Looking for a GOOD COMFY BOOSTER for My 4 Year Old!!!!

Updated on March 04, 2009
L.W. asks from Clarksville, TN
16 answers

Good Morning MOMS & DADS!!!
So we are once again looking for a really COMFY & SAFE booster seat!! I have a soon to be 5 year old and I can no longer put her in her car seat buckled up with all her winter gear on!! However, the one we have is like sitting in a HUGE PILLOW!!! I just can't seem to find anything that is not 400 that looks safe and comfy!!! We do take a LOT of road trips, so I was really looking for one that had the things on the side to help protect her neck & head if she should fall asleep. Also, I have noticed that there are now some with the 5 point harness through 60 pds, I LIKE THAT!! And they also have the side impact protection. GOSH ... they make EVERYTHING SO DIFFICULT!!! Oh yeah ... she is a TINY lil thing ... SKINNY MINNIE ... so we need something to protect her!!!
I am really looking for suggestions and what works best for some of you!!! You guys have always been there when I needed you SO THANKS SO MUCH FOR EVERYONE'S HELP & COMMENTS!!!!

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M.T.

answers from Wilmington on

Hi there!
Try www.hipmonkey.com (or may be .org)
Also, I have read that children SHOULD NOT be strapped into their carseat with heavy winter coats on as the coat diminishes the safety of the seat belt. I dress my boys in long sleeve tshirts and lightweight pullover and bring the coats along with M.. With the heat on in the car, they stay nice and warm ;)

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S.W.

answers from Lexington on

ADDED NEW INFORMATION ON TO BOTTOM OF RESPONSE

You have said that your daughter is 4 going on 5. Will she be entering kindergarten in the fall? I know that you want a safe and comfy carseat, but when my children started school they began to see friends who rode in smaller booster seats and sometimes no carseat at all. My children are 6 and 10 and I still make my 6 year old ride in a booster seat - she really does not want to. She wants to be a big kid. Our state laws require a booster seat until children are 7 years old and meet certain height and weight requirements.

If your daughter will be entering kindergarten soon - I'm not sure that I would go for a big car seat. Just because she may soon see other kids her age riding in something smaller and begin to associate her seat as a "baby" seat and then it might be a battle to get her to ride in it. Especially if other kids her age are riding in the same car and are not riding in such a big seat. If that were to happen could you endure the battle and make her ride in her seat or would you opt to buy a smaller booster seat? Can you afford to buy more than one seat? I do not know of any booster seats that really look soft and comfy.

You have also said that you do a lot of traveling and that you are having trouble buckling the seat with her thick winter coat on. Would you consider a booster seat for her to ride in for short around the town trips, but use her current seat for longer trips when you could take her coat off while in the car.

If you get a booster seat consider one with big loops for the shoulder belt to easily pass through. We had one with a small area for the shoulder belt to pass through and our son would lean forward and then the strap would get caught and not go back into position. We would have to stop and pull the shoulder strap back. It was a big car seat that could convert to a booster - I quit using it as a booster and went and got a booster seat with a back made by Graco.

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After I sent my message this morning I was running errands and stopped in at Big Lots (don't know if you have one close) but they had a really nice looking seat made by Cosco it is an Alpha ? Apex 65 I believe and they had it priced in the mid 80 dollar range. It looked comfy and went up to 100 pounds and had a harness system and could convert to a nice booster. I think that it would be worth looking into. As far as carseats that convert to boosters it is one of the nicer more plusher ones that I have seen. When I just tried to look it up on the internet I found a similar seat that was made by Safety 1st named Alpha Apex 65 and it was close to 130 dollars at Target (It could be the same seat).

