Moving to the Next Car Seat

Updated on September 29, 2009
T.A. asks from Minneapolis, MN
14 answers

I am looking for a little advise/suggestion about moving my 3 yo to the next car seat. We currently have an Evenflow Convertable car seat, and have been very happy with it. My son who is 10 months needs to get out of the infant car seat before he looses any toes. We have been looking at Booster Car seats, both that still use a 5 point harness and others that have the high back but use only the car seat belt. My daughter is 38 lbs and I believe you can use the car seat belt at 40 lbs. Any suggestions out there on car seats people would recommend? I appreciate the help!

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answers from Madison on

My almost 7 year old is still in a 5 point - the Britax Regent. I also have my 3 year old in the Regent. It's large and heavy, but fits 22-80 pounds. Stay in a 5 point as long as possible.
Good luck.

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answers from Minneapolis on

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep your daughter in a 5pt harness for as long as you can. This is sooo much safer than just a seat belt.
We have the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 for my 2 youngest kids (will be 6 & 2 next month). My son who will be 6yrs old still rides in the 5pt harness. He is also tall for his age. I know the Britax have 5pt harness ones that go to a high weight limit as well, but we couldn't afford those.
Once your daughter outgrows the 5pt harness, she would use the seat belt with the back and than the seat belt with just the booster seat bottom.
Again, I can say enough, please keep your daughter in a 5pt harness until she outgrows it.....

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answers from Janesville-Beloit on

I SO agree with all the suggestions you have gotten to PLEASE continue to rear face your little one (I see you've already gotten the video I would have sent on extended rear facing!!) And PLEASE keep your older child in a 5 pt. as LONG as possible! I see you have already recieved 1 video on this. This is the organization that I love to send people information on, please look at it and scroll down and watch the video! Good luck to you! I know it's a lot of info to take in.

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answers from Des Moines on

You will get a lot of responses on this. I won't tell you what you should do but i will tell you what i plan on doing. My son is 18 months old and he is still rear facing. He weighs 25.5 lbs and his seat is able to be rear facing to 40 lbs. at 40lbs or when he gets to tall to be rear facing i will turn him around. his seat is forward facing to 65 lbs and i intend to keep him in the 5 pt harness until he is that weight my sons seat is the Graco my ride 65.

I love it and so does my son. it took me 4 mins and 30 seconds to install (i timed because reviews said it was difficult to install) it is only about 160 dollars and worth every penny. my son also has the evenflo titan in his fathers car it is rear to 35 and forward to 50. i much prefer the Graco. good luck with your decision!

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answers from Minneapolis on

we have the Britax Frontier and it is FABULOUS! You can use the 5 pt harness until your child reaches 80 LBS! Then you can use just the seat belt. Here is the web site to check it out.

It cost more than the Graco carseat but it hands down a better seat. Go check out the difference at babies r us. I always used Graco car seats until I saw the difference in person. Hope this helps.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Ditto Kelly, at 3yrs ld her body is not mature enough to handle the adult belt only with a booster seat. Most booster seats with the 5pt harness (called a combo seat) will only harness to 40lbs, then you must use he adult belt. It would be silly to spend that money on something you can only use for 2 more pounds.

The Graco Nautilus will harness to 65lbs (my 7yr old just outgrew the harness in height on this seat, he's 52" tall)but my 3yr old is 42" tall and has 2 harness slots and 25lbs to grow before he would outgrow this seat. Its around $150 (and you can find super cute girly ones at Target or Babies R Us online for $170). It fits most kids in the harness until age 7+, then becomes a high back booster to 100lbs, and then a no back booster to 100lbs. The harness and the high back booster have a 6yr lifespan, and the no back has a 9yr lifespan, so it is literally the last seat your child will need, as she needs to remain in a harness or booster until she is 8yrs old, 4'9", or 80lbs.

Some other options are the Cosco Apex65. This will harness to 65lbs then becomes a high back bosoter. Can be found at Big Lots for $80, or online at for $100 or under. This seat is quirky in you MUST Have an adjustable headrest or at least 33" tall seat backs to use it.

The new Evenflo combo (Generations or Symphony) will harness to 65lbs then becomes a high back booster. The top harness slot seems to be just a tad higher than the 40lb harness Generations, but its a good seat for $99, and can be found at Babies R Us. It doesn't make the best booster seat though with the adult belt, so the other seats are better choices.

If you want a higher priced seat, the Britax Frontier will harness to 80lbs and then becomes a great booster seat. Its around $279.

Those are the only seats I would recommend for your daughter at her age and size. She will be able to remain in the harness for at least another 3yrs and then use them as a booster. I would recommend the Graco Nautilus above the rest, for the price, usability and versatility.

A car seat is outgrown rear facing when the child has less than one inch of shell above their head (the hard car seat), or they go over the rear facing weight limit. Its best to remain rear facing until 35lbs, most convertibles will rear face to 35lbs, one goes to 40 and one to 45 in the USA. Feet touching the seat are NOT a problem, but your child can be too tall to rear face, but only the top of the head less than an inch from the seat means your child is too tall.

