Your child is undoubtedly the most precious cargo you'll ever have and choosing the best car seat is crucial to ensuring their safety. Unfortunately, choosing a car seat for a 4 or 5 year old is quite difficult. What car seats will fit in your car? Better yet, what car seats will fit your child?
There is also the question of which brands offer the best value for money. All of these are issues you need to consider before making a purchase. In this post, we address all of the above issues and tell you which features to look for when choosing a car seat for your 4 or 5 year old. We also review the 10 best models on the market.
Best Car Seats For 4 and 5 Year Olds Comparison Table
|Model||Impact Protection||Cup Holders||Machine Washable||Item Weight||Product Dimensions||Minimum weight||Maximum weight|
|Britax Frontier G1.1 ClickTight Harness-2-Booster||SafeCell Impact Protection||2||yes||25 pounds||21 x 19 x 28 inches||25 Pounds||120 Pounds|
|Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster||SafeCell Impact Protection||2||yes||10.2 pounds||28 x 19 x 8.5 inches||25 Pounds||120 Pounds|
|Chicco KidFit||DuoZone® combined head and shoulder side-impact protection||2||yes||15.4 pounds||24 x 19 x 23.8 inches||30 Pounds||110 Pounds|
|Britax Pinnacle G1.1 ClickTight Harness-2-Booster||SafeCell Impact Protection||2||yes||26.9 pounds||21 x 22.5 x 28 inches||25 Pounds||120 Pounds|
|Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster||SafeCell Impact Protection||2||yes||18 pounds||18.2 x 20.2 x 30.5 inches||22 Pounds||100 Pounds|
|Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 Belt-Positioning Booster||SafeCell Impact Protection||2||yes||16 pounds||15 x 18 x 28 inches||40 Pounds||120 Pounds|
|Graco Affix Youth Booster||Safety Surround Side Impact||2||yes||9.6 pounds||10.5 x 16.8 x 25.5 inches||30 Pounds||100 Pounds|
|Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster||Standart protection||2||yes||8.2 pounds||16.5 x 19 x 33 inches||40 Pounds||110 Pounds|
|Graco Highback TurboBooster||Standart protection||2||yes||9 pounds||15 x 16.5 x 26.5 inches||30 Pounds||100 Pounds|
|Evenflo Big Kid High Back Booster||Standart protection||2||yes||8.2 pounds||28.7 x 19 x 16.5 inches||30 Pounds||120 Pounds|
Britax E9LY74L Frontier G1.1 – Best Overall Car Seat for 4 and 5 Year Olds
From raving parents' reviews to first class ratings, the Britax E9LY74L doesn't disappoint. It combines car seat and booster designs into one. The Britax Frontier 90 accommodates children weighing 25-120 pounds. It also features the patented ClickTight installation system that makes it easier for you to install the seat in your car. There are color-coded safety belt guides that ensure you get it right when switching between booster and harness modes.
The Britax E9LY74L is retrofitted with side impact protection. This is achieved with a head restraint and deep side walls, all of which are lined with EPP foam. The energy-absorbing foam does a great job of shielding your child from vehicle intrusion and distributing crash forces. Britax incorporates SafeCell Technology at the base of the seat to lower the center of gravity during a crash, thus reducing forward movement. The HUGS (Harness Ultra Guard System) chest pads also help reduce forward movement of the seat in the event of an accident.
Britax E9LY76L Frontier G1.1 – Best Car Seat that Offers Value for Money
The Britax E9LY76L is designed for children weighing 25-120 pounds, hence a great option for 4-5 year olds. It has plenty of features that will resonate with you. For starters, it works both as a belt positioning booster for older children as well as a harness car seat for 2+ year olds. Like most car seats by Britax, this one features a ClickTight Installation System for easier and precise installation. It secures the seat to the car, ensuring that it doesn't budge when driving.
Another technology integrated into this seat is the SafeCell Impact protection. It is a series of safety components that includes an energy absorbing base, steel frame and impact-absorbing tether that has staged-release stitches. These components work together to reduce forward movement of the car seat while driving.
Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Positioning Booster – Best Backless and High-Back Car Seat for 4 and 5 Year Olds
The Chicco KidFit is a dual mode product that can be used both as a highback booster and a backless booster. It also comes in a KidFit Zip version with zip-off panels that are easy to remove. This car seat comes with lower LATCH connectors that attach quickly. You can tighten both sides of the strap by pulling on the central strap, which is also known as a SuperCinch. There is a shoulder belt guide that provides added security by ensuring that the belt doesn't slip out of the guide.
While we do love the cup holders, you can always push the flexible rubbers sides to create more space for your child. The best thing about these cup holders is that they come off easily when you need to clean them.
Britax Pinnacle G1.1 – Best Car Seat With Highest Weight Capacity
The Pinnacle G1.1 is another combination seat from Britax that has proved a worthy investment for many customers. This is a 2-in-1 car seat that boasts the patented ClickTight Installation System, an innovation that allows for easy and precise installation. You can use it in the forward facing harnessed position if your child weighs 25-90 pounds. For children who weigh 40-120 pounds, the high-back booster mode is a more realistic option.
In addition to providing additional protection in rollover, side-impact and lateral crashes, the SCIT feature also adds to the width of this chair. The LATCH connectors under the bum area come handy when using the seat in booster and don't interfere with the seat belt buckle. Unfortunately, Britax only allows for designated LATCH positions in their ClickTight models. This means that no lower anchor borrowing is allowed.
Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster – Best Car Seat at Low Cost
The Atlas 65 is a well price dual car seat from Atlas that has proved a nice addition to the market since its release more than two years ago. It boasts a tall 18.5" harness position and maximum weight capacity of 100 pounds. You can install this seat either with the seat belt or lower anchors if the child weighs 45 pounds or less. Regardless of the preferred installation method, it's important that you use the tether at the top.
The Graco Atlas 65 is rigorously tested to meet the minimum US safety regulations. You will also be glad to know that Graco integrates Side Impact Protection to ensure occupant retention. The built-in 5-point harness system guarantees that you child doesn't slip out of the seat while you are driving. The 5-position adjustable headrest is a nice addition for parents who want a car seat that easily adapts for their growing child.
Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 – Best Dual Car Seat with Most Safety Features
The Parkway SGL continues a tradition of versatile, high height and weight capacity car seats by Britax. Being a dual car seat means that you can use it either as a backless booster or a high back booster. It boasts lower anchor connectors that secure it to the car, thus preventing the seat from becoming a projectile in the event of a crash. The seat is designed for children who are at least four year old.
You can use it as a backless booster if your child weighs 40-120 pounds. The weight limit in this case is dictated by the vehicle itself. The high back booster mode works for children weighing 40-120 pounds and with a height of 38-63 inches. Another notable feature is the ISOFLEX system, a fancy LATCH attachment that provides added stability when the child is slipping in and out of the seat.
Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat – Best Booster Car Seat with Most Comfort Features
The Affix Youth Booster from Graco is specially designed for children below 4'9" tall that benefit from a belt-positioning booster seat. It is a dual seat that accommodates varying heights and weights, making a great choice for parents who need something that grows with their kids. The high-back booster mode is ideal for children weighing 30-100 pounds and with a height of 38-57 inches. You can easily transition to the backless mode when your child is 40-100 pounds and 40-57 inches tall.
Graco integrates SafeCell Impact Protection, a system of safety components that provide added protection. These components include a shock-absorbing base, a foam-lined shell that shields the child from debris as well as side impact protection. The LATCH connectors on this seat are easily accessible and do a great job of keeping the booster secured in place at all times.
Evenflo Big Kid Amp Booster Seat – Best Backless Booster For Growing Children
The Evenflo Big Kid Amp is the kind of car seat that makes 4-5 year olds want to sit in a booster seat. Maybe it is the low profile of a backless booster, or the dual cup holders, or the armrests, or the bright gloss colors that appeal to children. Whatever it is, this is a good investment for parents will older children. It accommodates children weighing 40-100 pounds and with a height of 40-57 inches.
