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  1. #1
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    3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    My son will be 4 in July. He is 37 lbs, a smidge over 40" tall, torso (measured bottom of bum to top of shoulder, while sitting) was just over 12". He is the biggest any of my kids have been, at this age. His current seat (I can't remember what it is, but I don't love it) is expiring at the end of this year, so I have some time to research and find a good deal. Oh, I drive a Chrysler Town and Country, and he is in the cabin chair behind the passenger seat.

    He is forward facing and I'm looking for a good seat, that should last us a while (I'm okay with buying a high back booster for him, in 3 years, if I really have to). My kids generally run small...his older sister is 6.5 and is around 40 lbs, my oldest is 12 and barely out of a booster (4'10", 75 lbs). We have a tight budget and would really like to try for under $100. What would you recommend??

    Thanks so much!!

    Angi
    ds-12, ds-9, dd-6, ds-3.5

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  3. #2
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    You are in luck. He has a tiny torso for his age, which is great in the car seat world. The evenflo maestro is about $80, harnesses to 50 lbs and converts to a decent fitting high back booster but the booster portion is outgrown shortly after the harness height is. Top slots are 18 inches so he would have tons of growing room left. We really liked our maestro
    Caleb Joshua: 8/17/2007; 45.5 inches, 46-47lbs, 17 inch torso; FF in a FN85 and Complete Air Sarah Rose: 05/15/2011; 22lbs, 31 inches; RF in a Britax Roundabout 50 and Combi Coccoro

  4. #3
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    Quote Originally Posted by armywife12 View Post
    You are in luck. He has a tiny torso for his age, which is great in the car seat world. The evenflo maestro is about $80, harnesses to 50 lbs and converts to a decent fitting high back booster but the booster portion is outgrown shortly after the harness height is. Top slots are 18 inches so he would have tons of growing room left. We really liked our maestro


    With a short torso, the Maestro would likely last until he's ready for a backless booster.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  5. #4
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    I really appreciate you responding to my question!!

    I was looking at the Maestro. One of the complaints I read was about the straps being close together, riding on he neck. That is my biggest complaint with his current seat. I was discussing the Maestro with my friend, a tech, and I can't find it now...but know she said something not so great about it as a booster.

    I was looking at the Maestro and actually called her specifically to ask about it

  6. #5
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    It's a great booster. The fit is fantastic. It's just outgrown at the same time as a booster as it is as a harnessed seat.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 61", 99#, seatbelt
    laine 9/16/09, 46", 54#, Diono Monterey, Chicco KidFit Zip Air
    in a 2015 BMW M235i, and my 2011 Mercedes E350 wagon


  7. #6
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=109121

    This is where I found info on the Maestro.

    I was really hoping there was another option out there...

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    We're in the same boat as you, but need a new one b/c DD is outgrowing her convertible. Was advised on here about the Maestro being a good seat too but haven't had to buy it yet, because I've learned that the convertible we have is actually good until the tops of her EARS are level with the seat back as opposed to the top of her HEAD...buys us a little more time. Will keep an eye on this post to see what others have to say.

  9. #8
    Carseat Crankypants carseatcoach's Avatar
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    A 12" torso is really small for a 40" child. It would be helpful to know what seat he's currently in and where his shoulders are in relation to the top strap settings.

    I also recommend the Maestro.
    CPST and Mama to a 13yo girl, 5-stepped at age 10 and 5'

    Posted from my toaster using a PopTart

  10. #9
    CPS Technician bombedier's Avatar
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    Another option would be the Graco Nautilus - harnesses to 65lbs, top harness slot height is 18.5 inches and then booster to 100lbs. It's around $150.
    CPST - Kyle David Miller Foundation - http://www.kyledavidmiller.org


  11. #10
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    Said tech friend here

    He is currently in a comfort sport (I believe, need to get out my paperwork and check for sure). I think he is int he top harness slot with an inch or 1.5 to go, but I could be wrong on that.

    I said the Maestro was probably a good option, just that the booster was outgrown about the same time as the harness, so he would most likely need a "regular" booster after that.
    Jess, CPST and mom to 6 girls
    W(7/28) is rocking an Aton, S(3) rides in a Nextfit or RXT, O(6) has a Frontier 90, the big girls (9, 11) have Monterey Boosters and incognitos, and the oldest is 15, wears a seat belt and is driving!

