When I was choosing a car seat for my 4 year old child, I wanted to make sure they would stay safe and secure for as long as possible. My children were tall for their ages and by the age of four, they were already too big to fit in most car seats and I had to switch them to a booster seat.

I just didn’t feel like this was the safest choice for my family, which is why we chose a lightweight convertible car seat, with a higher weight and height limits.  

A convertible car seat is the best option for your four-year-old. These often have higher weight and height limits, allowing your child to stay safe and secure for much longer. Many children can use these convertible car seats until they are six or seven, without being squished and stuck in the process. 

I have found that many parents are eager to move to a booster seat as soon as possible. Parents like how lightweight and compact they are. Yet, the right convertible car seat can be just as light as a booster seat while providing additional safety for your child. 

Can a 4-Year-Old Use a Booster Seat?

A 4-year-old can use a booster seat in most states. Many will allow a weight requirement before the child can switch to a booster seat, but many agree that the age of four is when a child may switch to a booster seat. 

For example, in New York State, all children under the age of four need to ride in a child safety seat. All children will then need to ride in a child restraint system, including a booster seat, until they are eight. 

According to the AAP, kids can move over to a booster seat when they reach the weight and height limits on their forward-facing car seats. This often happens when the child reaches the age of four. 

However, you should keep your child in a convertible car seat and/or combination seat even if your child is over the age of four. Keep using the convertible seat for as long as they are within the height and weight requirements. The longer they can stay in the car seat, the safer they will be in the vehicle. 

Finding a Lightweight and Compact Convertible Car Seat

As a parent, I saw others switching over to a booster seat because it is lightweight and easier to use. Compared to the bulkiness of most car seats, a booster seat is a welcome relief. However, your child may not be ready for a booster seat. 

Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat, Cosco Finale DX , and the Britax Grow with You Harness-2-Booster Car Seat and lightweight alternatives to booster seats. These weigh the same, or slightly above, booster seats, making them a safe option that can move around between vehicles and not take up much space. 

The Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat is the best option if you are worried about space issues in the vehicle.

In smaller vehicles, especially when you need to fit infant seats inside, space is a big consideration. This option from Graco can easily keep your four-year-old comfortable inside without running out of room and while fitting other children and car seats in the vehicle as well. 

Best Car Seats For 4 Year Olds

NameWeight LimitHeight LimitMode
Chicco MyFit Harness and Booster Seat25-100 lbs.57"Highback Booster
Britax Pinnacle ClickTight Harnessed Booster25-120 lbs.62"Highback Booster
Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster22-110 lbs.57"Highback Booster
Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster22-110 lbs.57"Highback Booster
Evenflo Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Booster22-110 lbs.57"Both Highback/Backless Booster
Safety 1st Ultramax Air 360 4-In-14-120 lbs.57"Both Rear-Facing/Forward-Facing

1. Graco 4Ever 4-in-1  – The Best Graco Car Seat for a 4-Year-Old

The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 convertible car seat is the best Graco car seat for your four-year-old. Graco is a name that you can trust and love when it comes to the car seat and other baby products, and this car seat is no different. 

The car seat is designed to provide you ten years of use. It can transform from a rear-facing harness seat, holding your child up to 40 pounds, all the way to a booster when they reach 120 pounds. 

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Graco 4Ever 4 in 1 Car Seat featuring TrueShield Side Impact...
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Graco 4Ever 4 in 1 Car Seat featuring TrueShield Side Impact...
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of your harness and headrest, in one motion, to...
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You can even wait to use the booster seat. As a forward-facing car seat, this Graco model can work for children up to 65 pounds. This helps you keep your child in a car seat for much longer than before. 

For being four car seats in one, this is still a compact option. The dimensions are 20 X 21.5 X 24 inches, providing all the room you need in your back seat. In addition to providing additional height and weight requirements compared to other car seats, this model from Graco also has six reclining positions to help your child stay comfortable along the way. 

