Car Seats Need Help!!

Updated on February 21, 2010
A.V. asks from Lincoln, NE
13 answers

My son is about 33lbs. and is almost 41 in tall the height for his covertable seat less i believe. his head is way over the back and i was looking in to high back booster with uses a shoulder seat belt. i was wondering id any parents have done this due to height he is soo tall this could be hard decision to make!!!! i know there is 5 piont harness that goes to 100lbs but to keep mving the carseat and readjusts it it would be ideal if we can to go woth the high back booster option.

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So What Happened?

our son is 4.5 and is about 33lbs prolly gained more since his last time in :) I called his dr. and they said that the nebraska law is 4 years and they can be with out harness if you disire. we got a high back booster and we are going to try ot out and see if he will sit in it with issues. we have 20-40ls booster carseat with harness in our van and his ears are getting to where he is gettting tall enough for that one . but the convertable on he is way too tall for it with ihis ears and he isnt confortable in it . so here go to try ot out and if not i will go get a harness one that changes in to a belt postioned booster! any thoughts??

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answers from Minneapolis on

The Britax Frontier has a 5 point harness that will harness up to 85 or 100 pounds (I can't recall which). It also has an adjustable head rest so it will acocmadte even the tallest kids. Super safe.

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answers from Minneapolis on

You didnt say his age, but at only 33lbs, he needs ot remain in a 5pt harness.

A forward facing car seat is outgrown when the child goes over the weight limit, the shoulders go over the top harness slot, or the ears become level with the seat back. Most car seats are outgrown in height long before wieght, especially the traditional 40lb limit ones. People buy the '3-in-1' seats thining the will never need another, but are stuck when their 3yr old is too tall for it, and obviously not big enough for a booster seat.

ANYWAY, my youngest rear faced until he was 33lbs and 42" tall and 3yrs old. :) There are plenty of seats on the market that will harness your son for quite some time. I will list the ones that also turn into a GOOD booster, so you won't have to buy another seat for him. Notice I dont list the Alpha Omega, Safety 1st, etc because they make horrible booster seats, put the belt too far away from the child and put he lap belt up on the abdomen instead of down on the hips like it should be.

Evenflo Maestro- $99, will harness to 65lb and then becomes a good booster seat.

Graco Nautilus- $150 will harness to 65lbs and its a tall seat, so most kids can easily use this to 65lbs. It then becomes a high back booster and eventually a no back booster to 100lbs. GREAT seat, I highly recommend this one.

Britax Frontier- $280, will harness to 80lbs and then becomes a great booster to 120lbs.

These are the three I would recommend. Sure, you can put a 33lb kid in a booster... if you trust the box. But a child under age 4 AND 40lbs is 75% more likely to have head and abdominal injuries in a collision, even a minor one. Plus a child needs to be mature enough to sit properly, not move the belt, not sleep, and sit upright, leave the belt in front of them properly, ALL THE TIME, and a child under age 5 or so isn't mature enough for that.

My 4 yr old is 43lbs and 43" tall and is easily able to be harnessed in all the seats listed above. His current seat is a Britax Regent. another great seat, can find it on clearance right now for $150 online because htey have discontinued that style in favor of the Frontier. This will harness to 80lbs and kids can fit in this seat to age 8+ easily. My 7.5yr old can still fit in this seat at 52" tall.

If he's under 4 and 40lbs, keep him in a harness. Buy a new seat. You may only need it one time, but that one time you need it 100%, and you want him as safe as possible. A booster may seem like a good idea so you don't have to buy another seat, but if you buy smart you can get a seat that will harness him now for another couple years, and then use it as a booster when he's old enough and mature enough. he's safer in the harness, at his weight alone, he needs a harness.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I just bought this one for my 2.5 yr old. We needed a 2nd car seat since we got a 2nd vehicle. I chose this one because it still uses the 5 point harness and then when he gets big enough, he can just use it as a booster. I almost bought another regular car seat until I saw this. It was only $45 in store. HTH



answers from Minneapolis on

Our doctor suggested and actually "strongly suggested" keeping our son, who is 37lbs and tall in a 5 point harness until he is at least 40lbs then we can move to a high back booster. She said that even one or two (or in your case 7) pounds can make a difference in a crash. They need to have the height and weight to move up.



answers from Des Moines on

We had the exact same problem this summer when my son grew taller than the height limit of his convertible seat (general rule is tops of ears can't be higher than the back of the seat). He was not yet within the low end of the weight range for many of the highback booster seats, plus I had read a lot about the safety advantages of the 5 pt harness and wanted to keep him in one as long as possible. The Institute of Highway Safety just did testing on a lot of boosters and has lists of recommended/not recommended with a surprising number of seats not passing their tests. One of the issues is the seatbelt placement, which is much harder to control with a belt-positioning type booster, obviously. Check out

