Moving from Carseat to Booster

Updated on October 03, 2011
K.J. asks from Seattle, WA
16 answers

Hi All,
My son is around 36Ibs and will be 3 years old next month. When do you recommend he move from a carseat to a booster? Any information would be great!

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So What Happened?

I so appreciate all the information I received. Based off of what I learned I feel confident in keeping him in his car-seat until he is at least 4 years old. Thanks again!

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answers from Minneapolis on

The BARE MINIMUM is 4yrs AND 40lbs. He's not even close. :)

A forward facing car seat is outgrown when one of three things happens; the shoulders go over the top usable harness slot, the tips of the ears become level with the seat back, or the child goes over the weight limit. IF even one of these things happens the child has outgrown the seat nad it must be replaced.

Graco Nautilus is $150 and will harness ot 65lbs and then booster to 100. Most kids can use the harness to age 7.

He's much too young mama, don't make the switch. Keep him harnessed for at least antoher couple years.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Sacramento on

When he actually outgrows his carseat.

There's no reason to move him if he can still ride safely in the carseat. My son is 5 weighs 42lbs and is still in a harnessed seat (he has a Nautilus which goes to 65lbs). We DO have a booster I leave at his school in case I need someone else to pick him up last minute, but 95% of the time, he's in the Nautilus.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Stockton on

In CA it's 4yrs and 40 lbs (not "or") but I would keep him in a car seat longer if you can. Check your carseat's weight limits, most of them are higher than 40 lbs these days so you'll most likely be able to keep him in it rather than switching to a booster so early.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

They make seats that allow you to harness until 65 lbs so my 3 year old will be in a booster when he no longer fits in his nautilus harness we will convert it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think it varies from state to state. Here is Texas your child must be 40lbs AND 4 years old. A quick google search should help you find the info for your state.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I recommend you keep him in a seat as long as possible for safety reasons. My daughter has a Britax, it goes up to 100 pounds.
check out this website.
I went to a local store that had car seats & they fitted them there. Then I went online & bought it cheaper.



answers from Seattle on

I know is Washington it is at age 4. I doesn't matter how much the child weighs.



answers from Seattle on

last time i checked, booster requirements are 40 lbs and 4 years no, I would not move him! Those requirements are just a minimum - my son is 5.5 yrs, 43 lbs, 44 inches, and is still happy to be in his 5 point harness.



answers from Corvallis on

you've probably already had a lot of great suggestions. Pediatricians highly recommend that you keep kids in 5 point restraints until they can no longer fit. At this point they are moved to strictly a booster chair which they should stay in until an adult seat belt will fit them properly, this is usually when a child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age. We recently bought the Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 car seat and we really love it. We especially like that she can stay in a 5 point restraint until 65 lbs and lasts as a backless booster until 100lbs. good luck to you.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I know every other mom on this site disagrees but I moved every one of my grandkids, regardless of size to a booster at 3 because that is what is allowed here. I was really tired of fastening seat belts every time I got in or out of the car.



answers from Seattle on

He should stay in a 5 point harness as long as possible. You don't say what kind of carseat you use, but if it allows him to be in a five point harness until 50 pounds, then keep using it until 50 pounds. If it says 35 pounds, start looking for a carseat that will keep him 5pt until he's older. Some carseats also adapt from 5 pt. highback carseat to 5pt no-back booster.



answers from Detroit on

He should stay in a harness until age 5 or 6, but many seats will fit him longer.
A 3-year-old should never be in a booster. 4 and 5 are iffy.
Please keep him safe! :)



answers from Bellingham on

I agree...he's too young. Wait at least another year. It's worth it for HIS safety.


answers from Spokane on

He is not ready for a booster seat! My 5 yo daughter is 40+ and she's still in the type of seat that has a harness. My 50+ 7 yo just moved into a high backed booster seat. It's not worth their safety just to make things easier on yourself. And besides, if you are in an accident and it's discovered you're not using the right type of seat you can be held criminally negligent. My community has 4 nationally licensed carseat technicians and I'm blessed to know all of them. You would be amazed at just how much we as moms DON'T KNOW about carseats. Not only are there guidelines about choosing the right seat for your child but for your vehicle as well. The technician's big books on guidelines are several inches thick and it's small print. Like I said, it's just not worth your child's safety. Do some research on your own and also see if there are any technician's in your area. Make an appointment with them and they'll tell you you everything you need to know.


answers from Redding on

Don't take anyone's advice on this issue, read it for yourself. Only you can decide what you think is best. Please visit for the laws and regulations.

If I remember correctly they need to be 4 years old to move to a booster (with a back), but please check it out for yourself.


Don't take anyone's advice on this issue, read it for yourself. Only you can decide what you think is best. Please visit for the laws and regulations.

If I remember correctly they need to be 4 years old to move to a booster (with a back), but please check it out for yourself.


answers from Charlotte on

I moved my son to a high back booster just over a year ago when he was 3.5 the harness was just way to tight on him and was very hard to get him into. graco does make a high back booster that has a hole part in the side to lower the shoulder strap to fit properly.

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