If you have children then you are probably aware that their safety must be always on the first place. One of the things that you should pay attention to is a car seat. According to some researches, in 2013, 638 children from America, under 12 years died in car accidents and more than 127 250 were hurt. 38% of the children who died weren’t buckled up in any way.
The purpose of this article isn’t to scare you, since to explain the importance of properly securing your toddler. The topic is devoted to top 5 best booster seat for 4 year old because parents generally don’t pay attention to secure the child in that age thinking it is old enough just to be put into common car seat. You will be also met with benefits that car seats can provide so we hope we will help you make the best choice for your kid.
- Benefits of using a Booster Car Seat
- Car Seat Types
- Features to consider when buying car seat and a booster seat
- Reviews of Top 5 best booster seat for 4 year old in 2018
- Useful Tips
Benefits of using a Booster Car Seat
Let’s see first why it is good thing to have a Booster Car seat. Most of the parents skip a car seat and just use lap and shoulder belts. In case you are not using booster car seat, your kid’s lap and shoulders will be too low and the seat won’t fit in right way. That can cause potential hazard. So if the lap belt is position too high it can come to abdominal injury in a car accident.
Ease of use
This feature is very important because your kid will be expected to buckle and unbuckle itself. It will be less frustrating of a transition this to a car seat if the latching mechanism is easier.
Some booster seat for 4 year old also provide a latch system in order to secure the car seat to the car. This feature isn’t made for child’s safety since to keep the booster secure in the car when you don’t use it. For example, in case of car accident without a child in a car the booster won’t fly toward you.
In period when you kid is graduating from a conventional car seat it will be practical to find booster car seat that is less expensive. You can find a quality booster car seat between $50-100. It isn’t necessary to spend much money to have a good booster car seat because more expensive booster car seats aren’t always the safest option.
Weight and Height of a Child
Booster car seats are recommended by the U.S . federal government for the age from 4 (minimum 40lbs) to 12 years old. Most of the parents switch to just vehicle’s seat and seat belt between 8-9 years old children. Majority of booster car seats are designed for children from 40 to 100lbs even if some go up over 100lbs. When it comes to height they are designed for children 38” to 60” tall.
We recommend you to always check the details on box or label because it can happen that even within a single brand, different models have different specifications.
Car Seat and Booster Seat Regulations
The function of car seat is to prevent your child from being injured in a car accident. You probably know that car seats aren’t just recommended but mandated by law. There are some differences from state to state but all of them require child restraints and certain car seat models at different phases of life.
Most of the laws require children under the age of two to be buckled into rear facing car seats. On the other hand, booster car seat isn’t mandatory when you have an older child. That is why you should inform yourself about the law in your country and in order to make sure that seat you want to buy compiles to them.
Car Seat Types
In order to choose the right booster seat you should know to make a difference between car seat types. They are designed according to age and height.
Rear-Facing Car Seat (children up to 2-years old)
This type of car seats is buckled into the back seat of a car and face backwards and it is designed for children up to 2 years old. There are some professional opinions that rear facing car seats can be upgraded to front-facing seats when a kid turns one, but according the American Academy of Pediatrics it is recommended to keep a child in a rear-facing seat until it becomes 2 years old.
Front-Facing Car Seats
When your child becomes two years old it is a time to change a car seat from rear-facing to front-facing car seat (except the kid is less than 40 pounds). At this stage a baby becomes alert it talks and wants to explore the world around it.
Booster Car Seats
Booster car seat has a function to raise your kid up to safe seat belt height. According to CDC, booster car seats are 45% more effective in reducing risk of serious injury in kids 4-8 than common seat belts. There are convertible, backless or booster seats with high backs for more support and passing. Booster car seats are mandatory in 48 states and all U.S. countries except Florida and South Dakota.
These products are standard part of the car equipment so you don’t have to purchase them additionally. Regardless of that, when your kid is 4 feet 9 inches and between 8 and 10 (some children are smaller or larger depending on age so these figures can vary) it is time to start using seat belt.
Features to consider when buying car seat and a booster seat
Not all the car seats are the same. Each model has some different features that affect your child’s safety on the first place and then your budget and convenience. We prepared for you the list of features that shouldn’t be neglected when choosing a car seat.
Car seats with this feature are multifunctional but they aren’t designed for children of every age. Some can be used as a front and rear-facing car seat and some can be transformed from a front-facing seat to a booster seat.
This feature means that car seat includes all the above mentioned features: transition from a rear-facing car seat for infants, to a front-facing seat for toddlers to booster seat for young children.
Front-facing car seats usually have a 5-point harness system. They can be clipped at both the shoulders, hips and the crotch. The purpose of this system is to decrease the risk for a child to slip out of its seat.
Wide straps are convenient to keep a kid restrained and comfortable. This feature can provide comfort to a child and help avoid injures.
Multiclip Chest Straps
Majority of car seats contain a chest clip but they aren’t mandatory when it comes to law. This feature can help you secure your kid in its car seat and keep straps from moving around.
Built-In Lock Clips
Lock Clips can keep your child’s seat from tipping over. Majority of car seats now days include lock clips with the seat itself and they are easier to install.
