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#1 of 20 Old 05-31-2012, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What's the difference between a convertible car seat with a 5-point harness and a "booster seat" with a 5-point harness?  


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#2 of 20 Old 05-31-2012, 04:44 PM
 
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 A booster will not have the latch system. It will be just a booster seat that sits on the seat and the seatbelt goes around the seat or the child to keep it in place. We made the mistake and bought a 5pt booster thinking it was a 5pt carseat all it took was getting it out of the box and into the car to tell that it was NOT going to meet our needs and standards.


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#3 of 20 Old 05-31-2012, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So.... the seat itself may be the same as a true "car seat," but how it gets attached to the car is what's different?


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#4 of 20 Old 05-31-2012, 06:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Belia View Post

What's the difference between a convertible car seat with a 5-point harness and a "booster seat" with a 5-point harness?  

 

The difference is that a convertible car seat can rear-face or forward face, and a combination seat faces forward only and the harness can be removed so the seat can be used as a belt positioning booster. 

 

As far as safety goes, a 5 point harness is a 5 point harness. It doesn't matter whether the seat converts to a booster or converts to a rear-facing seat. If you're using a car seat forward facing with a harness, it is equally safe regardless of what "type" it is.


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#5 of 20 Old 05-31-2012, 06:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Belia View Post

So.... the seat itself may be the same as a true "car seat," but how it gets attached to the car is what's different?

 

That's incorrect. All car seats sold in the US that have an internal harness system can be attached to the car using LATCH or a seat belt.

 

A belt positioning booster holds the child in using the seat belt. Most boosters (I'm talking about ONLY boosters, not combo seats with harnesses in them) do not have LATCH, but a few do. In that case LATCH only functions to keep the booster safely secured to the car when not in use. Otherwise you need to belt the booster in when not in use so it doesn't fly around and hit someone in the event of a crash.


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#6 of 20 Old 06-01-2012, 05:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tinyblackdot View Post

 A booster will not have the latch system. It will be just a booster seat that sits on the seat and the seatbelt goes around the seat or the child to keep it in place. We made the mistake and bought a 5pt booster thinking it was a 5pt carseat all it took was getting it out of the box and into the car to tell that it was NOT going to meet our needs and standards.

 

If it had a 5-point harness, then it meets the same standards as a convertible seat.


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#7 of 20 Old 06-01-2012, 09:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

 

If it had a 5-point harness, then it meets the same standards as a convertible seat.


No im sorry, but that can not be true. Our convertable seat is secured in the car with the latch system, like the pp said it can be used ff or rf, and has a range of ages and weights. A BOOSTER is only to be used for children over a certain weight and age, 5 pt or not. There is a huge diffrence between booster seat and carseat, not what is legal and what meets "standards" is diffrent. I can tell you that there is NO way that I would put my 18 month old child or 5 year old for that matter, in a ff 5pt harness BOOSTER, but if we where in a friends car and a rf carseat was not available i would be ok with my child being in a FF convertable carseat.


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#8 of 20 Old 06-01-2012, 09:39 PM
 
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Sorry, Tinyblackdot, but you're mistaken on this one.

 

A belt positioning booster is appropriate for children over age four and over 40 lbs (at a bare minimum).

 

But if it has a 5-point harness system then it is appropriate for any child old enough to be forward facing. 

 

A "Combination Seat" is a forward facing car seat which converts to a booster seat. It can be secured using LATCH or the seat belt through a belt path, and then the child is restrained by the 5 point harness. It is identical in safety and meets exactly the same safety standards as a convertible car seat that is used in the forward facing position. The fact that people mistakenly call them "boosters" is irrelevant. 


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#9 of 20 Old 06-01-2012, 11:27 PM
 
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Just to illustrate...

 

One of these car seats is a convertible. The other is a combination harness/booster seat.

 

Can you tell which one is which, and, if so, can you identify which one is "safer" and why?

 

frontier3.jpg

 

2917_Eclipse_3700.jpg


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#10 of 20 Old 06-02-2012, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, so, I'm glad this didn't turn out to be a dumb question!!!

 

DS will be 4 in August and is 45 pounds.  Has been FF in a convertible car seat for a while now (since he was 40 pounds or so, if I remember correctly).  I was at Walmart and saw a "Booster Seat" that went up to 65 pounds FF with a 5-pt harness.  Then next to it I saw a "Car Seat" that went up to 65 pounds FF with a 5-pt harness.

 

Sorry, I don't remember the name of the booster, but I know the car seat was a Graco Nautilis.

 

And I was thinking..... what's the difference?  Could either seat work for DS as a spare for grandma and grandpa's car with equal safety?  I guess I always thought a "Booster" by definition used the car's seat belt as the restraint, not its own harness. 


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#11 of 20 Old 06-02-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by brigala View Post

Sorry, Tinyblackdot, but you're mistaken on this one.

 

A belt positioning booster is appropriate for children over age four and over 40 lbs (at a bare minimum).

 

But if it has a 5-point harness system then it is appropriate for any child old enough to be forward facing. 

