I'm back! Booster advice for 5.5 yo, and 3-across


New member
hi all, long time no posting! i've been out of touch with the carseat domain for over a year, as i've been consumed with my newest passion, bicycling and bicycle building. but as the kids are growing, i need some refresher advice to keep them safe in the car.

our two DDs' stats are in my signature. younger DD, who is just turning 4yo, is just fine in the signo. but, we need to start considering a narrow and inexpensive alternative to the signo (such as a narrow booster) for our older DD. she is 5 and a half, 44lb, and 44" tall. she is *very* mature and doesn't wiggle around or try to mess with her harness. she blows a gasket if we pull away without her harness being perfectly tightened and positioned. (can someone refresh me on the 5-step checklist for being booster-ready?)

the reason we want a booster is that we are going to have to do 3-across in our mazda3 starting this summer. no, we're not having a third, but we will have to occasionally shuttle an additional friend of the same age around town. our thoughts were to keep the younger DD (40lb, almost 4yo) in the signo, and be able to have two boosters. the signo would be outboard, and the other two spots would be occupied by boosters. on long trips, we wouldn't have a third child with us and could revert back to two signos so that both girls can be EH.

since i've lost touch with the carseat community, i don't know what the latest and greatest is these days. what are some of the narrower boosters on the market that will fit with one honkin' signo for 3-across? what ones are LATCHable? which ones have nice SIP? are there any that meet all these wants? we could do three radians for EH, but there's no way in heck we're going to spend $600 just to get 3-across. i was hoping there was a booster out there that could meet two of those three wishes for under $100 each. we could pay more if we had to.

also, what's the deal with super LATCH, in terms of weight limit? what current carseats have this and is it true that all cars mfrd after march or april 06 have super-LATCH approved anchors? (our car was mfrd april 06). i had heard the rumors of it, but never followed the development closely.

and lastly, one of our signos has lost its stickers (strangely one signo has lost two stickers, the other has lost none-- yet they are the same age). has this happened to any other signo owners? what did you do? it's no big deal to me, as the seats are almost three years old and we have no intention of passing them on, but i was just curious if recaro would send out replacements.

thanks in advance!
The Parkway SG is supposed to be pretty narrow but it's not LATCHable. The SK Monterey is latchable and is supposed to be relatively narrow at the base although I have no IRL experience with it, but I've heard it's not the best fit for smaller kids.
For 3-across in a Mazda3 with a Signo, how about one RideSafer Travel Vest(RSTV) for the center position and something like a Graco high back Turbo Booster for the outboard? The RSTV is a great 'niche' seat for fitting 3 across in compact cars (speaking from personal experience - I have one nestled between one Britax Parkway and one Graco AirBooster in the back of a '97 Honda Civic), and it doesn't expire like conventional seats so your younger DD would be able to use it later.

The only 5-step checklist I know of is the one for determining if a child fits the adult seatbelt without a booster - determining when a child is ready to move from a harnessed seat to a booster is a bit more subjective but the main points I hear are that the child is at least 4 years and 40 lbs. and has the maturity to sit properly in the booster (no wiggling, moving the seat belt, etc.) for the entire trip - and many if not most kids hit the proper maturity at 5 or later.


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
We generally do say that kids need to pass the 5 step test in their booster seat, as well as passing it in the regular seatbelt to get out of it.

Of course, boosters are usually more difficult than a 5 point harness in a 3 across situation. If it's a longer-term situation you may want to consider a narrower 5 point instead of a booster for the 3 across. If it's an occasional situation I agree with the recommendations given above. :)


New member
I'd only use a booster as a spare, once she's 5. for the primary seat, I'd avoid making the switch until age 6... there's just so much more maturity and the head size is significantly less large in comparison to the rest of the body that those are the ages I like best.

I would get a ride safer vest for whoever else is sitting in there... it will make putting 3 across totally easy.


New member
I'm confused... the ages listed in your siggy are considerably older than you list in your post.

Also, If you hadn't listed your bicycling hobby, I'd think an imposter had written it. It just doesn't 'sound' like you. :eek:
Last edited:


New member
I agree with getting a RSTV for shuttling friends around. We have one for that type of situation and it works great! Best part is when A wants to go with a friend, we just put it on him and he can go as long as there are lap/shoulder belts (and it fits well in his backpack for being picked up by a babysitter, going on playdates, etc.) You can either put your child or the other in the RSTV depending on their size.

For the booster either a Turbo or a Parkway are narrow. I think the latchable ones are more than you had wanted to spend and are wider.


Senior Community Member
Hey SPB!!!
Uh...well, the proboosrter is just shipping now..the parkway slide guard has a neta clip in the crotch to hold the belt down..the cybex just came out, the oobr is nice, the monterey is well liked.
The maestro is a new combo booster thats cheap and decent. The new frrontier 85 is nice but expensive. The old standby turbo is almost always a good choice, and cheap.
LC has a new booster called pathway coming out soonish, but its not out yet.

SK says you can use the new superlatch to the full 80 pounds in a car made after spt 2005. However, no car makers have changed their manuals to reflect this. So its a parental choice.

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Latest member

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org! Britax is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org! Nuna Baby is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2022 Carseat Media LLC