For an inexpensive booster seat, the Big Kid Amp is incredibly safe. It boasts energy absorbing liner pads made from durable foam on the sides as well as the back. This ensures that the back, head and neck are safe during an accident. It offers six height adjustment positions that adapt nicely to your growing child. You can easily change the height setting with one hand.
Graco HighBack Turbo Booster Car Seat – Best Car Seat for Tall Children
This is a good quality booster seat designed to offer versatility, comfort, safety and affordability. It is a dual seat that you can use either as a high-back booster or backless booster. The high-back mode is ideal for children who weigh 30-100 pounds and are 38-57 inches tall. On the other hand, the backless mode works great for children weighing 40-100 pounds and with a height of 40-57 inches tall.
The TurboBooster also boasts Saftey Surround Technology, an innovation that provides added protection again side impact. It has two cup holders and its lightweight construction allows for increased portability. You will certainly appreciate the fact that this seat is quite comfortable. This is achieved with a deeply foam-lined shell and a padded headrest. The seat also features a secure guard clip that keeps the seat belt properly secured across the hips, thus reducing the risk of abdominal injury.
Evenflo Big Kid High Back Booster Seat – Best Car Seat with Seamless Transition Between Modes
The Evenflo Big Kid is a 2-in-1 booster seat that is similar in many ways to the Big Kid Amp reviewed above. Like the #9 booster seat, it features two cup holders for holding beverages on the move and transitions easily into a backless booster seat. Your child will certainly appreciate the padding around the head and body as it provides added comfort. The belt guides help position the seat belt correctly.
The main difference between the two is that the Evenflo BigKid has a higher weight capacity of 110 pounds. In addition, it allows for six height adjustments to accommodate your growing child.
Best Car Seats For 4 and 5 Year Olds – Buyer’s Guide
Car seats are broadly categorized into three i.e. rear-facing, front-facing and booster car seats.
Rear-facing car seats
These are specially designed for newborns-2 year old kids and are buckled into the seat of the car facing backwards. The reason why car seats for children under two years old face backwards is that babies carry most of their weight in their heads. That said, they are more likely to get serious injuries if the seats face forward.
Front-facing car seats
At two years old, children are more alert and want to view the world around them. A front-facing car seat will make it easy for you to see and talk to your young one as you drive. It is also the kind of car seat you want to purchase for your 4 or 5 year old child.
Booster car seats
These have a built-in mechanism that helps raise the child to a safe seat belt height. According to the CDC, booster car seats are more effective at reducing the risk of serious injury when an accident occurs. Booster seats come in different variations including convertibles, backless or with high backs for added support.
Features to Look for in Car Seats
Car seats aren't built the same and every model comes with its own set of unique features. These have an impact on performance, durability, convenience and more importantly, the safety of your child.
· 5-point harness system
Many front-facing car seats come with a 5-point harness system that provides added security. They secure the baby to the seat by clipping it at the crotch, both shoulders and hips. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a car seat with a 3-point harness system but if you want optimum safety, a 5-point harness system is the way to go.
Built-in lock clips
This is another safety feature to look for when shopping for a car seat, Built-in lock clips prevent your child from slipping out of the seat. While you have the option of purchasing lock clips separately, it's always good to opt for seats with built-in lock clips.
This is a common feature in rear-facing models and can prove dangerous in front-facing car seats. Given that your 4-5 year old will be using a front-facing seat, you should avoid anything with a recliner.
Multi-clip chest straps
While it's not something that's mandated by American law, getting a car seat with this feature is advisable. Multi-clip straps not only secure your child in the car seat, but they also prevent other straps from moving around.
The last thing you need when driving with your child is for the straps to get tangled. If that happens, your child will be dealing with a lot of discomfort. To get around this problem, it's good to get a car seat with twist-free straps.
They provide added protection of your child's head in the event of an accident. Moreover, they help keep the head upright for added comfort.
· LATCH system
LATCH is an acronym for lower anchors and tethers for children for children. Any car manufactured after 2002 are required by federal law to have a LATCH system. If your car doesn't have this system, you should get a car seat that comes with it. The system better secures the car system, provides greater stability and eliminates the need for car seat belts.