There are many features to love about this car seat. It provides a safe and easy to adjust harness system to keep your child safe, an integrated belt lock-off to make installing easier, and the right Latch attachment to ensure the car seat is safe. 

2. Cosco Finale DX– The Best Car Seat for a Tall 4-Year-Old

The Cosco Finale DX is the best car seat for a tall four-year-old. This car seat is designed to work as a car seat, with a five-point harness to keep your child safe but can also convert over to a safe booster seat when your child is old enough. 

Not only is this car seat suitable to hold children in a forward-facing position up to 65 pounds, but it is also designed to work for children, as a car seat, until they are 49 inches tall. Once it transitions into a booster seat, it can hold your child until they are 52 inches tall. 

Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat (Dusk)
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Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat (Dusk)
  • The Cosco Finale DX 2 in 1 Combination Booster Car Seat features a 5 point safety harness that...
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Britax Pioneer 70 Review - Best Harnessed Booster Seat?

This is also a slim and easy car seat to work with as well and we almost added it to our best narrow car seat list. It is easy to fit three of these across the back of your vehicle. The dimensions of this car seat are 18.25 X 19.00 X 29.75 inches, making it easy to install and put in the back of your vehicle. 

There are a lot of other great safety features that come with this car seat as well. It allows for extended use in both modes, which allows your child to stay in a car seat longer than ever before. It meets all safety standards and is lightweight to move back and forth between different vehicles. 

Whether you want to use this as a forward-facing seat until your child is 65 pounds, or as a booster when your child is six or older until they are 100 pounds, you are sure to love this car seat. 

3.Graco Tranzitions – The Best Portable Car Seat for a 4-Year-Old

The Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat is the best portable car seat for a four-year-old. This choice can change from a harness booster to a high back booster to a backless booster based on the age and weight of your child. 

As a harness booster, your child can stay safely in a car seat until they are 65 pounds. It also has eight heigh positions so even if your child is a little taller, you have some options to keep them safe in the vehicle. 

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat, Proof
  • 3-in-1 harness booster helps protect your child, from toddler to youth
  • Grows with your child from forward-facing harness (22-65 lb) to highback booster (40-100 lb*) to...
  • No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness System allows the headrest and harness to adjust together in...

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The dimensions on this are small enough to help this car seat fit in almost any car you need, helping to protect while on the go. The dimensions on this item are 18.9 X 10.47 X 33.50 inches with plenty of room to spare. 

Parents will love all of the great features that come with this car seat. The three-in-one harness booster can help your child stay safe for longer. The harness system headrest can adjust with the harness to help with comfort as well. It is lightweight and portable when you are on the go and you can move it around. 

The two cup holders can be very useful for your child with the open-loop belt guides to help position the seat belt when it is time for your child to graduate up to a booster seat as well. 

4.Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat – The Best Budget Car Seat for a 4-Year-Old

The Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat is the best budget car seat for a four-year-old. This car seat comes in at only $66.85, though it does not include the booster seat as some of our other choices do. It does work for children to sit rear-facing until they are 40 pounds, and as a forward-facing car seat as well. 

This car seat can meet or exceed all of the federal safety standards so your child is as safe as possible. The five-point harness system with four strap positions on the arms will help you to grow with your child and keep them safe.

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat - Neptune with Car Seat...
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Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat - Neptune with Car Seat...
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This is a light and compact car seat in terms of weight, making it great when traveling by air, when using a smaller vehicle, or when you need to switch from one vehicle to another. 

This Tribute car seat has smaller dimensions as well. The dimensions are 18.5 X 22 X 26.60 inches and it weighs 12 pounds. The maximum weight for it is forty pounds though so it may not fit your child as well as some of the other car seats. 

If you are looking for something while traveling or a car seat that can keep your child safe a little longer, it is a great choice. However, if you want to keep your taller child in the car seat for longer, this one may not work. 

5. Britax Grow with You Harness – The Best Car Seat for 4-Year-Old with a 5 Point Harness

The Britax Grow with You Harness-2-Booster Car Seat is the best car seat for a four-year-old with a 5-point harness. This is a great car seat for your investment and can provide you with all of the protection you need, while also growing with your child. 

