Toddlers: 24 Months+

Good booster seats for young toddler

My two and a half year old is pushing the weight limit on his current car seat and I think we're going to have to move him up to a booster seat soon as he's about 38 lbs (car seat limit is 40lbs) and his head goes above the top of his current car seat. I don't want to spend a fortune on a booster seat but feel like he's going to need something pretty secure.  

I'm a little worried he's not mature enough to stay put with just the seat belt as opposed to the 5 point harness he's used to. From what I've read most kids don't go to a booster seat until they're 4ish years old, but he is the size of some four year olds.... Any suggestions for reasonably priced booster seats that would be good for him??

 Thanks! 

Re: Good booster seats for young toddler

  • He can't be in a belt positioning booster at age 2.5. Most state laws do not allow them until the kid is both 40 lbs. and 4yo. I would get a car seat that converts to a booster, but has a 5 pt. harness like the Graco Nautilus or Britax Frontier, etc. 
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  • DO NOT put your 2 yo in a booster with the seatbelt. There is so much data showing that a harness is safer until 5 years. The bare minimum for a booster is 4 years AND 40 lbs. It's about size and maturity. 

    Look into a harnessed seat that converts to a booster. The Britax Frontier will allow you to harness the longest but is also the most expensive. The Graco Nautilus and Evenflo SecureKids are also good options. 

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  • meep13meep13
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
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    Yeah I've been looking at the 3 seats that have been mentioned like I said he's not mature enough for just a seat belt but was kind of hoping there were some other seats that were slightly cheaper since we'll have to buy two of them, and aren't really in a position to be shelling out $300-$400 on car seats, but I guess sometimes you don't really have many options  :

     Are there any stores that ever have good sales on these seats that you know of?? We're in a rural area so the only local store is Walmart so we'll likely have to order from online or make a trip to a larger town nearby but even then there's really only walmart and target....

  • I have my toddler in a safety first car seat that goes up to 60 pounds in the 5 point harness and 100 pounds as a booster. It was only $150. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Safety-1st-Alpha-Convertible-Quartz/dp/B007HZMRDE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1372390210&sr=8-2&keywords=safety+first+convertible+car+seat

    It's a great seat and a lot cheaper. I understand being on a budget! 

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  • image mommy0411:

    I have my toddler in a safety first car seat that goes up to 60 pounds in the 5 point harness and 100 pounds as a booster. It was only $150. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Safety-1st-Alpha-Convertible-Quartz/dp/B007HZMRDE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1372390210&sr=8-2&keywords=safety+first+convertible+car+seat

    It's a great seat and a lot cheaper. I understand being on a budget! 

    No, I wouldn't recommend this seat with a 38lb toddler. It is outgrown quickly in all modes due to height and is not usable in booster mode. In booster mode the belt fit on nearly all installs sits across the stomach rather than the hips and has been known to cause internal injuries in a crash. Truly, this seat is only suited to kids in the lower percentiles for a convertible, and then buying a separate booster later if they've made it to 5/6 and are mature enough for a booster.

    OP - your ds could still fit in some seats rf, but likely out of your budget (unless Target has the Radian R120 on a deep discounted sale). What may help to know is he currently rf or what seat is he in. There aren`t many seats I can think of that actually ff to 40lbs, that sounds more like a rf limit, unless he`s in a Snugride CC40. If he`s rf, outgrown is reaching the weight, height or 1`inch of shell, whichever comes first. FF its weight, height and top of ears over shell. Most convertibles harness to 65lbs.

    If it`s truly outgrown, try the Harmony Defender at Walmart, it`s typically around $100 and will fit for some time.

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  • Also, my youngest dd is the size of a four year old too. 39lbs and 40inches, she will be 3 in October. I do feel your pain. Hey, if I can find a harnessed seat to fit her, with our limited options  in Canada, low height and weight restrictions and higher prices, I can totally make this work for you! The US rocks right now for choices!
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  • What kind of convertible car seat do you have that has a 40 lb weight limit?  Ours is 70 lbs forward facing (40 lbs rear-facing).  DS is 35 lbs at almost 2 years old, so I feel your pain - he outgrows EVERYTHING quickly.  I just didn't know there were car seats that had such a low weight limit.
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  • http://www.walmart.com/msharbor/ip/EvenfloSecureKidCarSeatKohl/22182740?adid=1500000000000012981640veh=mweb:undefined

    Well, that link won't work from mobile since I'll lose my dashes, but the Evenflo SecureKid harnesses to 65 lbs and then becomes a booster. It's 119 at Walmart.

