Recommendations for Booster Car Seat

Updated on July 08, 2010
L.S. asks from Culver City, CA
12 answers

Hello Mamas,

Our 17 month old daughter is petite and we've been able to use the same car seat since she was born. However, she is getting taller and I think she has now practically outgrown her car seat. We've been using an EvenFlo car seat/travel system. I wanted to see if any of you have recommendations on a good booster car seat. I think that's what it's called? I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks.

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answers from New York on

I think you'd be looking for a convertible carseat, too.

I think most states, the law for being in a booster is 4 years or 40 lbs.

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answers from San Francisco on

The car seat terminology can be very confusing for new parents so, in a nutshell, these are the types:
1. Convertible - this is the appropriate one for your daughter - a seat with 5 point harness that can be used rear facing or forward facing (AAP and child safety advocates recommend keeping your child rear facing beyond the "1 year and 20 lb" minimum because rear facing provides significantly better protection for the head, neck, and spine of infants and toddlers - details here: ). You'll want to find one that has high height and weight limits even if your child is on the small side of the growth curve b/c many kids outgrow a seat by height before weight and before they're ready for a belt-positioning booster. There are a LOT of good seats in this category and prices start in the low $100's, not bad for something that could easily last you for 4-5 years. Some good ones to consider are the First Years TrueFit (as low as $159 here , Graco MyRide65( as low as $115 here: , Evenflo Triumph Advance (as low as $109 here: ), Sunshine Kids Radian, and Britax Marathon/Boulevard/Decathlon.

2. Combination - this is a forward facing harnessed seat that can be used as a belt-positioning booster when the harness is outgrown. Good picks in this category are the Graco Nautilus and Britax frontier - most others have low harness height and/or weight limits which result in the child outgrowing the harness by height or weight before they're mature enough to use the seat as a booster (and many of these seats position the belt poorly in booster mode)

3. Booster - this is a seat that positions the lap and shoulder belt to fit your child. Children should be a minimum of 4 years and 40 lbs. to use a booster, and many will not develop the proper maturity/impulse control for a booster until age 5 or 6.

The forums at are great for car seat related questions - many folks there are certified child passenger safety techs and they're super-helpful with car safety questions

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answers from Cincinnati on

At 17-months, you want a convertible carseat. I recommend this blog: She buys and analyzes a bunch of different carseats and gives their pros and cons, to help you make an educated decision.

The AAP currently recommends that you keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible, until your child is at least 2. Since your daughter is petite, this should be easy for you! I love the Graco MyRide 65, which works read-facing up to 40 pounds and then forward-facing up to 65 pounds. Britax also has an excellent reputation, although they are twice the price of the MyRide and don't fit tall children as well (possibly not concerns for you). Good luck.

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answers from Denver on

at 17 mos I'd get her a convertible car seat this can be used rear or forward facing but still uses a 5 point harness. I have a britax marathon for my daughter and I love love love this car seat. Although pricy it is worth every penny.

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answers from Dallas on

You are talking about a convertible car seat not a booster yet. We have a Learning Curve First Years True Fit for our son and we absolutely love it and so does he. He can be rear facing for up to 40 lbs and forward facing for up to 80 lbs. I do have a word of advise, you will find that car seats are very expensive but don't skimp on your childs safety but a good car seat. Here is a website with car seat rating.

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answers from Sacramento on

At 17 months, she's too young to move to a booster. You want a booster/convertible combo seat. Just be prepared -- these seats are massive, heavy, no fun to install and cost a fortune. Our daughter outgrew her convertible seat when she was three and we had to invest in a pricey booster/convertible combo. It's the best option if you're in between sizes.



answers from Minneapolis on

The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Carseat !!!

We have it and love daughter will never outgrow it. We originally got it for our son, but have now passed it on to our youngest. I HIGHLY recommend it!

Has a cupholder and 2 little "pockets" in the base for storage of little items.

From Graco's Website:

"Finally, the car seat that parents have been searching for is here. Our Nautilus™ 3-in-1 car seat helps keep your child secure in a 5-point harness, from 20-65 lbs. When she’s ready, it converts to a belt-positioning booster from 30-100 lbs. And as she continues to grow, the Nautilus grows with her, transitioning into either a Highback or Backless booster for a comfortable fit up to 100 lbs. Extensively crash tested, including side-impact testing, outfitted with reinforced steel and thoughtfully designed with plush comfort features, this 3-in-1 car seat is will last your little travel companion well into childhood."



answers from St. Louis on

I recommend the Safety 1st Summit booster car seat. Its forward facing with 5 pt harness and its used with the belt positioning when they reach 40 lbs. Its under $100 sold at walmart and target.


answers from Dallas on

We've used the Britax Marathon for 2 years now and have loved it. Now we have moved our baby into it and got a Britax Frontier 85 for our 2.5 year old. The Marathon goes up to 65 lbs. and 49". The Frontier works from 25-85 lbs. and 30-57" as a car seat, THEN you can convert it to a booster for up to 120 lbs. and 65". So this could be your last car seat/booster seat purchase ever. It's big and heavy but you want that in a car seat. My husband installed it in a few minutes and didn't have any problem. And it has cup holders which are very handy for drinks and small toys. Our only complaint is it sits lower than the Marathon which makes it harder to see out the windows.



answers from Las Vegas on is a great website full of info on car seats.



answers from St. Cloud on

Check out Britax! is running 20% off the regular prices on them right now. Free shipping over $100. Or check our their clearance section. They have some nice convertable seats available there too.

We just purchased a Britax Frontier 85 for our 3 year old son. We wanted a seat that would last him till he could wear a seat belt. The frontier 85 is for 2 years and up. Has a NO thread harness! (GREAT feature! So EASY TO ADJUST!) Will 5 point harness till 85 pounds and then can be used as a booster seat till 100 pounds! It was on sale for $220. And it only took my husband less than 5 minutes to get a tight install! (Some reviews complain that Britax is hard to install but I think they just don't know how to do it! We went to our local police station and had them give us a training session and help up install the seats we had at the time. Now it never takes my husband more than a couple minutes to get a tight install in any vehicle that we've put them in.....)

Britax has GREAT seats! We own a Britax Regent, Frontier 85, and are going to be ordering our infant seat for the new baby from Britax as well! They have SUPER safety ratings! We love them. And our 2 kids (5 and 3) love them.

When looking for a new seat though, beware that many are only good till 40 pounds. Which means that in a short time you will have to purchase yet ANOTHER seat! Try to find one that goes to at least 65 pounds as a 5 point harness.



answers from Los Angeles on

We used the Britax Boulevard and loved it. My daughter who just turned 4 has finally outgrown hers and is just now in a high-back booster. If you check on Craigslist, you can usually get a good deal on a convertible carseat.

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