To Boost, or Not to Boost


At the age of two, my mom drove me around town as I stood next to her, arm around her neck, and gazed at my reflection in the rearview mirror.  Those simple days are long gone (thank goodness).  As hard as I try not to be a mommy blogger, I am a MOM, and thus I concern myself with mom-type things.  Like this:  Makenna is about a half inch away from being too tall for her Britax Marathon car seat.

She is four; 43 inches tall, and weighs 40 pounds.  She is big enough to sit in a full-fledged booster.

I’m not against boosters — they are safe, especially certain brands and designs.  I’m open to something lighter, something a little simpler.  Makenna is one of the only kids at school who is still in a car seat.

BUT.  I have heard and read scary stories about the overall safety booster seats for small children.  So I’m not sure if I want Makenna (and eventually Paige) in a seat belt booster at this age.  I’d like her to be in a 5-point harness as long as humanly possible.

I’m also a realist.  Once Makenna figures out that big kids ride in boosters, Child Made of Iron Will likely won’t be thrilled sitting in a “baby seat.”  I’m the MOM, I’m in charge, blah blah blah YES… but really.  This Child Made of Iron Will definitely will make seating a miserable event.

I’ve narrowed my search to these two seats:

Britax Frontier

Pros:  Convertible – can be used with 5-point harness up to 80 pounds, then becomes a seat-belted booster up to 100 pounds; high safety rating with side impact protection; LATCH can be used safely up to 65 pounds with the harness.

Cons:  Heavy; still looks like a baby seat.  Will the future six-year-old Makenna actually sit in this?  We may need to buy a conventional booster down the road.

Britax Monarch

Pros:  High safety rating; sturdy, with side impact protection; more versatile – back can be removed as child gets older.  Better chance of this being “the last safety seat we ever buy.”

Cons:  No LATCH.  Can the child unbuckle themselves?  Still scared of a booster.

I’m all about perspective.  What’s your take on this?  What do your preschoolers ride in?

p.s.  Just found this excellent post, for those that are curious about all the hub-bub about boosters vs. extended 5-point harness use.  And it’s a great review of the Frontier.

**Source: Britax USA

8 Responses to “To Boost, or Not to Boost”

  1. Hey girl. You know my thoughts on this.

    But, btwn the two above, I would go with the first one. Even if she does outgrow it before she physical outgrows it, you get your money’s worth by handing it down to Paige.


    But what do I know about the talk during recess? My kid is younger than yours. hehe 😀

  2. 2 Donna

    From one mom to another…here is my take on the car seat idea! My boys are 5 1/2 (twins) and I also had them in the Britax Marathon…they outgrew that around 4 also. I moved them into the Britax Regent…the largest (and heaviest) carseat with a 5 point harness. It has to be used with a seat belt to anchor it in the car if the children are over 40lbs…you have to check the instructions. Sometimes my boys complain but mostly they understand that some drivers are not careful and we have to be safe in case of an accident. They know how to buckle (and unbuckle) themselves and that helps them to feel “bigger!” They have not mentioned that they think they are in baby seats…maybe when they start kindergarten this fall!

    As for the booster seats…if you choose to go that way…I would definitely go with the one with the 5 point harness. Just check the instructions and make sure you can use the latch for children over 40lbs. I know they are heavier and harder to work with…but the other seats don’t offer as much protection (in my opinion…and I have tried them) and the children can get out of them very easily! If you know your child will listen to you and stay in the seat then maybe…but I’m still a little nervous about the safety aspect.

    I have been a car seat freak since my boys were born and only wanted the best ones…I just feel like you can’t be too careful…especially today…there are too many accidents and crazy drivers out there and these are our babies! Hope this helps…just my two cents!

  3. Hmm…. this is tricky because Ava consistently complains that she wants to be in a booster now because she has seen other friends in them. I personally would err on the side of caution and plan to keep her in a 5 pt harness until she reaches the max limit. Either way, I think sticking with Britax is a good move. Graco seems so cheap in comparison.

  4. 4 Kami

    Wow, I think I am slacker mom over here… My boys have both been in booster seats since they were 40lbs – Kamden since age 3.5 years and Jack at around 5 years…

    And they ain’t fancy ones like you have shown.

    good luck with the search!

  5. 5 Jill

    My preschooler rides in… Oh, wait. I like the way the Frontier looks! If that’s any help!

  6. I would stick with a 5 point harness for as long as you can. Everything I’ve read about safety seats has convinced me to keep Charlie in one until he’s 10 if he will fit (god the complex I am going to give this kid…). Whichever you choose, you are definitely on the right road sticking with the Britax seats.

  7. Okay, my child is close to 60lbs and she’s the height of a ten year old, whatever about going to Kindergarten in two weeks. I have her in a cheap, non-5-point harness and I drive crazy. Lord help us.

    I’d stick with the first seat if I were you.

  8. J finally outweighed the 5 point harness last fall. So he has two boosters, one with a high back and one without a back. Both pass the safety standards here, but I prefer the high back. I feel he is more secure in it even if he wants the shorter one back. And here our Provincial Law is that the kids must be 8 years old or 80 lbs to not be in a booster. At the rate of which J is growing he might be out of it by next summer!

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