the britax seats also - and really struggled.....but you know how much they cost! The Gracos are very affordable and I find to be sturdy. My 6 year old was in a 5 point harness until only a few months ago....I felt the same way about safety --but have felt confident enough to move the 4 year old up to the booster. Hope this helps!



answers from New York on

My daughter is 5 and I have her in the Graco Turbobooster.
I like the backing because it secures the seatbelt to guide it across her shoulder. The booster seat by itself causes the seatbelt not to cross her chest correctly. She is just not tall enough for the booster alone. And this way, when she grows I can get rid of the backing. I feel that the booster is safer with the backing.

Hope this helps you out!



answers from Rochester on

I went through the same thing a few months back with my then 4 1/2 year old daughter (who is on the small side 33 lbs and 40 inches), started to get too snug in the shoulders of her Britex, but I too liked the 5 point harness. We found that the Recaro Young Sport seat worked great for us. It has 5 point harness that she fits great in even now that she just turned five. Plus it can change to a booster with your cars shoulder harness and is rated up to 80 lbs (which may be junior high at her rate of growth). Plus it's made by the company that makes the race car seats that save all those drivers in the bad crashes. And has the best side impact crash rating. We had an accident with her in the car when she was 3 weeks old so we're a little paranoid about carseat safety.



answers from New York on

Asking your pediatrician is always the best first step. I was surprised how long ours suggested that our children stay in car seats before moving to booster seats. If you doctor recommends moving to a booster, I would have your girls test a few out to see how they fit and where the seat belt hits them.
Just my thoughts... mom of three, 14, 12 and almost 2!



answers from Albany on

Not crazy at all! They are safer in a 5 point harness as long as they are within the britax heigt & weight requirements.

When my 2 older kids were ready for a booster I went with the Graco backless turbo booster. It received the best safety rating according to testing done by consumer reports - whose testing methods and results I trust. I love the seats. They are easy to move from car to car. They make my kids feel like big kids and they have 2 cup holders each.

The only time I wish I had the seats with a back is when we are on long car trips. There is no where for them to rest their heads and they end up slumping quite uncomfortably.

Hope this helps.




answers from Syracuse on

I have the upgraded Graco Turbo and love it. I recently took off the back my daughter is 5 1/2

I got mine at Target online.



answers from Syracuse on

if they are 4.5 jmo but they are safe enough to just use the seat booster. i have used the high back graco before as well but also my kids went from the carseat with the big thing that sits in their lap-over the head and the fat cushioned bar that rests in front of them(instead of the 5 point harness, know what i mean?) right to the seat booster with no probs and both my girls are light-weighters. my 5.5 yr old is still in the seat booster. if you are using the 5 point harness still thats your choice. but the seat booster is my choice and its been perfectly safe for us. my 2 yr old is still in the first carseat i mentioned. shes my heavy one 28 lbs but shorter so i wont be putting her in a seat booster anytime soon.




answers from Glens Falls on

You still have 7 inches (give or take depending on torso height) before they need to be out of the marathons. I would defintely go with the regent for their safety. The longer they can stay in a 5pt harness, the safer they are and with an 80lbs weight limit, they could get good use out of the seats!

The US is screwy on car seat safety regulations. Many European countries require that kids remain rear facing until 2, 3, even 4 years old because it is safer. They certainly would not be out of a 5pt harness at the age of your girls!

Good luck mama and thanks for thinking so much about the safety of your beautiful girls!

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