 

A "Combination Seat" is a forward facing car seat which converts to a booster seat. It can be secured using LATCH or the seat belt through a belt path, and then the child is restrained by the 5 point harness. It is identical in safety and meets exactly the same safety standards as a convertible car seat that is used in the forward facing position. The fact that people mistakenly call them "boosters" is irrelevant. 

 

I very well maybe, i just know out of my personal experience that when we bought the 5pt Booster, it was NOT safe for my 4 year old DD.

 

And that these seats ARE labeled differently on the boxes, it has nothing to do with what people call them, its what they are labeled by the maker.

 

Both of those seats that you posted are high end seats, so the quality is, I'm sure, much better. I purchased a Costco brand 5 pt BOOSTER seat by mistake and it was HORRIBLE, however the Costco brand 5 pt convertible seat what completely different and felt just as safe as our britax. So i don't understand if they are the "same" seat, why in the world they would be sold by the same company, with such different quality.

 

I am by far an expert here, obviously. But i do think that it should be clarified on the boxes the difference, if there is any.


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#12 of 20 Old 06-02-2012, 10:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Belia View Post

 

DS will be 4 in August and is 45 pounds.  Has been FF in a convertible car seat for a while now (since he was 40 pounds or so, if I remember correctly).  I was at Walmart and saw a "Booster Seat" that went up to 65 pounds FF with a 5-pt harness.  Then next to it I saw a "Car Seat" that went up to 65 pounds FF with a 5-pt harness.

 

Sorry, I don't remember the name of the booster, but I know the car seat was a Graco Nautilis.

 

And I was thinking..... what's the difference?  Could either seat work for DS as a spare for grandma and grandpa's car with equal safety?  I guess I always thought a "Booster" by definition used the car's seat belt as the restraint, not its own harness. 

 

If it has a 5-point harness then it's correct name would be a Combination Seat (note: not a Convertible seat).  It's a bit confusing because a Convertible seat specifically means it goes both rear and forward facing.  A combination seat, meanwhile, combines a forward facing harnessed seat and a forward facing booster seat. 

 

The booster at walmart that has a harness would be in the same category as the Graco Nautillis.  As for if it will work for you--- that depends on the specific seat.  The Graco Nautilis is considered a good seat!  Some combination seats have very low harness heights that are outgrown for most children FAR before their weight limits would suggest.  Depending on how the booster is set up, the booster is sometimes outgrown at that point as well.  You'd want to put your son in the seat and see where the strap slots are in relation to his shoulders as well as the top of the frame in relation to his ears.


 

 

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#13 of 20 Old 06-02-2012, 12:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Belia View Post

OK, so, I'm glad this didn't turn out to be a dumb question!!!

 

DS will be 4 in August and is 45 pounds.  Has been FF in a convertible car seat for a while now (since he was 40 pounds or so, if I remember correctly).  I was at Walmart and saw a "Booster Seat" that went up to 65 pounds FF with a 5-pt harness.  Then next to it I saw a "Car Seat" that went up to 65 pounds FF with a 5-pt harness.

 

Sorry, I don't remember the name of the booster, but I know the car seat was a Graco Nautilis.

 

And I was thinking..... what's the difference?  Could either seat work for DS as a spare for grandma and grandpa's car with equal safety?  I guess I always thought a "Booster" by definition used the car's seat belt as the restraint, not its own harness. 

 

No, it's not a dumb question at all! It's very confusing because people don't know the difference and use different words to describe the same thing, or the same words to describe different things!

 

The Graco Nautilus is a "Combination Seat" - that is, it can be a harnessed restraint system (aka "car seat") OR it can be a booster seat. 

 

And you are correct, "Booster," by definition, uses the car's seat belt as the restraint and not its own harness. The Combination seat can be used either way. The problem is that they are often described differently by different companies. For example, the "Cosco High Back Booster" is actually a combination seat, and combination seats are frequently classified by stores (especially web stores) as "boosters" or "harnessed boosters." 

 

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Originally Posted by tinyblackdot View Post

 

I very well maybe, i just know out of my personal experience that when we bought the 5pt Booster, it was NOT safe for my 4 year old DD.

 

And that these seats ARE labeled differently on the boxes, it has nothing to do with what people call them, its what they are labeled by the maker.

 

Both of those seats that you posted are high end seats, so the quality is, I'm sure, much better. I purchased a Costco brand 5 pt BOOSTER seat by mistake and it was HORRIBLE, however the Costco brand 5 pt convertible seat what completely different and felt just as safe as our britax. So i don't understand if they are the "same" seat, why in the world they would be sold by the same company, with such different quality.

 

I am by far an expert here, obviously. But i do think that it should be clarified on the boxes the difference, if there is any.

 

The Cosco Brand "High Back Booster" which I mentioned above is most likely the one you were talking about. It is appropriate and safe for a child who meets the requirements to use it (20 or 22 lbs, 34" tall, at least one year of age, and not too tall) although, just like a forward facing convertible seat, I of course would not put a child in one until at least two or more like 3 or 4 years old if possible. 

