Preschoolers and carseats

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Britax husky or Booster Seat for almost-4-year-old?

June 2005

We are looking for a new car seat for our almost 4 year old. We are torn between the Britax Husky (a 5 point restraint system) that goes up to 80 pounds AND the booster seat (britax bodyguard) which uses the cars own restraint system (the seat belts). I have heard that a 5 point system is the safest - is this true even for kids 4 and up? Our main priority is SAFETY. I know the husky is huge and cumbersome but we are happy to get it if it is safer than the booster. Also the Britax bodyguard boasts side impact protection - does that override the safety features of the 5 point Husky??? Any advice is much appreciated.

When I recently investigated this issue I decided on a different option. I looked at the Britax Marathon and the Britax Boulevard. They are smaller than the Husky and you can take them on an airplane, yet they have the safer 5-pt harness and work up to 60 pounds. I thought my 3 1/2 yr old was not yet mature enough for a booster. When he outgrows this seat he will be older and a booster should be fine. I thought about the Husky because he could use it longer, but decided against it because of size and portability on an airplane.

We bought the Britax Boulevard because it has side impact protection and you can adjust the harness height using a dial so my oldest and youngest could more easily use the same seat without uninstalling and reinstalling the seat. The Boulevard is very new and is currently exclusive at Babies R Us. It is an updated version of the Wizard.

The Britax Marathon you can get lots of places online for about $200. It doesn't have side impact protection or the harness dial, but otherwise is pretty similar and just as safe. You can find info on each at I researched the seats on the Baby Bargains website message boards as well.
Good luck! Mom of 2

The Husky is great. It is really big and initially I thought it was too huge even for our mini-van. But, now that I've used it for a year, I have to say that it is fantastic! It's so safe too. Our second car has a booster (not Britax) and it is always causing us problems. I'm planning to get a Husky when my second kid outgrows his Roundabout so soon we'll be a two-Husky family!
Husky fan

I would talk to Nishawn, the owner of Rockridge Kids, regarding this question. He is incredibly knowledgeable about carseats and attends trainings regularly about the new types and installation.

We had the same dilemma a few years ago and opted for the husky. We reasoned that any booster was only as safe as our car's seatbelts, and since we have a 1991 Toyota, we figured it was safer to go with the 5-point harness. For traveling we have a lighter and cheaper Graco - any rental car we get will be newer and safer than the car we have.
Hope this helps
Got two lounge chairs in the back seat

You should call Britax directly and ask them the questions. Both seats ultimately use the seatbelts as the primary restraint system- the car seat is belted to the car with the seatbelt versus the booster which uses the seatbelt over the child. Five- point harnesses are superior for small children to make sure they don't slip out of the car seat in an accident- but the restraints can break- they're not the life saving device in an accident- the belt is. As your child gets bigger, the likelihood of your child slipping out of her seat is slim. The booster seat is superior for head support and reduces injury in an accident. After talking with Britax, we ultimately decided on the booster seat, which is equally safe as the Husky if installed properly, because it was far more convenient for us. Because we move between vehicles, we didn't think we could install the Husky securely every time whereas we definitely can do that with the booster. Mom of three in car seats

Carseat for 3 year old

Sept 2004

My son is less than two inches away from outgrowing his Britex Roundabout (38 inches tall, 34 pounds) and I need to get a replacement. I am interested in a real carseat, rather than a booster seat. I believe the Britex Husky is probably too big for my car.Does anyone have a good recommendation? I checked the website and most of the postings were two or more years old, so I'm hoping this information will be of use to others! Need some help

We just went through this. My son outgrew his Roundabout and we replaced it with a Graco Platinum CarGo, about $100 at Toys R Us. It uses a harness up to 40 lbs, and then is a regular booster after that. It has a easy-to-use front harness adjustor, non-twisty straps, EPS foam, and cupholders (that my son has filled with rocks and toy dinosaurs). It will keep him in harness for another year or more, which I am happy about. We've been using it for a couple weeks and I am quite pleased.

Cosco Summit. I highly recommend saving time and spending about $10 more and purchasing at Rockridge Kids instead of one of the big discount stores. They install, take the time to explain all of its benefits, and are just generally the best kids store in town. Ask for Christian.
Not affiliated with RR Kids, but love it just the same!

Surprisingly - the Husky fits fine in our Honda Civic 2dr coupe, where the Marathon was a little tight (as in feet over the front seat). It sits lower in the car, and aside from the fact that it does occupy more width than the roundabout, my child loves it and finds it very comfy and should last until middle school. ;-) linda

As far as I know, it is still true that the only 5-point harness carseats that can be used for a child over 40 pounds are the Britax Marathon, Britax Wizard and Britax Husky.

If the Husky won't fit in your car, the Marathon or Wizard (good to 65 lbs) may; they're narrower. There are combination seats (used with a harness for toddlers under 40 pounds and without the harness as a booster seat for kids over 40 pounds) that have higher HEIGHT limits than the Roundabout and comparable convertible seats, so one of those might allow you to keep your child in a harness longer since he's closer to the height than to the weight limit, but it won't last as long as one of the Britax seats.

Also, do take a good look at whether your child is as close to outgrowing his current seat as you think. The stated height limit of 40'' or 41'' is a general guideline, but some children can safely use a Roundabout after reaching that height because their length is in their legs. If the top of the child's shoulders are not above the top slot for the shoulder straps and the top of the child's ears are not above the top of the back of the carseat, he still fits.
Happy with the Husky

Fidgety preschooler in car booster

Dec 2002

My almost 3-1/2 year old preschooler has always been an active kid. Because he recently hit 40 lbs, we switched him from his car seat to a booster seat in the car. Unfortunately, the seat only fits safely on the sides of the backseat, not in the middle, which is where our car seat used to be. For his 3 year old personality--exploratory and constant willfulness--he is constantly trying to play with the buttons and other things on the door. Luckily our car has childlocks, but I worry he will physically pull up the lock button and try to open the door sometime. Also, he's moving around so much--forward, to the side, wherever he can. It's very nervewracking to me, and although I am very firm with him when he does these things, he doesn't consistently listen to me and behave accordingly. I'm sure there are other parents of squiggly willful children who have experienced similar things. Any advice for how to handle this potential safety issue? Thanks in advance. anon

I would take the issue to a qualified car seat safety expert. Just because your old car seat is not rated for chldren over 40 pounds does not mean it is not safe. You need to do the safest thing you can for your child, regardless of what the government has regulated. When my almost five year old gets too wiggly in her booster, I threaten to put her back in the car seat and I would really do it if the threat didn't work. Also, Britax makes a car seat approved for bigger kids which goes in the middle seat and has a five point harness. Good luck, Sienna

I think 3 year old boys are too fidgety for a shoulder harness, no matter how big they are. My son was just as big but wasn't trustworthy to sit safely without a 5-point harness until he was almost 4. It's just not worth risking his safety. Get a booster with a 5-point harness until he's older and can use the seat belt properly! -- A mom that would rather be safe than sorry!