The dimensions on this car seat are 21 X 19 X 25. It can hold anywhere from 25 to 120 pounds, ensuring that your child will stay in the car seat and booster seat for much longer than the traditional car seat. It is comfortable with all the great features, providing a five-point harness for much longer than before. 

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Britax is known for its quality and great design. This is a two in one booster seat that allows your child to transition from a forward-facing harness when ready to a booster as they grow. Rather than having to move your child to a booster seat by the time they are 50 pounds or smaller, this car seat is designed to keep them in a harness and safe for much longer. 

This car seat is known for its safety features. It has 2 layers of side impact protection, a base that can absorb the impact, a steel frame. Add in the comfort pads that will help protect the neck of your child from the shoulder straps and this is the best car seat to work with!

6.Diono Radion 3RXT– The Best Diono Car Seat for a 4-Year-Old

The Diono Radion 3RXT  is the best Diono car seat for a four-year-old. This car seat can hold a child up to 120 pounds and has more than 12 headrest positions that are easy to adjust. This is an all-in-one convertible car seat that will work until your child is way past needing a booster seat. 

There are a lot of options you will love about it. For example, it has side impact protection and some aluminum in the siding that will keep your child safe in case of an accident. It also supports your child riding rear-facing until they are 45 pounds. This provides more protection than most of the options on our list. 

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Diono Radian 3RXT, 4-in-1 Convertible Extended Rear and Forward...
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The Diono car seat brand has a lot of great options and you really can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose to use. But this one has all of the features you would need when it comes to picking from this brand and making sure your child is safe. 

In addition to supporting your child rear-facing for longer, the seat can be used until your child reaches 120 pounds. It also has the necessary approval to be used for air travel by the FAA and 12 color choices to go with for your needs. Whether you just want to keep your child safe or you need to travel and go on an airplane with them, this Diono car seat is one of the best choices to make. 

7. Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat – The Best Narrow Car Seat

The Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat is the best narrow car seat for your four-year-old. It is light, slim, and easy to move from one car to another. You can easily fit three of these across the backseat of your vehicle or add it in with other car seats or booster seats.  

The dimensions on this one are much smaller than many of the others you will see on the list. The depth is 16.25 inches while the height is close to many others, at 25.5 inches. However, the width is at least a few inches smaller at 19.75 inches, compared to every other car seat on the list. 

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There are a lot of other options and features on this car seat you will love. It can grow with your child, holding them until they reach 100 pounds. The Simply Safe harness system will adjust the headrest and harness to help keep your child fit and snug. The Right Latch system helps you to get your child in without worrying about security. 

Your child will also be comfortable within this car seat. There are plush supports to keep the child comfortable and there are four recline positions to keep them safe. Add in the Graco Protect Plus Engineered safety standards, and this is not only the most compact car seat but also the safest ones on the market. 

 

8.KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Batman– The Best Car Seat for a 4-Year-Old Boy

The KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat  is the best car seat for a four-year-old boy. This car seat has options for Black Panther, Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. It also provides a five-point harness for security and three harness positions to help adjust based on the height and age of your child. 

Parents will love that there are two options for using this car seat. The forward-facing five-point harness car seat can hold children up to 65 pounds and 49 inches tall. Then it changes to a booster seat that can hold a child up to 100 pounds and 57 inches. 

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KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat, DC Comics Batman
  • 5-POINT HARNESS SECURITY: Two position points at each shoulder, two position points at the child's...
  • 3-HARNESS POSITION: There are three slots to position the harness shoulder straps depending on the...
  • TWO MODE OPTIONS: Forward-facing five-point harness car seat is made for children between 22 and 65...

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Your children will love this car seat as well. It comes with their favorite Marvel characters and looks cool while adding in all of the comfort features that your child needs. This brand also offers DC Comics options if your child wants more choices in their favorite car seat superhero. 