Since 2002 all the cars were mandated by law to include LATCH System. In case a car doesn’t have this system, car seat companies offer LATCH System kits. The purpose of these systems is to provide better secure front and rear-facing car seats. Thanks to them you don’t need to use a car seat belt to anchor a car seat and give it better stability.
According to statistics, around 40% car accident deaths of children under 8 are caused by side collisions. Impact protection can provide extra cushion around kid’s head thanks to EPS foam, a material that is also used in helmets.
Recline feature can be mostly found in rear-facing car seats because it can be dangerous in front-facing models and it can provide more comfort to your little one while sleeping.
If you want to enhance the safety of your child’s head during crashes, then this feature could be a good solution for you. Besides helping keep your child’s head upright, this feature also provides cushion in case of a collision.
Considering the types of car seats and safety features that should be considered when buying a booster car seat, we prepared for you the list of top 5 booster seat for 4 year old. We hope you will find here the one that is most suitable for you and your kid.
Reviews of Top 5 best booster seat for 4 year old in 2018
In comparison to other products from this list, this brand isn’t recognized as others, but it deserves place on this list since it’s really kid-friendly. It has a low profile, latching drawer and a cup holder. There are also armrests and padded seat that provides additional comfort.
You can buy it at pretty affordable price, but if you are buying this product on Amazon it can take one to two months to ship. It also has a small weight range and can hold just kids from 40 to 100 pounds in comparison to other booster car seats that work with larger and smaller children.
This model is convenient for children from 4 to 10 years old and 40-100 pounds. It has an adjustable arm rests and padded cushions. The seat is pretty comfortable and low profile, meaning it has lower back so “big children” won’t feel like babies. It has a long lifespan and the price is affordable.
This model is considered as a bestseller and exceeds safety standards. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have side/shock absorption protection and rear-facing or front facing capability.
If you care about booster seat design, then this could be a good choice for you. This booster seat features children’s favorite Disney characters at affordable price. It is designed for children from 40 to 100 pounds.
It can also keep your kid calm because most of them feel special by riding in that seat with its Disney friends. This booster car seat also includes a cup holder. It is backless thanks to low profile so your kid will feel like the “adult”.
On the other hand, when it comes to safety, Disney still hasn’t been proven as manufacturer of child safety devices. It also has more limited weight range, so it works only for kids between 40-100 pounds.
This model can be found at very affordable price and can be used in two ways. You can use it as a harnessed booster (convertible car seat) from 22-40 pounds and as a belt-positioning booster from 40-110 pounds. In comparison to other products on this list, the belt-positioning booster is the same: there is vehicle’s shoulder belt and a slot to position it correctly over the child’s shoulder.
Considering the price, we were surprised with the weight range and overall comfort and styling. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages. It can’t function well as a car seat or a booster. The seat is pretty small for a growing kid. It is narrow and not so deep. There is only one recline setting so it can’t fit very well in most vehicles. There is an old LATCH system that is pretty pain to work with.
If you are looking for a good transitional booster seat, then this could be a good solution for you. It transitions from a 5-point harness supporting children from 20-65 pounds to a high-back booster with no harness that supports kids from 30-120 pounds. The harness is easy to adjust and requires no rethreading.
There is also memory foam that provides high comfort, nice soft fabrics containing air ventilation, energy-absorbing EPS foam, full body side-impact protection (head, face, torso and pelvis) and LATCH connectors that secure the vehicle in case of accident. There are two built in mesh cupholders, twist-free harness belts and metal reinforced side walls. It has adjustable back in order to accommodate a growing kid (up to 59 inches tall) and this feature is required in many states. We also have to note that it is easy to install.
On the other hand, it is bigger, wider and heavier (over 20 pounds) in comparison to other booster seats so it will be difficult to squeeze it in 3 seats in row or switch it back and forth between cars.
Install your car seat professionally
Most of the police and fire departments have officers or firefighters who are certified child passenger technicians. In case you are not sure how to install the car seat, you can contact local police or local car seat inspection center and professional installer.
Choose the right size
As your kid is growing, you will have to keep up with car safety. When you have a newborn you will need a rear-facing car seat in the back seat until it turns two. Later you will have to buy a forward-facing seat and booster seat down the line. As all the car seats are based on weight and length, you will have to plot your kids’ growth.
Also, even if your kid is two, it can be smaller or larger than average toddler so you will have to track your child’s progress in order to make a smarter car seat choice.
Register car seat
When you buy a new car you will have to send the manufacturer’s owner information card provided with the seat. In that way the manufacturer will be able to notify you if the model is recalled. Every manufacturer is required to fix the problem free of charge.
If you are a parent, then kid’s safety must be on the first place always. According to statistics a lot of children get hurt or die in car accidents because they aren’t secured well. That is especially the case with the age of 4 because parents think children in that age don’t need a car seat any more.
When buying a booster car seat for 4 year old you should consider the features like: convertibility, all-in-one, 5-point harness and twist-free straps. Considering those features, the winner from our list of the top 5 booster seat for 4 year old is Safety 1st Go Backless Booster Car Seat. It is kid friendly, comfortable seat available at very affordable price and some disadvantages of this product like material and non-recognizable brand can be neglected in comparison to benefits you get.