Carseat Suggestions for a Stringbean?

Updated on July 07, 2009
M.L. asks from Lenox, MA
9 answers

Hi there! I'm hoping you all can help.

My 4y.o daughter is long and lean and really needs to be in a booster seat. I feel really hesitant to put her in something that doesn't have the 5 point harness system which greatly limits my options. She is something like 3.5 feet tall and just under 40 pounds. We've mostly been considering the Sunshine Kids line of seats. We like that they are safe and that they allow 3 in a row, but I don't know the height limitations on the radian 65/80. I don't want to buy a seat that she is too tall for, or have the harness system become too small too quickly b/c of her height. I'm wondering if that companies booster seat (without the harness system) is any safer than a cosco brand? And does it work with the 3 in a row factor?

Maybe I should be asking if I'm crazy and should just not worry about putting a skinny little kid in a typical booster seat and using the car's buckle system?
I've just heard horror stories of children being thrown from their seats and not really being secure with a regular strap across them.

The sunshine kids seats are so pricey, so I keep holding back.
Any feedback?

thanks so much =)

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

i would post the same question on, they have mom's and car seat technician/advisors who respond. They will give you recommendations on brand and other safety concerns. good luck!!

More Answers



answers from Boston on

Hello M.,
You may want to check out the Graco Nautilus 3 in 1. It has a 5-point harness and converts to a booster later. It's extremely highly rated for safety. It's on sale at Babies r Us right now and I think it has a very high height and weight limit. We only have two children so width of the seat wasn't really an issue for me, but it does fit well in my tiny Mazda 3. Good luck!



answers from Providence on

We have both - the Sunshine Kids for the car that has 3 across and the nautilus for the one that doesn't. I recommend them both - I think I would go for the Radian only if I needed the space though. Not for any specific reason but you are right - it is expensive.



answers from Springfield on

Robin quoted me down below so I won't say the same thing over again :p

I will address a few things though. For the mama with a 17 month old; mama, your baby needs to be in a rear-facing convertible, not a forward-facing seat. At 17 months old, the wrong sort of accident could be lethal to a one year old in a forward facing seat.

To the mama with the Radian 80, I just wanted to clarify a point; it is NOT a booster, it cannot be used as a booster. It is ONLY a convertible (faces the rear of the vehicle and turns around to face the front of the vehicle, with a harness, NOT as a booster).

Also, although the Radian is rated to 80 pounds, no 80 pound child is going to fit in it. The top harness position will be outgrown when the child is between 5 and 7 years of age. Only very overweight children will ever reach 80 lbs in a Radian.



answers from Boston on

No good answer but I'll be watching the replies since I'm in for this in the future (my 17 mo dd is a tall thin girl!).

But how about if you call your local fire station and make an appt with the car seat installer... and pick their brain. What they've seen, how to adjust for a tiny peanut, better/worse booster seats, for your car/your babe. I'm in Norwood and our local guy was truly awesome! So full of info, I could have spent all afternoon talking with him. About car seats, that's how personable and knowledgeable he was.

Good luck!



answers from Boston on

Hi M.,

I recently wrote in asking about the britax frontier and the graco nautilus. I too feel very strongly about using a 5 point harness as long a possible. This response is thee one I found most helpful. (I doubt you can use either of the seats 3 in a row, and they cost ~ $279 -britax and $179 for the nautilus) I just ordered the frontier from tax and they have 10% off car seats right now :)

Here's a page that tells you the frontiers 5 point harness height limits:

Good luck

Here's the post:

I'm a Child Passenger Safety Technician and I have used both these seats.

Firstly, they're both wonderful, and I would recommend either of them without reservation. That being said, they both have their little lists of pros and cons.

The Nautilus has a 65 lb limit on the harness while the Frontier has an 80 lb limit. However, they have identical top harness heights. Both seats will be outgrown before most kids reach 60 pounds, because a seat is outgrown by height when the shoulders reach the top harness position.

The Nautilus has a 6 year expiration as a harnessed seat and a high back seat, and the backless booster portion has a 9 year expiration.

The Frontier has a 9 year expiration overall, and does not convert to a backless booster, however, as a high back booster it adjusts higher than any other booster on the market today, and will fit most adult women comfortably.

The Frontier is LATCHable in booster mode, the Nautilus is currently not (although Graco has flipflopped on this a few times).

The Nautilus has a wonderful cupholder, and the Frontier's cupholder is middling.

The Nautilus has four harness positions and the Frontier has nine, this means the Frontier will get you a more precise harness fit more of the time than the Nautilus.

The Nautilus is EXTREMELY easy to install in almost all vehicles, and the Frontier has some definitely installation quirks.

The Nautilus requires 100% of the base to be on the vehicle seat, and the Frontier requires only 80%, so the Nautilus isn't a good fit for pickups with small back seats.

Now that you are moving your 14 month old to the Marathon, remember that she should still be rearfacing. We don't recommend forward facing at 1 and 20 anymore. Most kids should fit rearfacing till around 3 to 4 years depending on size.

Also remember that if you bought the Marathon when your son was a baby, it will expire in three years or so. :)



answers from Boston on

I have to agree with the Nautilus recommendations. We just bought a second Nautilus for our 5 yr old after loving the one we got our 3 year old. My 5 yo is just over 40 inches so the other seat she was in required her to be switched to the booster with the car belt and I couldn't stand it. Every time I looked at her in it, I worried. I watched a crash test on youtube that compared booster to harness and I was convinced. She was in the belted booster less than a week before we had the nautilus in instead! I say you are crazy NOT to keep her in the harness and YES, you should be concerned about it. Safety of your kids is a big deal! The Nautilus is a great price, comfy and it will last. BTW- got mine on last week for 143.99 - which is less that BRU on sale!



answers from Boston on

Hi M.,
We have just started using the Radian 80 and love it. Our son is 2 years old, 30 lbs. and 34 inches. The seat not only fits a child up to 80 lbs, but also 53 inches. It does not have high sides (no arm rests), so I can easily see it working as a booster for an older child. The hig back is graet. Easy to adjust. I don't know much about the boster line, but they look supportive. Good luck.



answers from Boston on

I highly suggest the graco nautilus 3-1. It has gotten excellent saftey ratings, is adaptable for children from 20-100 pounds, has a 5 point harness up to 65 pounds, as they get bigger it converts to a seatbelst booster and then a backless booster, and best of all it is not all that expensive. I found the best price on with free shipping.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches