booster seat vs. convertible car seat for 4 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 33 Old 12-04-2009, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD will be 4 in a couple of weeks. She weighs 35 lbs and has another inch or so of room (and about 5 lbs) before she outgrows her Evenflo Triumph car seat. We are not buying another convertible car seat. I'm wondering at this point if she should switch to a booster seat, or stay in her car seat until she outgrows it.
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#2 of 33 Old 12-04-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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Keep her harnessed until she outgrows it. She's not even 40 pounds yet. And, the majority of 4 year olds don't have the maturity needed to sit in a booster seat safely 100% of the time. A lot of times, that maturity doesn't come until 5-6 years old. Another inch and 5 more pounds could mean another year, which would be awesome! But definitely don't move her to a booster until she either outgrows that Triumph by height (shoulders above harness slot, or top of ears reach the top of the shell), or she outgrows it by weight (when she reaches 40 pounds). I assume you have the older model, right? My 4.5 year old (35 pounds) still has a lot of growing room left in hers (older model, DOM 2005).

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#3 of 33 Old 12-04-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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With a barely 4 yo (at 35 lbs) I would definitely keep her harnessed. If she happens to grow that inch or so in the near future, I would buy another harnessed seat (you can get one that converts to a high back booster for later use).

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#4 of 33 Old 12-04-2009, 03:48 PM
 
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Make sure she's really "about to outgrow" the carseat. Many convertible seats can be used forward-facing as long as the child's ears aren't above the seat. If she has another inch until the top of her head reaches the top of the seat, she may still fit in this seat for a while yet.

Preschoolers grow much more slowly than toddlers. It may take her several years to grow another 5 lbs- and in another year or two, she may be mature enough for a booster.

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#5 of 33 Old 12-04-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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If/when she outgrows the Triumph, I'd move her to something like a Graco Nautilus. It should give you another 25 lbs/3.5 inches (of torso growth) in a harness, and then converts to a pretty good booster.
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#6 of 33 Old 12-04-2009, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I seem to remember reading some threads about a lap/shoulder belt being safer than a 5 point harness...that's why I was wondering if I should move her into a booster seat now.
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#7 of 33 Old 12-04-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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I seem to remember reading some threads about a lap/shoulder belt being safer than a 5 point harness...that's why I was wondering if I should move her into a booster seat now.
No no no, not at all.

For a 35 pound four year old, she needs a five point harness. It's not even a point of debate.

As a general rule, you need to be at LEAST 4 and 40 to even start thinking about occasional booster training.

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#8 of 33 Old 12-04-2009, 10:01 PM
 
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Yes. For a child who is mature enough and large enough to use a booster safely (for the sake of discussion let's go with 6y and 50#, though that's not hard and fast), there is no evidence pointing to either a belt-positioning booster or a harnessed seat being safer.

A 35# just-turned-4yo is FAR safer harnessed than boostered.

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#9 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 02:18 AM
 
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I'd get her a Graco Nautilus.

My 5 y/o DD is just outgrowing her convertible seat (a True Fit). I am just now comfortable with her being in a booster, as I feel she is mature enough (well, I think she has been for a bit) and big enough to fit one properly. Also, she no longer slumps all over when she falls asleep, her head just goes to either side.
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#10 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 08:34 AM
 
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A 35# just-turned-4yo is FAR safer harnessed than boostered.
Contrary to popular opinion this is not true at all. There is no research, data, stats, or real life experiences showing this. Weight has little to do with the safety unless there are some special needs involved. a 4 year old is just as safe in a high back booster as in a FF harnessed seat.

IMO your daughter will be fine in her seat until she outgrows it.

This has been debated at length before at different forums but harnessing children 4+ forward facing is not any safer than using a high back booster.

The debate goes on a many forums but there is no debate among researchers or people who work professionally with car seats. They know both methods are about as safe. Both harnessing and high back boosters are approved and safe although nowhere near as safe as rear facing.

A dedicated high back booster is almost always safer than a combination seat used as a HBB due to the lower weight and superior threading of seat belt.

Researchers in Sweden, where car seat usage is 30 years ahead of other countries, recommend NOT harnessing any children forward facing. While there are many other factors involved in car seat safety except for car seats one would be wise not to dismiss people with experience of keeping kids safe and rear facing in cars since 1965. And not to forget, a safety record which is simply unbelievable.

Have a nice weekend!