The standard dimensions on this car seat are 19.5 X 19 X 29.5 inches. If the headrest is on, it can go up to 32.5 inches as well. It also has a five-point harness, is easy to install, and comes with two cup holders your children are sure to love. 

9. KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Disney Princess CinderellaBest Car Seat for a 4-Year-Old Girl

The KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat with Disney Princesses is the best car seat for a four-year-old girl. This offers options in Cinderella, Belle, and even Minnie Mouse for your Disney Lover. Though this car seat looks amazing and will have your child falling in love with it in no time, it also provides the security you want. 

For example, it comes with a 5-point harness that keeps your child safer for longer and you can choose from one of three harness positions based on the weight and height of your child. Remember to keep the shoulder straps at or above the shoulders as well. 

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KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat, Disney Princess...
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KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat, Disney Princess...
  • 5-POINT HARNESS SECURITY: Two position points at each shoulder, two position points at the child's...
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  • TWO MODE OPTIONS: Forward-facing five-point harness car seat is made for children between 22 and 65...

Last update on 2020-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The weight and height requirements are higher than many other options. For example, children who are using the five-point harness can use it until they are 65 pounds and 49 inches. You can then convert over to a booster seat and this will hold the child until they are 100 pounds and 57 inches, giving all the safety features that you need. 

10. Evenflo Maestro Sport  – The Best Booster Car Seat for a 4-Year-Old

The Maestro Sport Harness Highback Booster Car Seat is the best booster car seat for a four-year-old. This booster seat is simple and elegant, fitting in well in any car no matter how much space you have. It also has two modes so you can use it for longer. 

The forward-facing harness with a belt-positioning seat that will help support children who are between 22 to 110 pounds. The heigh recommendations allow a child to use the harnessed booster up to 50 inches, and the booster mode with a seat belt will support children up to 57 inches tall. 

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Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat, Crestone Peaks
1,095 Reviews
Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat, Crestone Peaks
  • 2-in-1 Booster - Forward-facing harness (22-50poundss) converts to belt-positioning booster (40-110...
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  • Upfront Harness Adjust: Central, front access to the harness adjuster provides an easy way to adjust...

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This booster car seat comes with an upfront harness adjust that will help you to get the snug and accurate fit that you are looking for. The should belt guide helps you to position the belt right where it will fit with your child and keep them as comfortable as possible. Add in some cup holders and you have one of the best options on the market. 

This is also a sturdy booster car seat to work with. The item weighs less than 10 pounds to carry around, helping you to move around from one car to the next. It is compact as well, coming in at 17 X 19 X 27.5 inches so it fits well in any car. 

11. Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 – The Best Car Seat for a 4-Year-Old from Walmart

The Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat is the best car seat for a four-year-old from Walmart. This is a compact and safe seat for your child to use, coming in at 21.5 X 19.5 X 29.75 inches and weighing just over 7 pounds. 

This car seat provides all of the comfort and safety that your child needs as they grow. There is a lot of value in this one as you can start with a forward-facing seat, complete with the five-point harness that you want. This mode allows a child up to 50 pounds and a height of 48 inches. 

Baby Trend Hybrid Booster 3-in-1 Car Seat, Ozone
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Baby Trend Hybrid Booster 3-in-1 Car Seat, Ozone
  • "Stage 1: Weight 22-50 lbs Height 29"" -48"" Stage 2: Weight 30-100 lbs Height 38""-50"" Stage 3:...
  • Seat pad, body insert, and harness covers are removable and hand-washable
  • The weight range for the product recommended is 22 pounds to 100 pounds

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You can then move up to the high-back booster, which goes up to 100 pounds and 50 inches, and then a backless booster that will handle 100 pounds and 57 inches. This provides added protection more than the other options on the list. 

This is a great chair that has all the safety features that you need, along with additional comfort features so your child won’t feel uncomfortable using the seat at all. The pads are also easy to clean off through the washing machine and put back on, so you never need to worry about a messy car seat that looks bad. 

