Best Car Seat for 3 Year Old Child

As your toddler nears pre-school age, you may find yourself shopping for a bigger or different style car seat for them. There are many choices and features to consider, though. What car seat should a 3 year old use? The best car seat for three-year-old children will depend on their size and how you want to place them in your vehicle. Read more to learn about types of car seats and how to select the right one.

Best Car Seat for 3 Year Olds
Name Image Weight (lbs) Orientation My Rating
Graco 4Ever All In One Car Seat 22.75 lbs Rear facing/Forward facing/High back booster/Backless booster 4.7
Diono Rainier All in One Convertible Car Seat 23 lbs Rear facing/Forward facing/High back booster 5
EvenFlo Maestro Booster Car Seat 14.2 lbs Forward facing/High Back Booster 4.5
Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat 24.9 lbs Forward facing/High Back Booster 5

Different Types of Car Seats for Three Year Olds

Convertible Car Seats

Convertible car seats can be placed rear-facing or forward-facing. These seats usually hold rear-facing children up to at least 40 pounds and forward-facing children up to at least 65 pounds. Examples of a convertible car seat include the Britax Marathon, Diono Radian R100, and the Chicco Nextfit.

Convertible car seats are ideal for families who have a baby needing a car seat to last them through their toddler years. Convertible car seats give you the option to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. Rear-facing seats distribute crash forces more equally throughout the seat, and keep your child’s head and spine aligned in a car accident. Toddlers often need to sit rear-facing until they are at least two years old. Some children continue to sit rear-facing past their third birthday, though, depending on their size and comfort in the seat.

All-in-One Car Seats

All-in-one car seats are similar to convertible car seats in that children can sit rear-facing or forward-facing. They also come with an additional booster mode for children who only need a high-back booster. These booster seats usually cannot be turned into a backless booster suited for older children. Examples of all-in-one car seats include the Safety 1st Grow and Go and the Graco 4Ever.

All-in-one car seats are ideal for families who need a car seat for a toddler to last them into their pre-school years. They give you the option to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, but also give you multiple forward-facing options. With booster limits of up to 100 pounds and 57 inches, a larger three-year-old could use the booster option if they outgrow the forward-facing limits. The booster option requires the use of the vehicle’s over-the-shoulder seatbelts as opposed to the car seat’s five-point harness. Most three-year-olds, however, are small enough to continue using a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness.

Combination Car Seats

Combination car seats are designed for children who no longer need to use a rear-facing car seat. Combination seats have up to three settings:

The seat is designed to fit the needs of a pre-school aged child through the rest of their car seat years. They have height and weight limits similar to that of all-in-one or convertible car seats. The main difference is that combination seats are only forward-facing and come with extra booster settings. Examples of combination car seats include: Britax Pioneer, Graco Nautilus, and Diono Radian All-In-One.

Booster Seats

When looking at the weight and height limits on various car seats, you may notice that your three-year-old could meet the height and weight requirements to sit in a booster seat. Three-year-olds, however, rarely need to sit in a booster seat due to size. Furthermore, most three-year-olds are not ready to sit in a booster seat. Three-year-olds should be in a five-point harness because:

Read more about car seat safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What You Should Consider

When choosing what car seat to use for a 3 year old, you should consider:

The main differences among the types of car seats mentioned above have to do with whether or not your child needs to be rear-facing, forward-facing, or in a high-back booster. Most three-year-olds are forward-facing or nearing the transition to forward-facing. So, any of the car seats mentioned above will work.

So, now you must assess the future of the car seat. Will a younger sibling ever need to use the seat? In this case, you may want to purchase a convertible or all-in-one seat.

Is this the seat your three-year-old will need for the rest of their car seat days? If yes, you should look for a seat that has multiple booster options and takes longer to expire.

If your child has siblings riding in your vehicle, consider purchasing a car seat with a slender fit. That way, you can comfortably fit two or three car seats in your backseat if you need to.

Finally, your three-year-old is learning about the world and sometimes needs ways to settle down in the car. Your child may enjoy a snack in the car, so having a seat with one or two cup holders attached is useful. Some seats come with armrests that can help your child relax or keep their hands to themselves.

Best Car Seats for Three Year Olds

Graco 4Ever All In One Car Seat

The Graco 4Ever All-In-One car seat gives you multiple seating options and 10 years of use. This seat allows you to rear-face your child up to 40 pounds, and forward-face them in a five-point harness up to 65 pounds. It also converts to a high-back booster to hold a child up to 100 pounds. It can then convert to a backless booster for a child up to 120 pounds. It boasts a 10-position headrest to give your child the best fit and optimal safety. The seat comes with two cup holders so your child can keep drinks and snacks close by. With 10 years of life, you may never have to buy another car seat. Therefore, this seat could save you money while also providing optimal comfort and safety.

>> Click HERE to check the latest price of this car seat <<

Diono Rainier All in One Convertible Car Seat

The Diono Rainier car seat is a multi-use car seat. It allows you to rear-face your child up to 50 pounds and forward-face them in a five-point harness up to 90 pounds. It also converts to a high-back booster that can hold a child up to 120 pounds. It comes with a 12-position head support so you can give your children the best fit as they grow. This seat is the only one on the market with a full steel frame (as of August 2017), making it one of the most durable car seats you can have.

The seat’s slender frame gives you the ability to put them side-by-side in your vehicle, which is helpful if you have multiple children in car seats. Many vehicles are able to hold three Diono Radian car seats in the backseat, a feature not found with most car seats. The seat conveniently folds flat and is easy to travel with or carry around, so it works well for a carpool situation. It comes with a cup holder to keep drinks and snacks close by. The Rainier is also approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for flying, so your child can ride in it on an airplane. With a 10-year life span, this seat may be the only one you’ll ever have to buy.

>> Click HERE to check the latest price of this car seat << 

EvenFlo Maestro Booster Car Seat

The EvenFlo Maestro is a great option for families looking for a car seat for their three-year-old to take with them into childhood. This affordable car seat can hold a forward-facing child in a five-point harness up to 50 pounds. It converts to a high-back booster seat that can hold a child up to 110 pounds. This lightweight seat is easy to install and is also FAA approved. The seat comes with two integrated cup holders that have flexible bands. This helps your child keep drinks and snacks close and secure.

>> Click HERE to check the latest price of this car seat <<

Britax G1.1 Frontier Booster Car Seat

Britax has several types of car seats a three-year-old could use. The best Britax car seat for a 3 year old or older child is the Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster. This car seat holds a forward-facing child in a five-point harness up to 90 pounds. It converts to a high-back booster seating a child up to 120 pounds. It is one of the easiest car seats to install – all you have to do is buckle the seat belt across the seat. This makes it easy for children to take their seat in and out of different cars, which is helpful for a school carpool situation. With 10 years of life, this seat can last them through the rest of their car seat years.

>> Click HERE to check the latest price of this car seat <<

Conclusion

With so many options to choose from, it is important to always remember what you’re looking for in a car seat for your three-year-old. Keep in mind who will use the car seat, how much time you’ll need it, and what kind of vehicle you have when doing your shopping.


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