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#11 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 08:53 AM
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With a barely 4 yo (at 35 lbs) I would definitely keep her harnessed. If she happens to grow that inch or so in the near future, I would buy another harnessed seat (you can get one that converts to a high back booster for later use).
Yes this is basically what we did for our DD. I must agree with adventuredad about rfing is the safest. Our dd rf until almost 5 yrs od and ds is still rfing at age 2.
BTW DH is Swedish.

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#12 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 11:20 AM
 
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I think you should also mention that if we were in Sweden, there wouldn't be any discussion of high back boosters at this stage. Their car seats rear face until at least 55lbs. I honestly think that our car seats need to rear face longer.

For the OP, I would keep your child in her car seat until she outgrows it. And until then, I would keep researching for a High Back Booster that will work for you.

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Originally Posted by Adventuredad View Post
Contrary to popular opinion this is not true at all. There is no research, data, stats, or real life experiences showing this. Weight has little to do with the safety unless there are some special needs involved. a 4 year old is just as safe in a high back booster as in a FF harnessed seat.

IMO your daughter will be fine in her seat until she outgrows it.

This has been debated at length before at different forums but harnessing children 4+ forward facing is not any safer than using a high back booster.

The debate goes on a many forums but there is no debate among researchers or people who work professionally with car seats. They know both methods are about as safe. Both harnessing and high back boosters are approved and safe although nowhere near as safe as rear facing.

A dedicated high back booster is almost always safer than a combination seat used as a HBB due to the lower weight and superior threading of seat belt.

Researchers in Sweden, where car seat usage is 30 years ahead of other countries, recommend NOT harnessing any children forward facing. While there are many other factors involved in car seat safety except for car seats one would be wise not to dismiss people with experience of keeping kids safe and rear facing in cars since 1965. And not to forget, a safety record which is simply unbelievable.

Have a nice weekend!
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#13 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 11:51 AM
 
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I find it interesting because a year or two ago, everything on these boards was all about how you had to keep your kit in a 5 point harness- with crash videos to show how much safer it was than a booster. Now all of that is being completely brushed off.
Frankly I guess we should all just not go out of the house...
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#14 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Adventuredad View Post
Contrary to popular opinion this is not true at all. There is no research, data, stats, or real life experiences showing this. Weight has little to do with the safety unless there are some special needs involved. a 4 year old is just as safe in a high back booster as in a FF harnessed seat.

IMO your daughter will be fine in her seat until she outgrows it.

This has been debated at length before at different forums but harnessing children 4+ forward facing is not any safer than using a high back booster.
Your information is patently false. Would you care to provide the tests or studies that prove your point?

There is substantial testing evidence showing a child under 40 pounds is not as safe in a booster as a child over 40 pounds.

Furthermore, as I have said over, and over, and over, a booster is NOT a safe choice for a child who is not mature enough to sit in one. And most four year olds are not mature enough to sit in a booster full time.

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#15 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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I find it interesting because a year or two ago, everything on these boards was all about how you had to keep your kit in a 5 point harness- with crash videos to show how much safer it was than a booster. Now all of that is being completely brushed off.
Frankly I guess we should all just not go out of the house...
Ah, no. That was never the point at all, nor were any actual safety professionals saying as such.

People were erroneously switching to boosters at 2, 3 and 4 years of age, and THAT is what we want people to get away from. That does not mean a neurotypical 6 year old needs a harness to be safe.

High back boosters are VERY safe for a child who is

1. At least 4 years old
2. At least 40 pounds
3. Developmentally capable of sitting in a booster 100% of the time correctly (usually occurs between 5 and 6)

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#16 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So how do you tell if a child is "develomentally ready" to sit in a booster seat?
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#17 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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So how do you tell if a child is "develomentally ready" to sit in a booster seat?
Well, it's part maturity, and part parental discipline. I recommend parents of most neurotypical kids start booster training around 4 and 40. Start with short trips. Let them know that it's very important that they sit perfectly upright and not lean forward, bend over or slouch.

They can't reach to grab a fallen toy, play with or pull on the shoulder belt, turn around to look out the window or at somebody behind them, or scootch forward so that the lap belt isn't exactly where it's supposed to be.

Now, most kids will do these things naturally. The developmentally 'ready' part is, if you tell your child that they may NOT do these things, and they must sit up to protect their own safety, will they listen to you and do as they're told?

Most kids can understand the instructions and respond accordingly around the 5th to 6th birthdays (for full time use, not for occasional rides to get them used to using the booster).

Some kids cannot. Kids on the autism spectrum, kids with impulse control issues, kids with attention deficit issues, may have more difficulty (or may simply be incapable of) following instructions about using the booster.