12. Britax Grow with You, 3 Layer  – The Safest Car Seat for 4-Year-Old

The Britax Pinnacle G1.1 ClickTight Booster Car Seat is the safest car seat for a four-year-old. Parents are already in love with the ClickTight Installation System because it makes installing the car seat as simple as taking your seat belt and buckling it in. 

The SafeCell impact protection can bring additional safety to your child, bringing it past the federal safety standards for a great car seat. The harness includes nine positions and two positions for the buckle, making it easy to adjust and use as you would like. All of the parts are made in the USA to help you know you have the best in safety. 

Compared to a regular car seat or booster seat, this option provides all of the safety that your child needs with a lot of added comfort as well. Add to this that it has a patented EZ Buckle System. This means that all of the straps and buckles will be kept out of your way any time you need to put your child in or out of the seat. 

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  • Toddler to Big Kid: Easily transition from harness to belt positioning booster as your child grows
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  • No rethreading ever: Quick adjust 9 position harness with headrest for a comfortable, secure fit

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All the features in this car seat have been designed to keep your four-year-old as safe as possible. Even as they grow and get bigger, you will be able to have the peace of mind knowing that your child is comfortable and riding in style while being safe. 

It is slim, easy to wash, and easy to install and keep your child safe. This booster car seat is one of the best options out there to help you keep your child in a car seat longer rather than moving them to a booster seat. 

13. Chicco MyFit – The Best Car Seat for 4-Year-Old from Target

The Chicco MyFit Harness and Booster Car Seat is the best car seat for a four-year-old from the target. This car seat is designed to work for children ages two years up to 10 years old. There are a lot of different stages that help you to use this car seat for longer than other choices. 

Through the stages, the child can face forward from 25 to 100 pounds and until they are 57 inches tall. This car seat will grow with your child as it is a five-point harness to a belt-positioning booster when you are ready. It even has four recline positions when necessary. 

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Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat, Canyon
  • Duo Guard 2-layers Rigid Shell with energy absorbing steel reinforcement PLUS 2 Zones Side Impact...
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The dimensions meet compatibility with many of the other car seats that we list, coming in at 27 X 18 X 21 inches and weighing a little heavier at 22 pounds. It also comes with the LATCH-compatible system to make it a little easier to hook up and use as you would like. 

The fit is designed with a smart amount of functionality to help it install as simply, accurately, and securely as possible. Then the LockSure belt-tightening system will make sure the car seat is at the right angle and ready to use all the time. This provides a secure and tight fit that helps you know the car seat is ready to be used no matter what. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is a Convertible Car Seat Safer Than a Booster Seat?

A convertible car seat is safer than a booster seat. It provides a five-point harness and side protection than a booster seat. Many convertible car seats provide additional safety measures to keep your child safe. 

While a booster seat provides safety for older children, it does not provide enough safety for younger children. Keeping your four-year-old inside a convertible car seat longer is a better choice. 

What Car Seat Should a 4-Year-Old Use in the UK?

The UK requires all children under the age of 12 to use the proper car seat. If they reach 135 centimeters tall before the age of 12, they can switch out of the car seat as well. 
The UK recommends that children stay in the appropriate car seats until they reach the maximum height and weight limit for that particular seat. 

How Do I Keep My 4-Year-Old in a Car Seat?

As a parent, I know how hard it can be to get your child to stay in a car seat. They want to be the big kid and sit in a booster seat, or just with a seat belt and not in the car seat. 

It is important to keep your child in a car seat for as long as possible. This provides them more safety and security than switching to a booster seat. Some ways to keep your child in a car seat longer include:

  1. Use a car seat with a higher height and weight limit. This helps them fit comfortably in the car seat for longer. 
  2. Consider a convertible car seat. These are meant for children up to six, making it comfortable and easy to use with your child for longer. 

We have found that making the car seat a fun game and making our child feel important while sitting in it has helped too. They feel less like it is a big punishment and like it is more of a big deal to continue using the car seat. 

