View Full Version : Big two year old creating big car seat dilemma!

12-30-2005, 11:45 AM
My son is 2 1/2 years old, but very big for his age. He is 39 1/2 inches and 38 1/2 lbs. He is totally growing out of his car seat (Evenflo Triumph). It's supposed to be good for up to 40 lbs. Without his coat, it's somewhat ok, but with the bulky coat, we are jamming him in there much too snugly. His head is at the halfway point on the back, and the straps are below his shoulders.

So, we are looking into a booster, but I can't decide b/w the kind with or w/o the 5 point harness. I've read that the 5pt is for kids up to 40 lbs. I've also read that the booster w/only the belt is Ok for kids 30-100lbs and 38"to57" -- yet only for kids 3 yrs and up.

I'd prefer to buy one of the plain (belt only) booster seats b/c they are less bulky - either the Graco Turbo Booster, Compass folding one, or the Britax. If I went with the 5 pt booster, I think I'd buy the Cosco/Eddie Bauer Summit (or High Back).

The problem is that my son falls in b/w the parameters, not quite 40 lbs and he's not three. He will be 40 lbs, I suspect, before he is three. I've read that you should keep kids in the 5 point harness as long as possible. I just don't see my son being advanced/mature enough just to be in a regular booster.

So, I am left with the dilemma of: a) buying the combo booster seat, just for the extra saftey of the 5pt for a couple more months but hating the extra size of it for years; b) shoving him into the Triumph for a few more months, or c) buying the plain belt booster seat since he fits the height/weight requirement, although not age requirement.

I hate all options. Does anyone have any advice/suggestions? Thanks.

Aunt to sweet baby boy
12-30-2005, 12:08 PM
First of all your son should not go into a booster until he is at least 4 but the longer he is in a harnessed seat the better.

Your son should not be wearing a bulky coat in his carseat. In a crash the coat would compress against the straps and they would not protect him correctly because he would move forward against them. A Way to tell if the straps will protect him while wearing a coat is to put him in with the coat on and tighten the straps as much as you can. Then take him out of the seat without adjusting the straps. Take off his coat and place him back into the seat. If the straps are loose at all it is not safe, they should be snug. It is better to put on layers than a big coat because layers of clothing will not compress.

I would reccomend you get a Britax Regent. It is a lot of money but it will be able to harness your son until he is 80 lbs. The only negative is that it can not be used on an airplane. It is a FF only seat and it requires a tether over 50 lbs. If you do not have one in your car you can have one installed by the dealer, usually free of charge.

There is a new cosco apex seat out that is a harness seat to 65 lbs and then becomes a booster. This would also be a good choice for you and it is about $140 at Toys R Us. The only negative about this seat is that you must have high seatbacks. You need to think of the back of the seat just as padding and your seatback of the car is what you need. If you drive a car with low seatbacks and headrests in the backseat this may not work for you.



12-30-2005, 12:25 PM
There is no way he is mature enough to handle a booster seat--so while he fits the height and weight, a booster is just not an option and really won't be until he is at least 4. 3 year olds are really too young for a booster too. Their heads are still too big in proportion with the rest of their bodies to be safe in just a 3 point harness.

Also your son should not be wearing a bulky coat in a car seat. The harness will not hold him properly in the event of an accident.

I'm assuming that you have the harness in the top slots and since the slots are below his shoulders...you need a new seat yesterday!

I think you should look at the Safety First Apex. It will harness to 65 pounds since you've got a big boy on your hands, plus it is tall. The only drawback to this seat is that you MUST have the vehicle seat/head rest behind your child's head. So the tops of his ears shouldn't go past the top of the seat. Once he has outgrown the harness you can remove it and use it as a booster, but the rule about his head still applies.

The Eddie Bauer/Cosco seat is really not a good seat--so you might as well cross that off your list as well. The belt positioning loops don't let the belt slide through. You can't use the harness past 40 pounds and you're little guy is almost their. If you get the kind with the adjustable back so you don't need to rethread the harness--you can't use the harness when it's in the top slot. You really need a seat with tall top slots and a high harness weight.

Another option for you would to be get a Britax Marathon that will harness until 65 pounds or get a Britax Husky that is being discontinued and he can remained harnessed until 80 pounds before going into a booster. The Britax Regent which is replacing the husky, would be a good option as well...just more expensive.


12-30-2005, 12:46 PM
Thanks for everyone's help so far. Why can't anything be easy? The Apex 65 looks perfect, but I don't think our seats are high enough.

As for the Summit, please advise what was meant by "The belt positioning loops don't let the belt slide through". I understand about the 40 lbs limit, but not what this meant.

I read that the Regent doesn't fit many cars either b/c of it's size. These two (Regent/Husky and Apex) seem like my only choices.

12-30-2005, 03:22 PM
The belt guides on the side of the Summit hold the seat belt against the child's body, but if I child moves forward it can create slack that won't retract when the child sits backs and it could result in the child not being held correctly in the event of a crash. The Regent actually fits in many cars, the thing is it is big so if space is at a premium, ie you have three seats to fit across on two and an adult in the back of the car. The thing to remember with the Regent is it must be tethered once the child reaches 50 lbs.

The Regent and Apex are two choices, but you also have the new Radian ($199) and the Marathon would still work for your DS but just not as long as the Regent or Apex would.


CPSTech and mom to three, two in seats

12-30-2005, 03:38 PM
When wearing a seat belt, it needs to be able to retract after you buckle or lean out of position. The guides on the seat for the shoulder belt don't let a seat belt do that soooo if you're little guy were to lean and the seat belt got extended it wouldn't retract back. In an accident this would be a huge problem.

Think about when you break hard and the seat belt catches you. If your son had mangaged to get the seat belt loose then his body would travel and hit into the locked belt potentially injuring him. Now I know your little boy is your most precious thing in life and you want the absolute best for him.

The only absolute positive way to know for sure how a seat will fit is to try it out---Toys R Us and Babies R Us are carrying the Apex, but it's new, so the employees may or may not know what you are looking for. Here's a link for the Apex so you know what you are looking for...but it could have Alpha Elite on the head rest or be red and black.

Higher end baby stores will carry the Husky and Regent. Since the Husky is being discontinued you will probably get the best deal on it. BabyLove online had the Husky on clearance for $169--which is a great deal on that seat. Here's the link--

There is one other option, but it's over $400. It's called the Safe Seat. www.safeseat.com

What car do you have? Does it have top tethers?

You can also look at www.carseatdata.com there is a compatibility for cars and car seats.

Also to see pics of kids in the Husky go to this link:
You might have to fish around a bit, but you'll also be able to tell how much room the seat takes up.


12-30-2005, 07:58 PM
Actually Susan means the SafeGuard:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/927718/


12-30-2005, 11:33 PM
Thanks Deborah. I'm on vaction from school this week...and my brain seems to have been left at school.


01-28-2006, 11:18 PM
so it seems the safeguard is a good choice
to achieve maximum safety of 5 point harness

Aunt to sweet baby boy
01-29-2006, 04:28 PM
I think it depends on your child and your budget and who will be using the seat. A $40 seat can be as effective as a $300 seat if used properly. There is alot of difference between the two seats, padding foam etc, but if a seat is not safe it will not be able to be on the market.