Disclosure: I was provided a Britax car seat, however, all opinions are my own.
Emma Kate turned four on Monday, and over the past couple of months, I had some serious questions about what type of car seat she should be in. Since this week is child passenger safety week, I wanted to share my findings with you because, like me, some of you may be a little unsure as to what type of seat your child should be in as they grow. Especially for someone like Emma Kate, who is very tall for her age, I wanted to make sure she was comfortable, but more importantly as safe as possible.
For a couple years we have been in the Britax Boulevard ClickTight seat. First as a rear facing seat, then eventually as forward facing seat. However, over the summer we noticed how tight the seat was getting on her and she just seemed huge in this little seat, so I started doing some research. Thanks to some help from the kind folks at Britax, we were able to figure out a good option for Emma Kate and this new seat, the Frontier ClickTight, fits her so much better!
It has cupholders and will grow with her, even as a backless booster when she is ready to get out of the five-point harness. It has 2 layers of side impact protection, and a foam lined headrest. There are also multiple recline positions, and there is a 9 position quick adjust harness (it really is quick adjusting!) She feels like a big girl in it and I know it has the same safety and quality features as Britax seats we have had and enjoyed in the past.
Here are some things I learned about fitting your child for a car seat (pro tip: their website has a tool that helps you decide what Britax car seat to get for your child based on a number of factors. Check it out here!)
Child Fit & Best Practice:
• Rear Facing: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer. Britax strongly recommends that children ride rear-facing to the highest weight or height specified.
o Shoulder harness straps should be in the closest position at or below the child’s shoulders.
• Forward Facing: Britax strongly recommends that children should be secured with a harness system until they exceed the weight or height limits specified.
o Shoulder harness straps should be in the closest position at or above the child’s shoulders, parallel to
Looking to put your child in a booster? Here is what you should know (also check out the Booster basics page)
“Belt-positioning boosters are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing harnessed seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is best for children to continue to use a forward-facing car seat with a harness and top tether in the back seat for as long as possible. If your child outgrows his or her forward-facing seat but is not yet ready to stay seated properly in a belt-positioning booster using the lap and shoulder belt, consider using a Harness-2-Booster for the transition.”
How To Tell If It’s Time To Move Up
How can you tell that your child is ready to move on from their forward-facing car seat into a Harness-2-Booster? Here are a few things to look for:
- Your child reached the top weight or height allowed for their convertible car seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and also included in the user guide.)
- Your child’s shoulders are above the top harness slots in their forward-facing seat. (This was Emma Kate’s problem!)
- If your kid is a wiggle worm or sleeps often in the vehicle, then the booster may not be an appropriate selection just yet.
And finally, you may be wondering when to switch your child to a vehicle seat belt. Check out these tips:
Britax recommends that you continue to use a car seat to the upper limits of its recommended use, or until your child can fit properly in the adult seat belt.
To be able to fit an adult seat belt, a child must:
- Be tall enough to sit without slouching
- Keep his/her back and buttocks against the vehicle seat back
- Keep his/her knees completely bent over the front edge of the vehicle seat
- Keep his/her feet flat on the floor
- Be able to stay comfortably seated this way, AND
- The vehicle seat belt must be positioned correctly across the child’s hips and shoulder/middle of the chest
Not sure if your seat is installed correctly? Visit www.SafeKids.org to locate a checking station near you.
Thanks so much, Britax for making sure Emma Kate was safe and comfortable in her new Britax car seat. Now, this mama can rest easy!