UCB Parents Carseat Recommendations
Carseats for Older Kids
Advice and recommendations from the UCB Parents mailing list.
This page is brought to you by
UC Berkeley Parents Network
Back to Carseats
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.
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.
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
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.
The law in California is 6 years or 60 pounds, but this is
''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
(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
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.''
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.
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
The opinions and statements expressed on this page
are those of parents who belong to the
UC Berkeley Parents Network and
should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the
University of California, Berkeley.