Harnessing booster for a 4 yo

AZmamaof2

New member
Looking for some opinions from owners or experts regarding a choice between a Graco Nautilus and Britax Frontier85. My son is 4 yrs old, and rides in a complete air 50 FF in my Honda Civic. He's fine in that for height and weight, but I'm looking for the next (and presumably last) seat he'll need so I can put the CA in my DH's car. My son weighs about 37 lbs and is 42 in tall. Seems about 65% for height and weight if that is a consideration when buying a booster. I plan to use the harness to the limit or when he shows signs of being ready for a booster (but probably not until age 6).

I noticed main differences to be Frontier harness up to 85 lbs vs Nautilus up to 65 lbs. I'm not sure he'd reach 65 lbs by 6 yrs. Mostly interested in the height limits as he has a longer torso. The CA says 45in is the upper limit. Both Naut. and Fron. say 57in for harness (I think.) Also I think they both go 8-9 yrs, so I can use the seat until he's ready for a seatbelt.

Thanks for suggestions
 
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Carolinadaisy

New member
I would recommend getting the Britax Frontier. My son is 4 and 36lbs and 42" and he loves this seat. He also has plenty of room to grow.

He rides in the Frontier in my car and a Nautilus in my Mom 's car. We despise the buckle on the Nautilus, it is a little tricky to fasten and unfasten. He cannot do it himself. Sometimes he can unbuckle it and sometimes my Mom struggles to do so. Also, the top harness height is lower and we just moved it up to the top on the Nautilus. I am really hoping he will make it until at least age 6 harnessed, but I am not sure he will with the Nautilus.

My son likes both seats, but says the Frontier is more comfy and he likes that he can buckle and unbuckle himself.
 

Brigala

CPST Instructor
In spite of what the stated height limits are in the manual, the Frontier will last, on average, about two years longer in harness mode compared to the Nautilus. The high back booster portion also lasts longer in the Frontier. Depending on the kid and the vehicle, a child may be able to ride in a Frontier in high back mode until he is ready to ride with no booster at all. Although the Nautilus converts to a backless booster and the Frontier doesn't, so really either one has the potential to be the "last seat you'll ever need."

They are both good seats, but personally I would choose the Frontier if it weren't too hard on my budget.
 

Swmnmom

New member
My son is 4.5 and has similar stats (a couple pounds lighter) as your son but has a shorter torso. We just got a Frontier and we have had a Nautilus for awhile. Honestly my son has no preference between the 2. He likes both. The buckle on the Nautilus is difficult at first but I got used to it and it doesn't bother me anymore. If I didn't worry about money at all then I would pick the Frontier every time but for a average sized kid a Nautilus works great as well.
 

AZmamaof2

New member
Can someone explain the internal ht. differences to me? BF says 24'' vs GN says 28-29.5''

Also, any issues with crotch straps in either?

My son can buckle his chest strap but not press in the crotch strap.

The car seat data form says GN may only be used for 6 yrs from man. date but if you get a newer model it lasts 10. Is there any way to know the difference by seat cover style?
 

patterson0711

New member
FWIW: my 9 yr old daughter just outgrew the harness height limit of the Frontier (we have the original vs. the 85). Now granted, she is insanely small for her age, but there was still TONS of height for her to have been able to use it as a booster (but my 5 yr old son is getting the seat since his expires Wed & she'll ride in her dedicated boosters now).
 

Brianna

New member
Can someone explain the internal ht. differences to me? BF says 24'' vs GN says 28-29.5''

Also, any issues with crotch straps in either?

My son can buckle his chest strap but not press in the crotch strap.

The car seat data form says GN may only be used for 6 yrs from man. date but if you get a newer model it lasts 10. Is there any way to know the difference by seat cover style?

Measurements are submitted for different seats by different individuals. My best guess is that the two seats were not measured using the same criteria for that data.

Realistically, the Britax Frontier 85 could last 2 years longer in harness mode and probably the same in booster mode. It's the tallest 5 point harness and the tallest booster (non special needs) sold in the US.

The Nautilus has 2 crotch strap settings, the Frontier has 3. I often see complaints about boys finding the Nautilus uncomfortable, and I rarely see complaints about the Frontier strap being uncomfortable.

I'm not sure if you can tell by the cover. If you're buying in store, the DOM is on the outside of the box. I know they switched over some time in 2011.
 

AZmamaof2

New member
I would be buying online so I am unable to see date on box. Also, he is a boy so if the crotch is an issue I'd rather avoid that. Sounds like I can go with my preferred choice of the BF for the longer harness use and higher limits.

Anyone know of sales under $200?
 

