Best Car Seat For 4-Year-Old: Expert Reviews of 2019
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Children always enjoy car rides, be it long or short. However, the seats of the car are not made for them and therefore doesn’t ensure their safety.
Like all parents in the world, the protection of their child is an absolute priority. Herein, a child car seat makes certain that your child remain unharmed during the road trips.
For this reason, you will need to buy a car seat for your kid to ensure their security. Here is where I can help you choose the best car seat for 4 year old by providing you with a list of highly recommended car seats.
What Car Seat Is Appropriate For a 4 Year Old?
To understand what car seat is suitable for your 4-year-old kid, you need to know the types of car seat available in the market. As we know that kids at this age tend to show growth spurts, and so, you have to select a car seat which will be usable for a long period of time.
Moreover, the companies have developed boosters and convertible car seats for adjusting a growing child. Other than the age group, choosing a car seat also greatly depends on the weight and height of the child. Combination seats are also ideal as they can be changed into booster when the need comes.
Ill-fitted car seats can be dangerous for a child if god forbid you are involved in a car accident. Therefore, you should be cautious when buying a car seat for your kid.
10 Best Car Seat For 4-Year-Old
Here, we are going to review the car seats that we think are the best for the 4-year kids.
1. Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat
Evenflo is one of the top brands for manufacturing childcare products which also include a full range of car seats. They claim to deliver high-class products and also ensure the safety of your kid. So, if you are looking for the best booster seat for 4 year old, you can check out the Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat.
It is built with high-quality materials which not only makes it durable but also keeps the child comfortable and safe. This car seat can be changed into 6 different positions according to the need of the child. You have to make sure of the seatbelt and headrest adjustments while changing the positions.
The car seat is lined with high grade and soft fabric which allows your child to relax during long road trips. The seating is also removable and you can wash it by throwing it into the washing machine. This is very convenient as it is a known fact that children love to make a mess.
One of the reasons for its popularity is because of its two conversion modes. Each mode has its individual weight limit. When the car seat is in high back mode, it can carry a weight of 30-110 lbs. and in case of backless mode, the weight limit ranges from 40-110 lbs. The seat adjusts along with the growth of the child accordingly.
This car seat also includes some additional feature like cup-holders on both sides. Apart from that, the dimensions of this car seat are compatible with any type of vehicles and can also be installed easily. However, this seat might work well in your car but it isn’t suitable for airplanes.
2. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
Among all the products of Evenflo, the Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat is the most affordable one which is why it is one of the most demanding models in the market. It is also regarded as the safest car seat for 4 year old because it meets all the safety requirement. So, let’s discuss the details!
These days most car seats are provided with a LATCH system and likewise, this convertible car seat is equipped with it. The seat also comes with 5 point harness and apart from that, there are four straps for the shoulder and two for the crotch area. You can adjust the harness according to the comfort of the child.
The dimensions of this convertible car seat are not only narrow but also very lightweight. As a result, it is comfortable to carry around and can also fit in most cars and even be carried on flights. It is highly recommended by travelers because of its versatile features.
Another notable feature is its polished looks. The vivid colors and the simple design of the car seat will definitely attract your kid and keep them calm along the road. You can also distract your child by placing drinks or toys in the cup holder provided by this convertible seat which you will find on the armrest.
If your kid spills their drink on the seat, cleaning that mess is tiring. In case of this car seat, you don’t need to worry about it as the seat pads are removable and can be washed with the help of a washing machine. Despite all the nice features, some users raised a concern about sharp edges on the sides which reduces its perks.
3. Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat
Are you looking for the best booster seat for 4 year old? Then the Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat might satisfy your preferences. One of its significant features is its detachable back which means that you can use this booster car seat with or without its back portion when your child attains the suitable age.
This booster car seat is known for its LATCH system. Although the LATCH isn’t an absolute necessary security, it ensures that the booster seat remains in its place. It is very easy to install that all you have to do is connect the lower LATCH anchors at the back seat of the car and voila; it’s ready to use!
