What comes after a convertible car seat? — The Bump
School-Aged Children

What comes after a convertible car seat?

DD is 2 1/2 and we have a newborn due any day.  We currently only have one car seat between my husband an I for DD - the Britax Boulevard 70CS.  I was thinking about getting a second convertible car seat now so that DH can take DD to daycare, etc, while I'm no maternity leave. Once the new baby is big enough for a convertible seat, we'll already have it and we'll just be back to one seat per child (which is fine). I know seats typically expire after 5 years, so I'm just trying to figure out if we would make it far enough with the new seat for the new baby if I get it now.  What do children move to next?  A booster? What size/weight do they have to be for those? 
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Re: What comes after a convertible car seat?

  • The at least minimum to be in a booster is 4 yrs old and 40 lbs.My son just turned 6 and is still in a 5 point harness,we have the graco nautilus which is a great seat to look into also the britax frontier is also a great seat but more expensive.

  • Britax Frontier after your DD outgrows the Boulevard---we put our kids in the frontier once they turn FF (because we need the seat for the next kid)
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  • General guidelines for a booster are 4 years and 40 lbs. It's important that the child is mature enough to sit correctly in the seat 100% of the time without leaning over, playing with the belt, etc.

    There are 5pt-harness seats that convert to a booster. That might be something that would work for you.

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  • If your daughter is already forward facing you want to look for a combination seat, which is a forward facing only 5 point harness then becomes a booster when the harness is outgrown. A child can move to a belt positioning booster when they're a minimum of 4 years and 40 lbs. But the real test for whether a child is ready for a booster is whether they have the maturity to stay buckled, not slouch out of position, not lean down to pick up a toy that dropped, not put the belt behind their back and stay upright while sleeping. The popular combination seat models are:

    Britax Frontier: Very expensive, but has the tallest top harness slots (meaning will last the longest) and becomes the tallest booster on the market. Known for fitting most kids very well in most cars and will last until your daughter is ready for the adult seatbelt without a booster.

    Recaro ProSport: Very expensive, slightly lower top harness slots than the frontier, but will get pretty much all kids to a safe booster age/size. Also known for being a good high back booster.

    Graco Nautilus: Shorter top harness slots than a frontier or recaro, but will get most kids to a safe booster age. Spotty booster fit, great on some kids not so great on others. This is the only one that becomes both  a high back and a backless booster.

    Evenflo Securekids 300/400: Same top harness slots as the nautilus and also becomes a booster, but does not become a backless booster.

    Evenflo Maestro: great budget seat. Same top harness slots as the nautilus, but lower harness weight limit (this does not matter for most kids since the vast majority of kids outgrow seats for height long before hitting weight limits). Becomes a decent booster but doesn't last long as a booster after the harness is outgrown for height because the headrest doesn't move up. But, this plus a dedicated high back booster later is cheaper than the nautilus, so can be a great option.

    Avoid the cosco high back booster. It is very short, has very low top harness slots (lower than most convertible seats) and provides a deadly booster fit, so it's all around a useless seat.

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  • Ditto the Graco nautilus!!
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