Brianna

New member
If you have time- which it sounds like you might, you can watch wayfair.com and nobetterdeal.com . Nobetterdeal can be open box returns though, so if you do buy from there be sure that the tags are still attached to the harness.
 

AZmamaof2

New member
I checked those sites, but one didn't sell them and amazon was cheaper than the other. I've been keeping track of prices on amazon for months.

Anyone have fabric recs? I like the canyon one, kind of looks like suede but might get really dirty. Or maybe onyx, but I don't know if the material is mesh. We live in AZ so heat is a consideration.

thanks
 

patterson0711

New member
I would be buying online so I am unable to see date on box. Also, he is a boy so if the crotch is an issue I'd rather avoid that. Sounds like I can go with my preferred choice of the BF for the longer harness use and higher limits.

Anyone know of sales under $200?

Diapers.com has them on sale for about $225. You can try this coupon code XRSX3922 which I think would get you 10% off if you're a new customer or you can try to google for other coupon codes. They used to allow all sorts of coupons to stack but no longer allow that as much.

I'm also seeing about $210 here: http://www.jr.com/britax/pe/BTX_E9LC21A/

And I'm seeing several colors available on Amazon for around $200 [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038W0JI0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0038W0JI0&linkCode=as2&tag=quebeecousav-20"]Amazon.com: Britax Frontier 85 Combination Booster Car Seat, Rushmore: Baby[/ame]
I saw ONE sight offering a price under $200 but it was fuschia....not sure how your boy feels about pink. ;)
 

AZmamaof2

New member
Amazon has been the consistently low ($205) price and has loads of colors. I like the maui blue but unsure of the fabric's feel. I also have 30% of at kohls plus the kohls cash would sweeten the deal. They only have canyon and onyx, so I was wondering how those fabrics compare. Either way, it is a great price for a seat that will last 10 yrs.

If I got pink, I'm afraid little sister will want to ride in it (but she is only 20ms) so no dice ;)
 

thtr4me

New member
The Maui Blue fabric is fantastic. Not slick, not mesh, kind of like a cotton canvas in feel. Ours has gotten softer with use. DS1 who is super picky about textures actually preferred this one to the plush Cowmoo fabric that I thought he would go for.
 

Brianna

New member
I checked those sites, but one didn't sell them and amazon was cheaper than the other. I've been keeping track of prices on amazon for months.

Anyone have fabric recs? I like the canyon one, kind of looks like suede but might get really dirty. Or maybe onyx, but I don't know if the material is mesh. We live in AZ so heat is a consideration.

thanks

The person I bought my FR85 off of purchased it from one of those sites for $129. They're not always there, and they're not always the best price, but there is potential to score a huge deal if you have the patience to check in all the time.
 

Phineasmama

New member
If I wanted a plain color I would definitely get onyx. It's really nice, it's kind of slick. Not mesh. The Rushmore fabric is mesh and I have that one and it's held up surprisingly well! I also like the Maui blue one I've seen that in person as well.
 

AZmamaof2

New member
Update: our onyx frontier arrived tonight and I' ve been working on the settings and install. So far I'm impressed and happy with the seat. Fabric is nice and cushy and my son likes the features of cup/snack holders. I put the crotch strap to the middle setting and it still sits snug on him without too much or too little movement.

Here's a question/issue though for my son. He slouches forward so that his bottom is not up against the seat back, so that his legs can bend in their natural way. I can slide both of my hands behind him when he does this. His complete air is about 11-12" deep and his legs bend easily. The frontier is about 14" deep so I think he is slouching to keep that natural bend.

I have the harness slightly above his shoulders, but should I raise it to encourage him to scoot further back? Or is it more dependent on the crotch strap? The first outlet is really far back.

He is 4yo 37.5# and 41.5", but he is mainly long torsoed but shorter legs. This seat says use from age 2+, so it can't just be that he is too short or young.
 

Jnc91

New member
My son slouches a bit on this seat too. As I'm buckling him I tell him to scoot back and sit straight. he still slouches on longer rides but that tell me he doesn't have the physical ability to ride in a booster.
 

thtr4me

New member
Maybe a footrest would help the slouching? I know a few mamas here have made a footrest using a pool noodle. It also seems to help with that annoying kicking the back of the seat in front of them that FFing kids are prone to ;).
 

AZmamaof2

New member
We have a footrest of sorts. I have a pack n play that I store across the floor in its carry case. It helps him climb into his seat and out. I'm not sure where his feet would land now, but before at least most of his foot could touch the p.n.p.

Is the slouching a safety issue? I know the general rule is the safest seat is the one you use correctly and that fits your child, so does this break that rule?

Also, there is no space on the seat for his feet, the frontier goes to the edge and past it a bit.
 

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