5-point harness as long as possible! Did you know these are the new recommendations?
(versus going to a booster with adult belt at 40 pounds-the weight limit of most 5 point harness seats) Think about the 5-point harness race car drivers wear! This means the strap goes over each shoulder and the two buckle between the legs.
“5-point harness has several advantages for a child of any age or size. The straps are placed on the
child’s shoulders and low on the hips, so that crash forces are absorbed by the strongest parts of the
child’s body instead of the soft abdomen.” (source: http://www.carseat.org/Resources/624_bestseat.pdf)
“A 5-point harness is an undeniably safer option than a booster seat that uses a lap and shoulder belt restraint. While some parents – let alone kids – do not like the idea of a five or six-year-old still using a “baby seat”, a 5-point harness is absolutely the safest way to transport a child that is 80lbs. or less in an automobile.” (source: http://www.elitecarseats.com/New-on-ECS/5-point-harness/index.cat)
I could go on and on quoting various sources, but you could find them too….
Here’s a video:
I wish this one showed a top view for comparison:
Some comments, then the 3rd lady lists some models which harness up to 65 pounds. The Evenflo/Chase should NOT be on the list because the straps stop at the 40 pound limit. After that it is a booster. Note: not all of these can forward AND rear face.
I like this one for the search criteria in the box with the blue header!
After all this research, we bought new 5 point harness chairs for Ellie & Aiden. (Adeline was within 1/2 inch of outgrowing heightwise, so we got her a booster that allows for more height than her previous one.) If the cost is a deterrent for you, just think in terms of price per year & the obvious advantage of safety in a crash. (Divide price by estimated years of use.) Most kids can probably be harnessed until about age 7. After that, many models can still be used in the “booster” mode!
Next time I’ll talk about rear-facing as long as possible….