    ETA: The Evenflo Maestro is also a good seat, but it only harnesses to 50 lbs. With a big 2 yo, I'd be worried that he'd hit 50 lbs before he's mature enough to sit with the seat belt.
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  • I just learned recently that Kohls.com has carseats.  They often have 20 or 30% off coupons and free shipping.  So you could try going that route to save on the seats if you do end up getting the more expensive seats.
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  • We have this one , it goes up to 65lb, 50 in tall in a forward harness.  It's a convertible though, which you probably don't need unless you'll be having more babies soon. FWIW I like Evenflos though.

    http://www.target.com/p/evenflo-symphony-dlx-convertible-car-seat-porter/-/A-14419215#prodSlot=medium_1_2&term=evenflo+symphony

     

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  • image MrsWindyCity:
    He can't be in a belt positioning booster at age 2.5. Most state laws do not allow them until the kid is both 40 lbs. and 4yo. I would get a car seat that converts to a booster, but has a 5 pt. harness like the Graco Nautilus or Britax Frontier, etc. 

    This 

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  • meep13meep13
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    image AsOctoberFalls:
    What kind of convertible car seat do you have that has a 40 lb weight limit?  Ours is 70 lbs forward facing (40 lbs rear-facing).  DS is 35 lbs at almost 2 years old, so I feel your pain - he outgrows EVERYTHING quickly.  I just didn't know there were car seats that had such a low weight limit.

     

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/17376981?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227001002697&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=14104629550&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=35022529750&veh=sem this is the one he's in right now... I didn't even think to look at the maximum weight when we got it as it seemed like it would be forever before he got that big...guess I was wrong...lol

     

  • meep13meep13
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    image Angela814:
    http://www.walmart.com/msharbor/ip/EvenfloSecureKidCarSeatKohl/22182740?adid=1500000000000012981640veh=mweb:undefined Well, that link won't work from mobile since I'll lose my dashes, but the Evenflo SecureKid harnesses to 65 lbs and then becomes a booster. It's 119 at Walmart. ETA: The Evenflo Maestro is also a good seat, but it only harnesses to 50 lbs. With a big 2 yo, I'd be worried that he'd hit 50 lbs before he's mature enough to sit with the seat belt.

     

    Thank you I hadn't seen the Maestro that's a reasonably priced seat.  I'll have to look into it a little more.  His weight gain has slowed down, for now, but I was mainly worried about him being to tall as is head is well over the top of his current seat. 

  • We have the Graco Nautilus and it is a 3 in 1. It says that a child can do the 5 point hardness until 60 lbs, I don't know about that. My child is 33 lbs and it is getting a little tight between his legs, but I don't feel comfortable converting the seat to just the high back booster.

    I do want to transition him into using the seat belt, high back booster so I will use the 5 pt harness and then use the seat belt. We talk about safety and that he is never to push the seat belt "button" and the car has stopped and Mommy said he could. So far, I haven't had any issues with him undoing the seatbelt. Even still, I am still nervous. It only takes 1 second for something to happen. 

    ETA: My "transitioning" that will not be happening for a year or so, at least until he is 4.  

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  • I wouldn't buy the Maestro, tbh. It's good for a harnessing booster, but booster mode is a pita and doesn't last long and you'll be buying another seat. I still think a Harmony Defender would be a great choice, or the Nautilus.
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  • meep13meep13
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    DH just informed me that he had some awesome sales this month at work and will have an awesome unexpected commission check coming the end of July so I think we'll wait and try out the nautilus and see how we like it... if it fits well then we'll get one for the other vehicle...the down side is we really need two car seats unless we're going to leave it at day care every day which would be a pain.... :( so $140 isn't bad but when you have to buy two it's a little more expensive....but hopefully we can make it work

     

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