The weight capacity of this product ranges from 30-100 lbs. and the headrest can accommodate kids as tall as 57 cm. This means that it is suitable for any 4-year-old child and like most toddler car seats, it is also forward-facing. Space, where the seatbelt goes, is wide which is easier for the children to buckle up independently.
The kids will not be disappointed with the comfort it provides. Further, the seat includes well-fitted padding that prevents the legs from hanging loose. In addition to that, the car seats are also designed with wide armrests. However, some users complained that these armrests are not long enough for support.
A unique feature of this child car seat is that it contains a pull out drawer which has enough room for toys, keys, and a bottle. There is even a cup holder at one side of the seat to keep your bottle within the reach of the child. Considering what this booster seat has to offer, it seems pretty cost-effective.
4. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
The Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat is famous because of its extended rear-facing seat. It is capable of carrying a weight of 50lbs and when converted to forward-facing mode, it is able to carry a weight up of 65 lbs. The maximum height limit of this car seat is 49” which is also very impressive.
This convertible seats can be reclined in 6 different positions with the help of a simple handle under the car seat. This way, the child will remain comfortable in their car seat. However, each position is specified for each age group, and so, you have to read the manual to understand what is right for your child.
The installation of this car seat requires two configurations which are the LATCH system and seatbelts of the car. It contains two sets of anchors which are located at the top and bottom of the car seat. Consequently, this helps to stabilize the car seat within the vehicle. The installation is pretty simple if you follow the given manual.
The headrest of this thing can be adjusted to ten different positions by just pushing a button. Although this feature doesn’t seem important, it is good to know. The highlight of this convertible car seat is that it comes with a leg extender panel which provides extra legroom for the child and also adds to their comfort.
The car seat is not entirely lined with fabric but there are appropriate padding at crucial angles of the seat. There are some additional features like a buckle pocket to store away the harness when not in use. Overall, looking at the price tag, I think this the best car seat for 4 year old.
5. Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat
Backless booster seats are essential for a 4-year old whose shoulder strap of the belt falls on their neck. This particular car seat elevates the child to a proper height so that they can use the seatbelt of the car adequately. The Graco Backless TurboBooster Car seat is regarded as the best booster seat for 4 year old by most of the people.
This backless booster car seat is ideal for a toddler as it can carry weight ranging from 40-100 lbs. and also suitable for kids with a height of 57”. It is compact and light. Therefore, you can move it from car to car without much difficulty. Like all models from Graco, this one too meets all the safety standards.
The seat cushion and armrests of the car seat are made from EPS foam which acts as a good shock absorber in case of a crash. The best part is that these paddings can be removed by just pressing a simple button and they come off. Then all you have to do is wash it via a washing machine.
A 4-year-old kid is obviously capable of buckling their seat belt by themselves and this backless booster seat have also ensured that option. The loops for the seat belt is red in color which will be easily identifiable. This booster seat also comes with a cup holder which can be hidden away when not in use.
The only issue with this car seat is that it doesn’t have a LATCH system and it raised some concerns among users. Nevertheless, it has been approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics and it also reduces the cost in comparison to other backless booster seats.
6. Britax Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat
Britax is famous for their unique installation system which they named the ‘Clicktight’. Although it doesn’t come with all models, the Britax Frontier Clicktight Harness-2-Booster car seat includes this feature. This ‘Clicktight’ installation system assists you to secure the car seat firmly in the vehicle.
The ‘Clicktight’ installation is an automated mechanism which tightens the seatbelt appropriately and you don’t even need to work a muscle. There are other factors which also contributes to the protection of the child. For instance, the base of the seat is fitted with the SafeCell system which absorbs energy if involved in a crash.
Its frame is constructed with steel that means that the life span of this thing will be prolonged. It also comes with a 5 point harness which can be adjusted in nine different positions in accord with the growth of the child. It is also designed to accommodate a weight of 90 lbs. and a height of 20”.
The child can take a nap in this car seat as they can be reclined with the help of a handle located at the front. Dual cup holders also found on both sides of the seat which unfortunately are not detachable. The seats are also lined with special fabric which catches the moisture keeping your child cool and dry in the seat.
