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  1. #1
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    Harness or Booster

    I have a 6.5 year old daughter who is 44 lbs and 44 3/4". She is longer in her torso and is just at the maximum torso length for her Frontier Boulevard. I am reluctant, emotionally, to mover her out of the 5-point harness to a booster but think keeping her harnessed longer might be a bit of overkill. I drive a Ford Freestar and my husband is in a Hyundai Elantra. Do you have any suggestions for a carseat? I was thinking a Frontier85 or an Oobr... just having difficulties with the harness vs. booster issue. We did try both in my car and the Frontier85, of course, works in harness mode but is not as good of a booster fit as the Oobr. I welcome and look forward to any and all suggestions.

    Thanks in advance for the responses!

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy mping's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Oak Park, IL
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    Re: Harness or Booster

    My dd rides in a Frontier and is about the same size. She's really comfortable and will be harnessed for years to come. She's 5 1/2. I don't know what the Frontier is like in booster mode but figure once she outgrows the harness we can just get her a designated booster.

  4. #3
    CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    SouthEast US
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    3,206

    Re: Harness or Booster

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I have a 6.5 year old daughter who is 44 lbs and 44 3/4". She is longer in her torso and is just at the maximum torso length for her Frontier Boulevard. I am reluctant, emotionally, to mover her out of the 5-point harness to a booster but think keeping her harnessed longer might be a bit of overkill. I drive a Ford Freestar and my husband is in a Hyundai Elantra. Do you have any suggestions for a carseat? I was thinking a Frontier85 or an Oobr... just having difficulties with the harness vs. booster issue. We did try both in my car and the Frontier85, of course, works in harness mode but is not as good of a booster fit as the Oobr. I welcome and look forward to any and all suggestions.

    Thanks in advance for the responses!
    I'm assuming you mean she's outgrown the Britax Boulevard by height, correct?? If that's the case, she's really not THAT long in the torso. My 6 yr old is the same height and would have outgrown the Blvd by shoulder height well over a year ago. Are her shoulders over the top-most shoulder harness position or her ears over the top of the headrest when it's up all the way? If so, then it's outgrown by height.

    For her age and size and considering that she *just now* outgrew the Blvd, I think the Frontier for a harnessed seat is way overkill, unless you just happen to prefer Britax or want to have the tallest booster seat on the market. She'd fit till she's probably 9-10 in the Frontier harnessed. It's fine if you want the Frontier, but she'd be just fine in a Graco Nautilus or Recaro ProSport....She can stay harnessed in those for probably another year or two....possibly longer....and then they both make good boosters for a child built like yours. The top harness height on the Blvd is about 16.5 inches--on the Graco Nautilus and Recaro Prosport, it's 18.5 inches. If you would like to move her to a booster seat full time, she's old enough and big enough. She would be quite safe in a properly used high back booster right now, as long as she will sit properly in position. There are no studies saying that a properly used booster is less safe than a properly used harness seat, provided that the child fits it properly and is at least 4 yrs old and at least 40 lbs. It's intuitive to me that if we flip end over end over end and have a horrific crash, instead of the average bad crash, the 5 pt. harness may provide some additional protection by way of holding the body back in the seat by more points (5 pts vs. 3 pts), BUT the more expensive booster seats do offer some very nice side impact features that look like they would help contain the body and keep it lined up nicely, behind the seat belt, like it's supposed to be.

    There are tons of options for high back boosters that are likely to fit your daughter well. The Britax Parkway SG has a clip that goes onto the lap belt, creating a point like the crotch strap on a harnessed carseat. It's an optional thing to use on it--maybe that would make you feel better about switching her to a booster full time. Also, many boosters have great side impact protection features--check out the Recaro Probooster and the Sunshine Kids Monterey (now Diono-formerly SK). It doesn't have to be Frontier or Oobr. More money doesn't mean it's going to be better for her. For some kids in her size range, the $50 Graco Turbo booster is the best fitting booster seat.

    My 6 yr old is coming up on 45" tall, 42 lbs, and is starting to level out torso length wise--he went into a booster full time one month or so ago. I had a hard time w/it at first, but he's been really, really good. We practiced on short car rides at first, w/Daddy driving. He's done GREAT! If we take a trip longer than 3-4 hrs, I'll put him back in a harnessed seat so that he can rest more comfortably, but other than that, we're good to go in the booster seat.

    I hope that helps you with your decision. I know it's a tough one--if the Regent fit in car where I want him to ride w/the belt path it needs to have, he'd still be in it instead of in the booster. It was a money issue in some regard for me--<$100 for a really nice booster VS. $250 for a longer lasting harnessed seat for him.

    henrietta
    henrietta
    former CPST & Mom extraordinaire of 2 rowdy little boys & 1 spunky girl toddler, among hundreds of other skills!
    #1, age 9.5, Harmony Literider or Transit backless booster, occasional Safety First Incognito
    #2, age 6.5, Cybex Xfit booster/Harmony folding travel booster/Evenflo hbb
    #3 age 15 months, Britax Advocate CT/Combi Cocorro

  5. #4
    Unregistered
    Guest

    Re: Harness or Booster

    Thanks so much for the feedback. I love it! More feedback is absolutely welcome!

    Yes, she is outgrowing her boulevard by height. Her shoulders are level with the top harness slot. Her ears are not over the top of the seat in any way. She may have a bit longer until she has another growth spurt and goes above the top slot with her shoulders, but I do want to be prepared when it happens.

    I will take a look at the Parkway. Thank you! My concern with the Graco Turbobooster is that it feels/seems flimsy. I would prefer something that feels substantial surrounding my daughter if they both position the belt appropriately. I may be wrong in this, though. This is one of the reasons that I was looking more at the frontier 85 and the oobr. I really like the prosport but my daughter likes the cowmoo option with the frontier 85. She was also comfortable in the oobr.

    I suppose there are no actual facts that a harness is better than a booster, properly used, for the bigger kids. I am just having a hard time accepting the transition. It does seem, although, that there might be a lot of neck stress in an accident when using a harness.

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