After a lot of research, I chose the Britax Frontier. We previously had a Britax Roundabout and I am very happy with the quality of the seats, although obviously they are more expensive than many. The advantage of the Frontier is that you can use the 5 pt harness up to 80 lbs (my son has a looong way to go) and then it can be used with a seatbelt up to 100 lbs. I'm hoping it's the last carseat/booster we'll need. It's a little harder to install than the convertible seat we had before, due to its size, but it's very easy to adjust the shoulder straps by sliding the back up and down (no rethreading straps).



answers from Sacramento on

Lots of high back booster models have a 5 point harness that then just gets removed when they are over the weight limit and you use it as a booster. Personally, I would resist the urge to go to a belt positioner when there are harnesses that will still hold your little guy. Even if you get a booster with a 40lbs limit on the harness, it'll keep him safe for a while more (that last 7 lbs can take forever... my son's was 33lbs a year ago and is still only 37lbs!) but there are more and more seats that harness to 65lbs and then work like a regular booster.

So... CAN you put a 33lb kid in a high back booster? Yes. SHOULD you? Well, if you really can't afford another seat with a harness, a booster is better than nothing, but a harness is so much safer for your boy.

Hope this helps.




answers from Detroit on

we bought a safety first seat that went up to 80 pounds.. 5 point harness then the belt positioner.. (I think itwas called the vantage??) we hated it and took it back..

we bought the graco nautilus... 5 point harness up to 65 pounds and belt positioner up to 100 pounds.. it is ok.. we dont like that the crotch strap falls down under the childs butt and you have to reach in and get it.. my daughter says it is uncomfortable.

we will probably buy britax seats for our other car.. we have britax roundabout that goes up to 40 pounds nd 40 inches.. and thekids are almost outgrowing them. they are 2 1/2 and 4 and tall thin children.

Britax makes a bigger seat.. we love our britax and have no complaints..

the 5 point harness is safer... and holds a squirmy kid better..keep him in a 5 point as long as you can.



answers from Minneapolis on

Our son is just over 3, weighs 33# and is 42 inches tall. We have the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 and love it. He is still in the harness and there is one or two spaces that we can raise it yet. He is very comfortable in it. We also have a britax Marathon that he still fits in but is at the tallest adjustment now. I really like the Nautilus as it is easy to use and install, has very good ratings and is less expensive (I paid $122 online at Wal-mart about a year ago) . It converts to a high back booster and then the back can be removed for use as a regular booster. I strongly recommend it!



answers from St. Louis on

Missouri law is also 4 years AND 40 pounds AND 40 inches to be in a booster seat - make sure you check your state law first. My 5 year old who is 41 inches, 30 pounds still sits in a 5 point harness carseat - much safer than the booster seat. (Their head can be above the carseat - they've outgrown it when the top of their ears are above the back of the carseat).



answers from St. Cloud on

After reading up on this issue (booster versus 5-point) we went with a Britax Regent. They were on clearance for like $159 (free shipping) from Albee Baby. Our daughter will be 5 in a month and weighs about 35# and was too tall for the carseat she had. We couldn't even get her strapped in any more it got so tight!

The Regent goes up to 80# and is VERY easy to adjust. In Mn, the newest law states that kids need to be in a carseat or booster till 8 years old now so we felt this was the best and SAFEST option. It will last till she is 8. The trouble with a booster is that kids can unbuckle themselves quite easily with a regular seatbelt. Or even in a crash, it can come unlatched. But if it's threaded through a carseat (or if you use the latch), your child will be safer. And most kids don't leave the shoulder strap where it belongs which then makes the seatbelt unsafe.

It is up to you, but I recomend the 5 point harness.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 34 pounds and 42 inches tall. I researched boosters because she wanted one. After reading all the information and speaking to a friends husband who is police officer I decided to keep her in the car sea.t We have a Britax Marathon (goes up to 49 inches and 65 pounds). He explained it was safer to keep them in a 5 point harness as long as possible. There are a few boosters that have a five point harness (Britax Frontier) I think would be very safe for him. Most other boosters that use the shoulder belt you have to weight 40 lbs so be very careful when looking at them. Best of luck.



answers from Duluth on

i have heard that the britax brand is for taller and bigger babies. check them out!



answers from Mansfield on

I don't know if it varies by state or if it is the law everywhere but ohio law is 4 years, 40 pounds and 40 inches! ALL 3 have to be before getting into a booster. A friend of mine has a tiny daughter who is almost 7 and barely weighs 37 pounds. She is way too tall for her car seat but her mom kept her in there until she started 1st grade. She has now moved to a booster only because it was beyond hard (funny to watch actually) for this little girl to get in her car seat (it was one with the tray that you pull down). She is like 45-46 inches tall trying to get in that thing!
I am sure with some research you can find a seat that is safe and tall enough for him!

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