View Full Version : Confused about booster seat choices

03-13-2006, 02:02 AM
I'm still confused about choosing a booster seat even after reading several posts on this message board. I decided it was best to post my own question.

Here is my dilemma. My daughter has outgrown her Graco Comfortsport in height but not weight. She just turned 3 on Feb 25th, weighs 37lbs and is 38 1/2" tall. I was going to measure her in a sitting position to get her shoulder height before posting but didn't get a chance to. She is fairly long in the torso.

I know she is too young to go into a standard belt positioning booster. I've been looking into combination boosters with a harness but I'm not quite sure I've made the right choice. I can't afford a Britax so I've been looking in the $100 and under category. I was leaning towards an Evenflo Chase DLX since it received good marks from Consumer Reports. I've read others opinions on this site and it seems it doesn't make a good booster after they outgrown the weight limit of the harness. I'm now considering an Evenflo Bolero.

One of my concerns is my daughter my outgrow the weight limit of the harness before she turns 4. Her doctor said she grew more than the average toddler this year which means she might reach 40lbs and 40" by the time she's 3 1/2. This is speculation but she does seem to always grow more than the expected height and weight each year. I'm worried I may have to start using the seat belt instead of a harness before she turns 4.

Sorry to ramble on so much, just worried about making the right decision. It seems that there aren't any booster seats with harness that go over 40lbs that are in the $100 range. Please let me know if I have missed finding one or if there is another option. I also don't know if I'm worrying unnecessarily about reaching 40lbs before the year is up. If I decide to use the belt positioner at 3 1/2 years and find she won't stay in securely, what are my options? Everyone here seems to have great knowledge to share. I look forward to hearing what people have to say before I make my final decision.

Thanks in advance!

Mom of Katelyn (and 12 weeks into baby #2!)

03-13-2006, 09:09 AM
The Cosco Apex / Lancer goes to 65 in the harness, then becomes a booster. Its $139 at Toys R Us. I'd check into it. Like you've discovered, most only go to 40. :(

The big big drawback is that its headrest NEEDS to have support from your vehicle, so if you have short seats or no headrest, it won't work. The rule per their manual is that when in the Apex, the midpoint of the child's head has to be at or below the vehicle's seatback or headrest. So, it won't work in certain situations, but if it will work for you, its a good option for keeping her harnessed past 40. It will not work in my husband's F350 full cab. The seat backs are low. Sitting on the truck's backseat, she's only got a few inches before the midpoint passes the back. Put her into the seat and I'm sure those few inches put her up too high.

There's also the Sunshine Kids Radian, but it has some serious install issues front facing with the belt. I'd definitely want to try before you buy. Its harnessed until 65, no booster though.

The only other options are the 65 lbs Britaxes (Marathon, etc.) or a Regent which is a large seat that harnessed until 80 lbs.


Spencers Mom
03-14-2006, 09:14 AM
I won't pretend to have as much knowledge as the others that will respond. But we bought the new Apex that will harness to 65lbs and change to a booster. Our son is 3 and 40lbs. We are very happy with our choice. It's easy to install with latch and with the seat belt. And isn't too big of a deal to move from car to car. We paid $140(tax and all) BUT that was with no coupons. We needed something TODAY. We were also in a Comfort Sport and outgrew the height. We pressured Grandparents for some donations so I totally understand about the $s. If you wait for one of the good sales they have at Toys R Us I'm sure you can get it down closer to your $100 mark. They may have it cheaper at other stores now. There are some restrictions about the height of the seatback in the vehicle so make sure it will work with your car.

03-14-2006, 09:27 AM
You're correct that your choices are pretty limited for car seats that harness over 40lbs (unfortunately!). Here's a list:

* Britax Marathon (up to 65lbs harnessed, $270)

* Britax Decathlon (up to 65lbs harnessed, $285)

* Britax Wizard (up to 65lbs harnessed, $270, *now discontinued)

* Britax Boulevard (new Wizard with wider head wings, up to 65lbs
harnessed, $299)

* Britax Husky (up to 80lbs harnessed, $219, (*now discontinued)

* Britax Regent (new Husky, up to 80lbs harnessed, $250)

* Fisher Price Safe EX Voyage (up to 55lbs harnessed, $180)

* Sunshine Kids Radian (up to 65lbs harnessed, $180 - $190)

* Safety 1st Apex 65 (up to 65lbs harnessed-- but needs a high seat back or headrest behind it to do so, booster up to 100lbs, $119 - $165)

* Safeguard child seat (up to 65lbs harnessed, $429!!!)

It looks like the Apex is the least expensive option, although you pbly want to check it out IRL and see how the top slots are in relation to your dd's shoulders to make sure she's got a few inches of growing room left before you buy it.


03-30-2006, 09:19 PM
I am so glad I posted a message about my car seat dilemma. The information I received was a tremendous help. I hadn't heard of the Apex 65 and it turned out to be the perfect option. I was a little wary because it is a Cosco product but I was satisfied by the reviews I read from other parents.

I looked up the Apex 65 on this message board, as well as, epinions.com, amazon.com and babycenter.com. I found there were two versions of the carseat. Reviews were positive and dealt mostly with concern about the head rest issue and the easily removed arm rest covers. Luckily, the head rests in my VW stationwagon suit the car seat well, the same for my husband's Montero. My daughter has quickly discovered that the arm rest covers come off and has done a cute imitation of a penguin with them. I just make sure I put them back on before we get out of the car. The biggest problem was finding the car seat to purchase.

A message posting at this site talked about the confusion with the brand names. This helped me figure out which seat I wanted. There are two different names for what amounts to the same seat. The "Cosco Alpha Elite" comes in black with red stripes and has "Alpha Elite" stitched into the headrest. The navy and light blue version of the seat is called the "Safety 1st Apex 65" and has "Safety 1st" stitched on the head rest. They seem to be the same seat just different colors. I opted for the blue Safety 1st since it gets too hot in Los Angeles for a black car seat. Toys R Us didn't carry either one, which was unfortunate since they were having a sale. Babies R Us only carried the black Alpha Elite. Luckily, babycenter.com carried the seat I wanted, was having spring sale and had a deal for free shipping. I saved about $10 and got the seat I wanted. I had to wait a week, which made us a little worried since my daughter's shoulder's had gone past the top slots of her Comfortsport already but it was worth the wait.

We are very happy with our choice. It's easy to adjust, easy to install and my daughter is very comfortable in it. I'm happy we'll be able to use it until she's 57" and 100lbs. It's a little wider than I hoped but not really a problem. Thanks again to everyone who responded. I couldn't have done it without you.

Mom of Katelyn (and 14 weeks into baby #2)