booster or 5 point harness?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-12-2010, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
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DD is 5 and still rides in her convertible 5 point harness car seat that will last until she weighs 50 lbs. However, it will expire soon, and we plan to get her a new seat. Based on my research I was thinking about getting her a 5 point harness booster rated for up to 65 lbs. that converts to a regular booster up to 100 lbs. Today, I was talking with some friends, and they all think that's a bit much and just have their kids in boosters with the car seat belt. A part of me would like to do that because it's easier to transfer a regular booster to other's cars, and it's easier for the child to get in and out. But, isn't the 5 point harness the safest bet?
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#2 of 7 Old 09-13-2010, 12:13 AM
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If she can't yet sit properly in a booster (sits still, doesn't lean out of the seatbelt, etc) then no, she's not ready for a booster and a convertible is your best bet.

How much does she weigh, and how tall is she?

I would probably go ahead and get a booster, like a Graco Turbobooster (I really like those on smaller kids ) and start booster training her before the seat you currently have expires.

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#3 of 7 Old 09-13-2010, 12:42 AM
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We love our Nautilus and I think it's going to be a nice booster when my DD outgrows the harness. My almost 5 year old is still very wiggly and I'm glad we aren't using just a booster.
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#4 of 7 Old 09-13-2010, 02:53 PM
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It depends... will she sit properly in her booster all the time every time? Some 5 year olds do, some don't.

I'd caution you to double-check that she hasn't already outgrown her FF seat. Many kids outgrow them by height long before reaching the weight limit. Are her shoulders still below the harness slots? Are the tops of her ears still below the top of the shell? If not, she needs a new seat today.

The Nautilus is a reasonably priced FF harness/booster seat. The Britax Frontier is also a great quality seat that makes a good booster. Many other seats claim to be harness-to-booster seats, but they make unsafe boosters which should never be used in booster mode (they position the belt dangerously across a child's soft abdomen). The Nautilus or Frontier are your best options.

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#5 of 7 Old 09-13-2010, 06:21 PM
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There is no data to tell us which is safer, booster or harness, for an older child who can sit properly in a belt positioning booster. The swedes would argue that the booster is safer due to lower neck loads. Others woudl argue that the harness is safer due to spreading out forces.

IMO, if a 5yo can sit properly in a booster I would booster. If not, I'd do either a maestro now and a turbobooster sometime down the road (you'd spend about $130 total to do that), a nautilus (around $150-170), or a frontier ($230ish).
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#6 of 7 Old 09-13-2010, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
How much does she weigh, and how tall is she?
She is 38 lbs and 43 inches tall. I'm pretty sure she's still safe in her Britax Marathon, but it will expire in February, so I'm doing the research now and looking for sales/good deals.
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#7 of 7 Old 09-13-2010, 11:13 PM
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The Marathon has a 65# weight limit, not 50#, but it is outgrown by height if the child's shoulders are above the top strap settings. At 43", that is a possibility.

If the seat is outgrown by height, you need to get a different seat, either a harnessed seat or a booster. If she has had no booster training, I would recommend a harnessed seat, preferably one that converts to a booster for later.

If she still fits in the Marathon, you could get a booster now and start training, and when she outgrows the Marathon or it expires, you can decide whether you think she's ready for full-time booster use.

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