What are the Best Car Seats for 5 Year Olds?
Watching your baby grow into a kindergartner can be a lot of fun. Your kindergartner is hitting all sorts of new milestones like learning how to read and make friends. As your child grows, you may need to start shopping around for a new car seat. Read more to learn about what types of car seats you should consider for your five-year-old.
Types of Car Seats Suitable for 5 Year Olds
Most five-year-old children sit in one of the following seats:
- All-in-one car seat that provides rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster options
- Front-facing seat with a five-point harness
- Combination seat that provides a forward-facing five-point harness option or high-back booster option
- High-back booster seat using your vehicle’s seatbelts
- Backless booster seat using your vehicle’s seatbelts
Five-Point Harness or High Back Booster
By this age, your child has outgrown a rear-facing seat and is now facing forwards. Your main decision is figuring out if they need to be restrained with a harness or if they are ready to use a seatbelt in a booster seat. Many kindergarteners are ready for a booster seat, but not all are. Your five-year-old is ready for a booster seat if they meet both of these requirements:
- They are at least 40 pounds. Ideally, they meet the maximum weight limit for the five-point harness they are using.
- They are mature enough to sit in a booster seat without wiggling around or slouching. If they need to be restrained in order to properly sit in the seat, they need a five-point harness.
There is no rush to switch your child to a booster seat if they have not hit the maximum height and weight for their five-point harness. If they like their harness, they can keep it longer.
Most five-year-old children are not ready for a backless booster just yet. A high-back booster provides head and neck support that younger children need. A backless booster is ideal for an older child who just needs to sit higher so their seatbelt fits them properly.
Learn more about car seat safety and which type of seat is best for your child from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Recommended Car Seats for 5 Year Old Children
Because five-year-old children are often in a state of transition when it comes to car seats, there are many options that work for this age group. Here are some recommendations that cover a wide range of needs.
Britax G1.1 Frontier
The Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster is a great, affordable option for a five-year-old child. 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. Because of the high maximum weight, your kindergartener can stay restrained in a harness for as long as they want. The Frontier is one of the easiest car seats to install. All you have to do is buckle the seatbelt 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 situations. With 10 years of life, this seat can last them through the rest of their car seat years.
The EvenFlo Maestro is another great option for families needing a car seat to last for the rest of their kindergartener’s 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. It has four shoulder harness positions and two crotch buckle positions for extended use.
The Maestro features an auto-adjusted belt positioner so the seatbelt fits your child properly every time they use the seat. According to Evenflo tests, the seat can withstand twice the energy of the federal crash standard. This car seat is accredited as a “Best Bet” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, so you can feel confident your child is secure in it.
At 11 pounds, this seat is lightweight and easy to carry around. It is also simple to install and is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for flying. The Maestro comes with two integrated cup holders that have flexible bands, helping your child keep drinks and snacks close and secure.
Graco 4Ever 4 in 1
The Graco 4Ever All-In-One car seat gives your child multiple seating options and a decade of use. It is great for parents who want something to last from infancy through booster seat days. 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.
The 4Ever boasts a 10-position headrest to give your child the best fit and optimal safety. It features six recline positions to help your child grow with the seat. It also has a shoulder seatbelt positioner to ensure the seatbelt properly fits your child. This car seat comes with two cup holders so your child can keep drinks and snacks close by. The 4Ever is also easy to install and comes with a level indicator to help you find the best position for installation. 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.
Diono Rainier All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
If you’re looking for a car seat that can be used for a baby through their booster seat days, the Diono Rainier is another option. This all-in-one convertible car seat gives you multiple seating options and 10 years of use. This car seat 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 converts to a high-back booster that can hold a child up to 120 pounds. It may be the only car seat you ever have to buy.
This seat has a full steel frame, making it one of the most durable car seats you can have. It also has one of the narrowest frames on the market. Because it is so slender, it is one of the only car seats that can be placed side-by-side in the back seat. Most vehicles can fit three Diono Rainier car seats across the back seat. This is great for families who have multiple children in car seats.
The Diono Rainier has a 12-position head support to give your child the best and most comfortable fit. The interior of the seat is spacious and well padded. This car seat conveniently folds flat and is easy to travel with or carry around. It is also approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for flying, so your child can ride in it on an airplane.
If you are looking to save money by meeting a variety of seating needs for either one child or multiple children, buying an all-in-one car seat is likely the best option. If you are looking to just find something for your five-year-old to last them through the rest of their childhood, a combination seat is the way to go. No matter what you decide, make sure your kindergartner is ready for a booster seat before placing them in one.
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