When Should We Transfer to a Booster?

Many parents are eager to switch from one child safety seat to another. However, it is generally safest to keep your child in the approved car seat for as long as possible. 

Until your child reaches the upper height and weight limit, keep them in the forward-facing infant or convertible car seat. This helps keep them safe. 

Buyer’s Guide

Before we give you our car seat recommendations, there are a few main things to bear in mind while you’re shopping. From the safety ratings to how easy it is to clean, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right seat for your child.

Safety

Safety should be a parent’s top priority when it comes to choosing a car seat. There’s always a risk when riding in a car and car seats are meant to protect your child in case of an accident.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, of all children who died in car accidents in 2016, 35% of them weren’t buckled up.  This could have been prevented simply by using proper safety or booster seats.

Ease of Cleaning

Kids are inevitably messy; there’s no way around that. For the sake of your sanity, you’ll also want to keep in mind how easy a car seat is to clean.  Take note of whether or not a car seat has a removable and machine-washable cover. Also, see if it’s dryer-safe as well. Many will be machine-washable, but you’ll find that quite a few require to hang drying to prevent shrinkage.

Durability

Durability is another crucial factor. This also ties into safety as well. As your child is getting older, they’re getting heavier. You’re going to want to find a car seat that can hold up well and carry a lot of weight. Durability is also important if you happen to get into an accident. You’re going to want to make sure the seat is durable enough to take a hit because this is what will keep your child safe.

Pricing

Last but not least, bear in mind the price. Figure out what your budget is, and you can go from there. While some boosters and car seats can get quite pricey, there are other options that are more budget-friendly without skipping on any important safety features.

Different Types of Car Seats for 4 Year Old

With car seat manufacturer’s putting a bigger focus on extended rear-facing and car safety, many are designing car seats to last longer with your child.  Some manufacturers even offer all-in-one options so you only need to make a single purchase.

This is great, but what about kids who are almost grown out of their convertible seat and don’t have any younger siblings to pass their seat down to?  Pretty soon your four-year-old will be graduating to a booster seat, so it’s important to know the difference between each kind.

Convertible Car Seats/ 5-Point Harness

While you’re out shopping, you’ll probably see a few different seat styles that could suit your four-year-old. In many cases, convertible car seats are made in all-in-one options so it can grow with your child. In that case, you have an infant seat, toddler seat, and a booster as well.

While there isn’t technically such thing as a 5-point harness booster seat, all-in-one and “booster compatible” convertible car seats allow your child to stay in a harness for much longer. It’s recommended to keep your child in a 5-point harness until they grow out of the harnesses capability.

Belt-Positioning Booster Seat

Belt-positioning booster seats should only be used when your child outgrows the 5-point safety harness of their car seat.  Like I mentioned above, some car seats are all-in-one, so you may already have a belt-positioning booster seat on hand.

This type of car seat is designed to elevate and position your child so the shoulder and lap belt can sit in the correct position.  They usually come with a lap belt path to ensure the seatbelt is snug to your child as well. Belt-positioning booster seats are meant to be used until your child is roughly 4 feet and 9 inches tall or between 8-12 years old.

High-Back vs. Backless Booster Seats

When talking specifically about booster seats, there are two different options for you; high-back and backless.  High-Back Booster seats are meant for cars with low seat backs without adjustable head support for your child. They are also usually designed with side-impact protection to help keep your child safer in the event of an accident.

Backless booster seats, on the other hand, are good if you have a vehicle with adjustable headrests. They’re also super lightweight and easy to transfer between cars. The downside to these, though, is that they may not be as comfortable as high-back boosters.

Conclusion

While many parents choose to move their four-year-old over to a booster seat, this is not always the safest option. Many four-year-olds will still fit in a car seat, especially a convertible car seat. And this is a safer option than a booster seat. 

Finding a car seat that can hold a higher weight and height limit is important. This will ensure your child stays safe, no matter what happens while you drive. Choosing one of the car seats on our list will help your four-year-old stay safe. 

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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