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#18 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 03:42 PM
 
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I find it interesting because a year or two ago, everything on these boards was all about how you had to keep your kit in a 5 point harness- with crash videos to show how much safer it was than a booster. Now all of that is being completely brushed off.
Frankly I guess we should all just not go out of the house...
A few years ago, this discussion was about 2yos and 3yos, because those were the kids growing out of their harnessed seats. Now it's often about 6yos, because now *those* are kids growing out of harnessed seats since there are so many seats with higher capacities on the market.

Best practice, then and now, was not to even consider boostering before age 4. That hasn't changed. It's the parameters of the discussion that has.

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#19 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 04:01 PM
 
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But keep an eye on her ears in relation to the top of the triumph shell. My ds1 outgrew his triumph around 3.

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#20 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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But keep an eye on her ears in relation to the top of the triumph shell. My ds1 outgrew his triumph around 3.


Good call. I assumed the OP had the Triumph Advance, but you know what they say when you assume

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#21 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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I find it interesting because a year or two ago, everything on these boards was all about how you had to keep your kit in a 5 point harness- with crash videos to show how much safer it was than a booster. Now all of that is being completely brushed off.
Frankly I guess we should all just not go out of the house...

I think that it's because a few years ago, the only extended harnessing seat was Britax's Husky/Regent so the vast majority of kids were in 40 lb limit car seats. Car seats that also had low harness heights -- sooo, lots of 3 or barely 4 yo's were outgrowing their car seats and put into boosters too soon.

Then (maybe part due to the Kyle ****** youtube video that was circulating) awareness was brought to the importance of harnessing for as long as possible and manufacturers starting making better seats.

But really, for the average 6 yr old child (who is past 40 lbs) a belt positioning booster IS just as safe as 5-point....when you are talking about a barely 4 yo, who is only 35 lbs - it's not even comparable, IMO.

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#22 of 33 Old 12-05-2009, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Her carseat is 3.5 years old so I am guessing it's the older Triumph. But she looks like she still has some room to grow in length before it's too short for her.
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#23 of 33 Old 12-07-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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Her carseat is 3.5 years old so I am guessing it's the older Triumph. But she looks like she still has some room to grow in length before it's too short for her.
She said it goes toi 40lbs, so it has to be the older one.

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#24 of 33 Old 12-07-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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But keep an eye on her ears in relation to the top of the triumph shell. My ds1 outgrew his triumph around 3.
It probably isn't an issue yet. My 4.5 year old, 42 inch, daughter doesn't have her ears at the top of the shell yet. Nor does my 5.75 year old, 45 inch, niece. I believe our Evenflo Triumph is the same as OPs.

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Are the shoulders still below the top strap settings?

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#26 of 33 Old 12-07-2009, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are the shoulders still below the top strap settings?
Yes.
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#27 of 33 Old 12-08-2009, 01:24 AM
 
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Are the shoulders still below the top strap settings?
My DD and my niece's are too. I was shocked! I actually posted pics of it over on c-s.org

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#28 of 33 Old 12-08-2009, 04:40 AM
 
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The shoulder height on the old triumph is rediculous. The top slots are literally maybe an inch and a half below the top of the shell. Most kids will outgrow it by ears over the top before their shoulders go over.

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#29 of 33 Old 12-08-2009, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The shoulder height on the old triumph is rediculous. The top slots are literally maybe an inch and a half below the top of the shell. Most kids will outgrow it by ears over the top before their shoulders go over.

Well whichever one I have the slot for the top straps is definitely a few inches below the top of the shell. And her ears are not at the top yet either.

Is a car seat safer for her than a booster seat (or whatever they're called) with a 5 point harness? My 12 month old is ready to move into a regular car seat (he's a peanut so just now getting too long and nowhere near the weight limit) and our other Evenflo Triumph was bought in like-new condition at a garage sale. I asked when I bought it if it had ever been in an accident and they said no it just didn't fit in their vehicle so they got a different one. But I still don't feel entirely comfortable using it, and I may see if I can convince DH to get a different one for DD so DS can have her carseat.
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#30 of 33 Old 12-08-2009, 02:09 PM
 
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A booster seat has no harness: it positions the vehicle belts.
A convertible seat has a harness and can be used rear-facing or forward-facing.
A combination seat is forward-facing only and can be used with a harness or as a booster.

At age 3.5, she needs to be harnessed. IMO/IME, it makes more sense to buy a combination (harness-to-booster) seat at that age than a convertible (RFing to FFing), but as long as she fits, there is no safety difference between harnessed in a convertible and harnessed in a combination seat.

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