A car seat is outgrown forward facing when the childs shoulders go over the top harness slot, the ears become level with the seat back, or the child goes over the forward facing weight limit for the harness.



answers from Minneapolis on

My son just turned 3 and is 39 pounds. He is currently sitting in a high back booster which is put out by eddie bauer. He loves the seat. He no longer feels like he is sitting in a baby seat and enjoys riding in the car now. The model we have has lights on both sides so if we are driving at night he can look at a book. The most important thing to look at is to make sure that the seat is rated for her weight. Several high back boosters start at a weight of 40 or 45 pounds, ours starts at 35 pounds. If you go with one that is not a 5 point harness make sure she leaves her arm in the belt. We struggled with that at first but he no longer takes his arm out cause he knows if he does we will move him back to the other seat. Good luck



answers from Duluth on

i dont really know how to help you, but i thought i should mention that the talk is now to keep kids rear facing as long as humanly possible, 18 months or longer.

no matter what you end up doing remember that the top buckle of a 5 pt harness MUST be at the level of the child's armpits/chest/nipples. NOT AT THE BELLY.



answers from Minneapolis on

We have the Sunshine Kids Monterey Booster. Love it. It features one of the highest height and weight limits - 30 - 120lbs and 38" - 63.



answers from Wausau on

I would get one with the 5 point harness that can be removed once she reaches the weight limit for it (usually 40 pounds). Then you can use the same seat as a belt positioning booster seat. Depending on where you live, she may need to be in a booster seat until age 8 so you want one that will last. YOu may want to look for one that has an adjustable back as well - especially if she is tall.



answers from Madison on

While you can move your child to a backed booster at 40 lbs. honestly, you shouldn't. A child's body is just not developed enough to withstand the forces of a crash with just a lap/ shoulder belt for protection.

My recommendation would be to move her to a larger seat that uses a 5pt harness and to keep her harnessed as long as possible. There are a lot of great seats out there that will last you a very long time (at which point you could transfer your child to a backless booster...) The Sunshine Kids Radian is an incredible seat. VERY safe. Kinda pricey, kinda pain to install (moreso rear facing than forward facing)...but one of the safest seats on the market. It has a very tall shell height that will last a long time. The XT and 80 model will last up to 80 lbs.

Another very safe, sturdy option is the Britax Frontier which will harness to 100 lbs. or the Britax Regent that will harness to 80 lbs. Both great seats.

I urge you to consider keeping you infant rear facing. The new guidlines are to rear face your child until they out-grow their seat. For most that is 33-35 lbs. Please watch this if you are having doubts about extended rear facing...

extended use of the 5 pt harness...

I do not post these links to scare...but to educate as to the importance of doing everything and anything possible to keep our kids safe in our cars.

If you are interested in finding out more about your car seat options try They are a great company that is really easy to work with. Free shipping, great service...and a lot of the seats are on sale right now!!

Best of luck!



answers from Minneapolis on


Evenflo makes a booster used with the car seat belt that is rated for 30-100lbs (the only one I've found for 30lbs) and is side impact safety rated. We found it at Target for about $50.

Just cut and paste this whole address and it will take you directly to the model we got.

Good luck!



answers from Milwaukee on

Like everyone else said PLEASE keep your youngest rear facing (AAP recommends until AT LEAST age 2) and keep your daughter 5pt harnessed! You can use the car seat belt at 40lbs AND a minimum of 4 years old not one or the other and even then it isn't safe until much older. Look into the Graco Nautilus (5pt harness to 65lbs and then a high back booster or backless booster from 65lb-100 lbs. Radian SLXT is another fabulous seat as well but PLEASE don't put her in a seat belt.



answers from Minneapolis on

We moved my 3 y/o daughter to the Evenflo Big Kid Deluxe carseat when we had the same situation with our little boy outgrowing his infant seat. She was only 30 pounds then, and is now only 32, but is tall enough for the belt-positioning booster. The inspector with fire dept. who fits the carseats said it was perfectly appropriate for her even at that weight. I am quite happy with it, and my daughter really likes it, though has complained that its not cushy enough on very long car rides. My only warning to you is that you need to consider maturity level. If your daughter is squirmy, impatient, or doesn't want to sit up straight, seat belts are easy to wiggle arms, heads, etc. out of, defeating their purpose. It has been an issue with my daughter a few times, and in those cases, I wished I had kept her in a 5 point restraint.
I checked out both options as well. Sunshine Kids
makes a beautiful convertible booster with a five point restraint that removes to be a belt positioning booster, and has the LATCH system, and lots of other great features, but its really pricey. If I had the money, I would definitely have gone for that one (though I love the freedom of being able to easily move the booster to a different car when needed). Evenflo makes a five-point restraint convertible booster that's only about $60 (Evenflo Chase), but I have heard that its hard to adjust not the best as a belt-positioning booster. I hope this helps!

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