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J.T.

answers from Louisville on

L., I don't really have an option for you except the one my son, who is 4, has used since he was 2...it's the car seat with the 5 point system, snaps at the chest and 2 snaps between the legs. Not sure if that tells you anything! He's small, too and it has the sides for the head when he gets tired. We're from TX so are used to traveling. I mostly wanted to say thank you and ask you to send your hubby a thank you as well. I'm a military wife and truly appreciate all they and YOU do for us and our country. I wish him well and if you ever need to cry, scream or just blow off steam, give me a buzz! I'm always available for our troops and their families. ly and take care. [email protected]____.com

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J.K.

answers from Raleigh on

Generally speaking, a child should not wear a heavy winter coat in a car seat or booster, unless it can be compressed enough by the straps that the straps are no looser with the coat than without. Why? Because in an accident, the coat will compress, which will cause the straps to be loose on the child, which renders the car seat useless. The child can fly out of the seat because of the loose straps.

http://pediatrics.about.com/od/carseats/a/0107_wintercoat...

http://www.kyledavidmiller.org/pages/3003/Car_Seat_Safety...

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=29772

For her safety, it is best to keep her in a 5 point harness as long as possible. If she is still within the height and weight limits for her current seat (and as long as the seat is not expired), she is safer in it than in a booster.

If you do need a new seat, check here for recommendations:
http://www.kyledavidmiller.org/pages/3137/Our_Recommended...

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S.M.

answers from Raleigh on

We just went through this with my daughter. She will be 4 next week but she is very tall for her age and weighs 45lbs. We use a Britax Marathon which has always been great and I felt, very safe. I did not want to move her into one of those belt positioning boosters, they just didn't feel safe to me. I opted to spend the money and get the Britax Frontier. I am very pleased. She seems very comfortable and is secure in the 5 point harness. The Frontier also converts to a belt positioning booster and backless booster when the kids are big enough. That being said.. I read the reviews before buying this seat and alot of people had trouble installing this seat. It is true. We could not install the seat in the middle position of our car. But it was fine on the side. I would highly recomend this seat though. There are only a few coices out there when the kids get bigger to keep them in a harness. Good luck.

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M.W.

answers from Raleigh on

L., Thank you for you looking out for your daughter's safety before anything else!
I have read reports on accidents involving children that are in "booster seats" at too young of age or too little weight requirements. The only thing that she should be in is a great, safe 5-pt carseat.
My children don't wear their coats while harnessed, we put their coats on before they leave the car. It's too much all around them and securing them properly.
I also tether my carseats (your local police or firestation can assist you) this is the best possibly way to know your child is secure.
I wouldn't think of moving her to a booster until she's of age and weight. Our carseats go up to 65 pounds. I would do a Consumer Report Review. Britax makes incredible carseats, Graco also makes some very good ones too, which can cost less. I haven't bought one in about three years, as you know things change!!
Really, if she's so LITTLE, don't think twice about it, keep her in a Carseat!!! I recommend Graco!
I'm with your on comfy. Look at target, we got one as a gift, but it's a child size neck support, so when they nod off, this is a little head rest that wraps around their neck for support. You might find it at a WalMart or Target or online! I'll look for you and post it to you. This would add comfort for her rides.
I wish you all of the best. God Bless you what a great person you are, your DH for what he is doing for all of us, and your DD! You all will be in my prayers!

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L.S.

answers from Jacksonville on

I just went through this! I have a 5 yr old daughter who needed a new booster seat. The one I bought had no sides and when we went on vacation, he head would bob and she could not sleep. I also have a 3 yr old son who is very short. His old car seat made his legs fall asleep and leaned back to far. I found Evenflor Chase car seat/booster seat. The kids need to be 38" to use the lap belt safely, but it has latch and a easy 5 pt harness for smaller kids. They sit up straighter, but not to straight enought for there head to bob when they sleep and it has sides for their head to rest on. I believe it is also side impact rated. It costs about $60.00 or so at Walmart. I could not find it at Toys r us/Baby r us or sears. Good luck!

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T.C.

answers from Knoxville on

Regardless of the brand or style you purchase, you can still purchase foam to put under the cover of the seat. You can purchase foam in different thicknesses and it is easy to cut with scissors to fit the seat. Sometimes the biggest difference seems to be how much padding is added to the seat under the cover. This helps greatly on long trips.

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S.M.

answers from Tulsa on

Hi L.! I just had to move my son from his infant seat. I researched online forever it seemed! The one I ended up choosing is The Graco Nautilus. It has the 5 point harness to 65lbs, it goes into the booster with the back, and then you can take the back off and it's a booster up to 100lbs! It also can recline a little, which I do so that if my LO falls asleep his head doesn't lean forward. It seems very comfortable for him! He never complains when we go to put him in it!