 

It is one of the flimsier-feeling seats on the market, and I'm not surprised you were unhappy with the quality of it. I don't like that car seat either, and their convertibles (the Cosco Scenera and Cosco Apt) do "feel" sturdier. Also, when it is outgrown in the harness and converted to booster mode, it makes a really crappy booster seat. But, when used with the internal harness, they all pass exactly the same crash test criteria. We don't actually have any proof that the car seats I pictured above will keep a child any safer. 

 

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Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post

 Some combination seats have very low harness heights that are outgrown for most children FAR before their weight limits would suggest.  

The Cosco High Back Booster falls into this category. It is usually outgrown by a typical kid at about 30 lbs because the harness height is so short. But it can't be used as a booster until 30 lbs. That makes the seat probably the most worthless car seat on the market. It's the same price as the Cosco Scenera, and doesn't last any longer, and can't be used rear-facing. So why even build it? It's stupid. Frankly, any child short and light enough to use the Cosco HBB's harness will still fit rear-facing in most of the convertible seats on the market today.


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#14 of 20 Old 06-02-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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Echoing brigala.

 

Combination seats (forward-facing harness-to-booster), as a class, pass the exact same tests as convertible (rear-facing to forward-facing) seats for use forward-facing with harnesses.  They are not more or less safe.  They are perfectly appropriate seats for children who are old enough and large enough to be forward-facing.  The "Cosco (not CosTco) High-Back Booster" is one of my least favorite seats ever, so I can understand why a pp did not like it, but it is a safe seat for children who are able to use it properly.  It is not necessarily fair to look at one of the least-respected seats on the market and condemn an entire class based on it.


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#15 of 20 Old 06-03-2012, 06:52 AM
 
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I'm sorry, this is simply not correct.   A 5 point harness in a booster is the exact same as a five point harness in a convertible.  And your 4 year old was perfectly safe in a boostered harness, provided the harness fit her by height and weight.  

 

There is not Costco brand.  Costco is a store;  you are probably thinking of Cosco, which is a label of Dorel Juvenile Products.  And yes, the Cosco Highback Booster has some major quality issues, in as much as the topmost harness height for the harness is too short to be practical, and as a booster, it doesn't position the belt well.  However, "Britax" is not 'safer'. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyblackdot View Post

 

I very well maybe, i just know out of my personal experience that when we bought the 5pt Booster, it was NOT safe for my 4 year old DD.

 

And that these seats ARE labeled differently on the boxes, it has nothing to do with what people call them, its what they are labeled by the maker.

 

Both of those seats that you posted are high end seats, so the quality is, I'm sure, much better. I purchased a Costco brand 5 pt BOOSTER seat by mistake and it was HORRIBLE, however the Costco brand 5 pt convertible seat what completely different and felt just as safe as our britax. So i don't understand if they are the "same" seat, why in the world they would be sold by the same company, with such different quality.

 

I am by far an expert here, obviously. But i do think that it should be clarified on the boxes the difference, if there is any.


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#16 of 20 Old 06-03-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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I don't think we can say that certain seats are not "safer."  We simply don't know.  We know that all of the seats meet a minimum level of safety.  Of course, the safest seat is one that is installed correctly and used every time. No seats currently available are *unsafe* if installed correctly!


 

 

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#17 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 05:35 AM
 
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I agree with this.  There are almost some seats that are safer than others.   However, we need to keep two things in mind. 

 

1.  We cannot know by look or feel which seats those are.   Sturdiness does not not necessarily equate to safety.   A flexible shell, for example, diverts more energy away from the child. 

 

2.  Because the standards ensure that every seat is incredibly 'safe', any differences after that are merely the cherry on top of a very chocolatey sundae.   

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Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post

I don't think we can say that certain seats are not "safer."  We simply don't know.  We know that all of the seats meet a minimum level of safety.  Of course, the safest seat is one that is installed correctly and used every time. No seats currently available are *unsafe* if installed correctly!


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#18 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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And, again, not to beat a dead horse, but it is absolutely untrue that a certain class of seats (combination harness-to-booster seats) are less safe than other classes of seats (convertibles).  There are excellent and less-than-excellent seats in all classes.  A Cosco High-Backed Booster (or clone) would indeed be unsafe for most 4yos, because most 4yos have outgrown the harness and are not yet ready to use it as a booster, and it provides a terrible belt fit anyhow.  Evenflo SecureKid, Graco Nautilus, Britax Frontier, and Recaro ProSport are combination seats that would be all be wonderful choices for a 4yo.


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#19 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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We've had three Graco Nautilus now-2 car accidents, replaced two seats for my daughter and 1 for my son-and they are great seats. Until I started looking into buying our first Nautilus, I had no idea that it was a combo versus a convertible; I'm a label reader, so I figured it out pretty quickly, but I'm sure there are people who don't pay enough attention to the "fine print" who would buy it for an infant just because it looks so much like a convertible seat. 


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#20 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the info, mamas.  I've learned a lot!  I understand  now the difference between a "convertible" and a "combination," which is really what we're talking about.


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