With all the features this car seat provides, in my opinion, this seems to be a reliable choice. Even though this car seat seems a bit expensive, it comes with the safest car seat for 4 years olds. In other words, any parent would think this is a small price to pay for ensuring the security of your children.
7. Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat
The Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster car seat is named after a Greek god ‘Atlas’ which symbolizes strength and resilience in the myths. Likewise, this booster car seat is designed in such a way that it can lift your kid up so that they can use the seatbelt on their own. Hence, this is a suitable car seat for four year old.
The frame of this car seat is built with steel that makes it sturdy as well as durable. The seats and the headrest are also padded with shock-absorbing foam that provides protection to the child from head injuries during a car crash. With all these safety measures, you can be assured that this car seat is built to protect.
You don’t have to face the trouble of assembling this car seat. All you have to do is fix this car seat in the car. Like most recent car seats, this one also includes a LATCH system in addition to seatbelt connectors. Besides, the LATCH system can be used only when the seat is converted to booster mode.
The car seat is equipped with 5 point harness which can be adjusted according to the height of the child at ten different positions. In addition to that, the headrest can also change into 5 positions. It is also capable of bearing a weight of 65 lbs. when in forward-facing mode. For this reason, it can be used for a long time.
This combination car seat is also approved for flights and thereby you can travel around with your kids. Those of you who don’t have a flexible budget can opt for this car seat because you will be buying two seats at the cost of one and it will surely last long until your child outgrows it.
8. Cosco Topside Booster Car Seat
If you are looking for a backless booster seat which is inexpensive and also easy to carry around, then you can give the Cosco Topside Booster seat a try. This model works well if the shoulder strap of the belt doesn’t fall on the neck of the child. This means that it is ideal for kids whose height range is between 43”-57”.
Although the design of this car seat isn’t fancy, it can support a weight range of 4-100 lbs. The padding of this seat is very comfy and easy to wash. However, the downside of this design is the length of the armrest. The kids feel that it is too short and are unable to support their arms.
A positive point for this booster car seat is how easily it can be carried while traveling. The dimensions of this seat are very compact which makes it possible to fit in almost all cars. And apart from that, there are no sharp edges so it will leave no scratch marks on the seat of the car.
This booster car seat doesn’t include a LATCH system for installation. You have to rely on the seatbelt system of the vehicle to keep the car seat in its place. Since it is a basic form of the car seat, there are no additional features like cup holders which is why this car seat is available in an affordable price range.
Although Amazon has listed this backless booster car seat as one of the high-rankers, it is least of my favorites. On the other hand, the Cosco Topside Booster car seat has ensured all the basic safety requirement a child needs during a car ride.
9. Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
The Boulevard ClickTight Convertible care sear is another renowned model from this brand which also comes with the ‘Clicktight’ system. As mentioned before, this mechanism helps the parent to install the car seat without any fuss. Similarly, it can easily be converted to rear-facing or forward-facing mode.
In the case of forward-facing mode, the weight capacity is 20-65 lbs. and the height limit is 19”. The harness can be adjusted to 14 positions which are definitely a plus point.
In the case of rear-facing mode, the weight limit is 5-40 lbs. and the height needs to be not more than 27”. Thus, this car seat can easily support any 4-year-old child.
Like most durable convertible car seats, the frame of this one is made up of steel too. The seating area is covered with adequate padding which allows your child to be snug in their seat. The seats are also lined with waterproof fabric which prevents staining of the car seat from any spilling incident.
Another mentionable feature of this car seat is the EZ-Buckle pad which is very convenient as it not only helps to hold all of the straps forward but also reduces the hassle of finding it under your child. To release the straps, you only need to click the button which is located at the side within your reach.
The car seat can be reclined and there is a color-coded label to help you understand which position is suitable for your child. However, few kids complained of feeling cramped due to reduced leg space. So before buying it, you should test it out with your kid first and it will save you the trouble of returning.
10. Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat
Chicco is one of the leading brands in the industry of baby gears. Since it is an Italian based company, you can guess that it excels in both safety and styles. One of the most sought out models for booster seats of this brand is the KidFit 2-in-1 positioning booster car seat. Let’s find out why it is so special.