It also has a cup holder and two little cubbies on the side so you DD can keep her stuff in it. I got it at Wal-Mart, and it was $180, it seems like a lot, but using it up to 100lbs I think you'll get your money worth!! You oughta go to thier website and look at it.

I hope that helps a little at least! Good luck in the hunt!!

Sammi

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A.H.

answers from Nashville on

We just bought a Graco Turbobooster Safe Seat from Toys R Us. We upgraded to the one with the comfort foam because we travel a lot, too. The Institute for Highway Safety recently tested booster seats. You can check online to see the results for the tests. Many of the best seats were out of our price range or not made at this time. The Graco Turbobooster was on the good list.
Doublecheck that your daughter is big enough to be safe in a booster seat. You said that she is tiny so it might be safer to take off the winter coat and keep using the car seat. We have always removed the coats before buckling because the coat inhibits the seat from working properly. We learned this from the safety seat installers that checked our installation.
Good luck!

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E.E.

answers from Nashville on

I have a little skinny minnie too, and what I've researched is that keeping them in a 5 pt harness is the very safest! There's this scary video on utube that decided for me...don't have the link... Mine isn't quite even old enough to be in a booster (3 1/2 and very tall) but I went ahead and invested in a big carseat that actually attaches to the car (unlike the boosters that are held in place by the seat belt). It's comfy and roomy! I did buy some little "pillows" that attatch to the straps for her head to fall on when she sleeps.
I love it, and she does too right now...I don't know what she's going to think if her friends start sitting in booster types though--I think the one I got is up to like 100lbs. It's a Britax Regent---got it new on ebay, so wasn't as expensive as if you bought it at toys r us or another retail store...good luck!

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K.S.

answers from Raleigh on

I think my daughter got the evenflo at Walmart. It has a high back and head protector, and a place for a drink cup. It was inexpensive. I have a Britax booster, it was expensive, and I think I like hers better. Our granddaughter is slim too.

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J.S.

answers from Lexington on

We went with the Britax Frontier since it had the five point harness. She can use the 5 point harness until she is 80 lbs and then the seat converts to a booster until 100 lbs. It is expensive; but they just had a Britax sale and we paid $229 (saved $50). Our daughter says it feels good, she likes the cupholders and armrests and that it is pink. I would go to elitecarseats.com. They have alot of info on their site. If you order from them you can pay one dollar more and then if you need to return your seat you pay no return shipping. I would stay away from tinyride.com. We ordered a booster from them and had to return it. It was quite a hassle and we had to pay $20 to ship it back. Then they charged us for the free shipping they gave us to send it to us since we returned it. Hope this makes sense. Good luck.

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S.F.

answers from Wilmington on

Our little boy will be 5 in July. He weighs in at 40 pounds and is 43 inches tall. We purchased this for him last fall I believe it was and it has been wonderful. It has the 5 point harness and then transforms to a high back belt positioning booster, and then into a no back booster.

We've made a few long trips with this seat and he has slept great in it.

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Multiuse Car Seat. Here is a link that shows the pictures and give more info on it: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=8112222

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E.K.

answers from Jacksonville on

We recently moved our daughter to a booster seat because of similiar issues. My daughter was in a booster that had the 5 point harness and we hated it and so did she..she said it was uncomfortable (she kept saying she wanted a soft seat) and it was difficult to tighten correctly. We recently switched to the Recaro Vivo, they also sell a Vivo lite which is just a different fabric. My daughter loves the seat...it has lots of padding and the side impact protection you were asking about. What I love about the side impact protection is that it not only keeps her safe but gives her a place to rest her head on long car trips, which we take frequently. We chose the Recaro because of their reputation for making the best automobile safety seats, in fact in my research I found that Recaro is the company Nascar uses to make all their safety seats. Best of luck with your booster seat selection.

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L.C.

answers from Raleigh on

Britax Fronteir is great if you have almost $300 to spend for 1 seat.We have 2 kids and 4 Godkids, so for our Godkids we went with Recaro Vivo, had great reveiws, safe and comfy and all 4 were $299:)

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