  12. #11
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    If his torso is really that short, there are convertibles that might work. The Evenflo Titan with 14" slots goes to 50lbs ($80). The Alpha Omega with 16" slots is also 50lbs ($100). Neither of these can / should be used as a booster though (the Alpha Omega has a horrible booster fit, even though it can technically be used as one).

    The Nautilus is probably best bang for your buck at $135 at Walmart.

    ETA: Just read the PP (we cross-posted). His torso IS short! I think the Titan harness has almost an inch on the Comfort Sport.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  13. #12
    Carseat Crankypants carseatcoach's Avatar
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    Quote Originally Posted by J-max View Post
    He is currently in a comfort sport (I believe, need to get out my paperwork and check for sure). I think he is int he top harness slot with an inch or 1.5 to go, but I could be wrong on that.
    Wow, that really would be a 12" torso! So he could fit in pretty much any carseat on the market.
    CPST and Mama to a 13yo girl, 5-stepped at age 10 and 5'

    Posted from my toaster using a PopTart

  14. #13
    CPS Technician cookie123's Avatar
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    Quote Originally Posted by 4BabyUnit View Post
    We're in the same boat as you, but need a new one b/c DD is outgrowing her convertible. Was advised on here about the Maestro being a good seat too but haven't had to buy it yet, because I've learned that the convertible we have is actually good until the tops of her EARS are level with the seat back as opposed to the top of her HEAD...buys us a little more time. Will keep an eye on this post to see what others have to say.
    A forward facing seat is outgrown if the shoulders go above the top harness slots (harness must be at or above the shoulders), OR if the tips of the ears go above the shell, OR the weight limit is reached.

    Just wanted to be clear on that.
    PEG - CPST & Gramma to:
    Hannah - 13 - Seatbelt!
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  15. #14
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    I wasn't kidding, lol, when I said I grow them LITTLE! Now I'm considering getting him dressed and loaded in, just to take a picture! I measured him TWICE! Just to be sure, because it seemed oddly small to me! Then I measured DD and she isn't that much more than him...but her LEGS are a lot longer, back to back, his bum is completely below hers...his stops where hers starts If I can figure out how to post a picture, I'll do it!

    Angi

  16. #15
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    Quote Originally Posted by angi_marie26 View Post
    I wasn't kidding, lol, when I said I grow them LITTLE! Now I'm considering getting him dressed and loaded in, just to take a picture! I measured him TWICE! Just to be sure, because it seemed oddly small to me! Then I measured DD and she isn't that much more than him...but her LEGS are a lot longer, back to back, his bum is completely below hers...his stops where hers starts If I can figure out how to post a picture, I'll do it!

    Angi
    If you can't get a pic up, email it to me and I can put it up
    Jess, CPST and mom to 6 girls
    W(7/28) is rocking an Aton, S(3) rides in a Nextfit or RXT, O(6) has a Frontier 90, the big girls (9, 11) have Monterey Boosters and incognitos, and the oldest is 15, wears a seat belt and is driving!

  17. #16
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    See the neck



    Grumpy to be in his car seat, for now





    Torso:



    The way he is sitting, and taking this pic I now see that I probably could have his straps down a slot...but it was getting so close, and if he's wearing his fleece, it was just a better fit to move it up.

    Angi

  18. #17
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    Ok, so its not a comfort sport, LOL Sorry

    Angi, remember we looked at putting the straps down and it was right at his shoulders, it must be the way he is sitting.
    Jess, CPST and mom to 6 girls
    W(7/28) is rocking an Aton, S(3) rides in a Nextfit or RXT, O(6) has a Frontier 90, the big girls (9, 11) have Monterey Boosters and incognitos, and the oldest is 15, wears a seat belt and is driving!

  19. #18
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    No problem, Jess! It's an Evenflo, something I'm not attached to it, in any way...it just fills the bill for NOW.

    Silly note, Aislynn is ecstatic about her new seat, which is coming TOMORROW! Plus, it is PINK!!

    Angi

  20. #19
    CPS Advocate Kat_Momof3's Avatar
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    Re: 3.5 yo, on a budget, current seat expiring soon

    that's the evenflo chase... what I'd do is measure the distance between the slots... then take the tape measure with you to the store... and see if the maestro's are the same or better... or, once you measure your seat, perhaps someone here could measure their maestro.



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