Carseats for Older Kids

Archived Q&A and Reviews

See also: Booster Seats

Greetings - a question about car seats/restraints for older kids: Our daughter is now nine and is no where near the 70 lb. recommendation for discontinuing the use of a supplemental system to protect her while we drive. So I'm wondering what cool solutions other parents have found to enhance the safety and still protect the dignity of their older but smaller children in this area? I would guess she's in the low 50 pound range, is not adverse to a restraint or seat of some sort, but really needs it to be comfortable, especially as we are a family that often takes really long drives. I'd really appreciate receommendations and resources and don't mind spending the big bucks when it comes to safety. Thanks. Deborah

I can't recommend a specific seat since the one my 9-y.o. uses is quite old now, but I wanted to let you know that it hasn't been a big deal having him as the only one in his group of friends who still uses a booster. Occasionally a friend asks about it, and he can pretty matter-of-factly tell them that he doesn't weigh enough yet, and his mom (that's me) think it's safer. He is also in the low-to-mid 50's, so it may be a while before he is out. We have a car with good (high) back-seat head restraints, so have been fine using a backless booster, with lap-&-shoulder belt, but if your vehicle has a low back, be sure to use a high-back one. If your daughter is tall for her weight, she may out-grow the height limit of a high-back booster before the weight limit, so be sure to check for the height limit. (It may only be listed in the directions, not always on the outside of the box.) I sometimes let my son ride in other vehicles without his booster if he is going a short distance on city streets, but if a friend is driving him far, or on the freeway, I insist they take his booster. R.K.
The good carseat that is comfortable, attractive looking, well- tested and is for children until 100 lbs. is Britax Roadster. My daughter loves it. The seat is adjustable to the body size of your child.

It is important to keep using booster seats until your child is about 10-years-old because car accidents are a leading cause of death in this age group, as children either slip through the regular restraint system or get their internal organs cut through by a seat belt when it is applied without the booster seat and the car gets in an accident. Maria

The law in California is 6 years or 60 pounds, but this is recommended: ''Typically, seat belts fit when a child is: at least 4'9'' tall about 8 years old about 80 pounds.'' You might want to try one of those booster seats that just has the bottom part, like an elevated seat, so that the child is lifted high enough so that the seatbelt fits properly. It (discreetly, if you're looking in from the outside) props the child up and does not look like a ''baby car seat.'' You don't need to get the big booster seat, with the entire back attached. My daughter is 7 and doesn't mind it at all. It is not at all expensive, either. Good luck
(nak) my 8yo and 6yo both use Britax Super Elite (now called Husky). It goes to 80lb harnessed - it is not a bpb. You can find them at Darla's in El cerrito or nature & nurture in lafayette. kathy
I bought the Comfy Rider years ago. It is a ''booster'' for older children made of faux suede. It is extremely comfortable, as the name suggest and my son (7) does not object to it at all because it does not look like a car seat. I bought it in one of those catalogs, I believe it was called ''One Step Ahead.'' Jannette
By law your child has to sit in a Child Restraint System (CPS) until they are 60 lbs. or 6 years old. We (Contra Costa Health Services) recommend that you keep your child in the CPS until they can sit in the vehicle seat correctly, and the seat belt fits them properly, without using an after market product with the seat belt. This has nothing to do with age or weight. There is a hotline # that John Muir Hospital supports. You can call to ask questions regarding car seats. (925)941-7989. Tamara
Almost everyone I know, myself included, uses the blue Britax booster. It's extremely flexible, light, and easy enough for even 4-year-olds to buckle themselves in. I made my daughter do a comfort and ease of buckling test on every booster in the store and it won hands down. I expecially like it because: 1) the base is narrower than many which makes it much easier to buckle and unbuckle; 2) the headrest has wings for sleeping on, and 3) the back is flexible, not just at a 90 degree angle so that on long trips I can pull the base out and let the back recline so that the kids can sleep much more comfortably. It's worth every penny of the $135 it costs! A multiple booster mom