The first and foremost intention of this car seat is to maintain the safety of the child. For instance, the DuoZone feature is engineered to ensure the protection of the head and shoulders from any forceful impacts. Besides, it also comes with a SuperCinch LATCH system which allows the booster car seat to be stable in position.
The backrest of this product is detachable, so you can take it off and use it as a backless booster seat when the time comes for your child. Another part that can be taken off is the seat pads and armrest covers. Once removed, you can wash it without being troubled about it.
As for the contours of the seat, they are designed in such a way that kids can relax throughout the car rides. Additionally, the cushion of the seat is double-padded and is extremely plush. However, the dimensions of this cars seat are wider compared to others and thus it might not be compatible with two-door cars.
Moreover, this car seat is not suitable for flights due to its rather wide base. If you have two kids, aligning the two-car seat side by side might be a tight fit or won’t fit at all! Apart from that, I think this booster car seat is a good bargain considering its remarkable features and the price range.
What To Look For Before Buying
After going through so many favorable options for the best car seat for 4 year old, it is normal for you to be confused regarding what’s best for your child. Consequently, you need to consider some factors unless you want your money to go to waste. These factors are mentioned below;
Before buying a car seat, you need to test it out at first because you are going to use it for a long time. Usually, you can try out the test models by placing your kid on the seat. The length of the seat and the straps of each model varies from one another. So, you need to find out which one is both safe and comfortable.
The fittings of a car seat don’t solely depend on the child. It also depends on the type of vehicle you are using. If the dimensions of the car seat are either small or big in respect to your car, then it pretty much becomes useless. To avoid such consequences, you should measure the height and width of the car seat.
Types of Car Seats
There are 4 basic types of car seat depending on the different age group of children. These are;
a) Rear-facing Car Seats
These car seats are built only for infants until they reach an age of 2 years. After attaining that age, the child’s head doesn’t fit in anymore. As it can easily be separated, you can carry it in or out of the vehicle when the baby is sleeping.
b) Booster Seats
Booster seats are the perfect choice for toddlers. It aids to lift the child so that the seat belt of the car fits and therefore protecting them. A booster seat can be backless or high-back.
c) Convertible Seats
These seats are convenient because you can either use it forward-facing or rear-facing. You can utilize it when your child is born until they grow out of it. Thus, these items are a money saver.
d) Combination Seats
They are similar to convertibles but this can be changed to a booster when the child attains that age. However, they can’t be carried around due to its bulkiness but they are a good economical choice.
Safety and Comfort
Ensuring safety for your child is a natural instinct for parents and so buying the correct seat greatly depends on it. With that being said, you need to check whether the harness is placed on the thighs rather than the abdomen.
Apart from safety standards, the comfort of the child is also necessary especially if you need to use on long road trips. So, you should look for seats which are well-padded.
Methods of Installation
There are different methods of installation. Firstly, you need to check which type of installation method is compatible with your car. In recent years, the LATCH system has become quite popular as it is the best method which ensures that the car seat is stable inside the vehicle.
There are many options at a different price range. For a safe and resilient car seat, you might need to keep a flexible budget as protecting the kids is always the main goal of the parents. Although high-quality car seats can be a bit costly, they are always a worthy investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I take the car seat on flights?
No as most of the car seats are only designed to fit in cars.
2. Is it okay if a child wears a winter coat when sitting on the car seat?
It isn’t advisable for a child to wear a winter coat when strapped to the seat as the child can’t remove the coat if they feel overheated.
3. How can we understand if a car seat has fitted appropriately?
We can be sure by doing the Inch Test. It is done by checking if the car seat doesn’t move front to back and side to side more than an inch, then we can confirm that it is locked in its place.
4. Do car seats have an expiration date?
Yes, the car seats have an expiration date. Generally, they can be used for 10 years counting from the manufacturing date.
5. Is it okay to install the car seat in the front seat instead of the back?
No, it isn’t safe to place the car seat at the front seat. It is highly recommended to install the car seat at the middle of the back seats.
Weighing all of the versatile features of different car seats, I think Britax Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat is the best option for me.
Whatever my thoughts on it are, basically it is your decision to choose what is suitable for your kid after going through this article.