What would you suggest?
Edited by MarineWife - 6/2/12 at 10:21am
Does it need to be in a three-across with other seats? If not, I'd look at the Graco Nautilus and Argos, and the Evenflo SecureKid seats. If it does need to be in a three-across, then just the SecureKid. The Argos is typically over $150; you can usually find Nautiluses at that price point; and the SecureKid is almost always under $150.
In my humble opinion, ALL the combination seats are cumbersome when used as boosters. At least, when compared to a dedicated stand-alone booster.
You've already had some great suggestions. In your desired price range I'd take a look at the Maestro and the Secure Kid. However, I would humbly submit that you probably aren't going to use any of these seats as boosters much, if at all, so if there's a convertible car seat (that doesn't convert to a booster) which you like better, I wouldn't let the fact that it doesn't convert to a booster stop you. For example, if you happen to love the Complete Air or similar nice, tall convertible, you can always worry about buying a booster later. There are nice boosters on the market around $50 and sometimes less.
No -- in fact, it's probably a better idea (for budget and ease of use) to plan on handing down the combination seat for use with the harness and buying an inexpensive dedicated booster for the now-5yo in a year or two. Dedicated boosters are almost always easier to buckle, and it's certainly cheaper to buy a $50 Turbobooster for #2 than a $180 Argos for #3 when #3 outgrows the Britax or it expires.
You might. Some people do. What I've found is that most people end up preferring a dedicated booster seat because, as was mentioned above, they're easier to buckle. They're also lighter and easier to move from one vehicle to the next. That's all, really. And yes, there are some people out there who love the Nautilus or the Frontier as a booster, but most people will end up picking something up that's lighter, easier to use, and cheaper. And if you have a younger child to pass the seat down to (in harness mode) that makes a LOT more sense financially than keeping the older child in a combo seat well past harness age and buying another combo seat for the younger child.
I was in a similar situation 2 years ago. My then 1 year old twins needed convertable seats and so what to do with my 4 year old?
I too have a vehicle where I needed three carseats across and struggled with how to properly seat my then 4 year old. I did not go the route of a harness/booster.
The point that I want to bring up for you is that there are several straight booster seats that use LATCH. I have the Monteray which is installed with the latch. I also have the Turbo booster which does not. However, it has not moved in a way that makes me feel that it is unsafe by not having a LATCH component.
Also, I tend to agree with the others on not buying another harness/booster combo.