Recommendations for Harnessing and Belt-Positioning Booster Seats
Combination car seats are seats that harness children up to 40 lbs. Once children reach the weight limit, the harness must no longer be used. At this point, the seat converts to a belt-positioning booster seat. Here is a summary of some of the top recommended combination of child passenger restraints.
Important Points to Consider
Car seat safety experts encourage parents to consider harnessing their child beyond 40 pounds if the child is too immature to sit properly in the belt positioning booster or for families who want the added safety of harnessing seats. There are youth and specialty child passenger restraints that can suit children up to 80 pounds.
Some combination seats advertise a lower weight limit of 18 lbs. However, in the United States children must be a minimum of 20 lbs. before they can be turned forward-facing. Further, it is a clear and undeniable fact that children are far safer sitting rear-facing for as long as possible (American Academy of Pediatrics, National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, Car-safety.org). Some convertible seats accommodate children up to 35 lbs.
Recaro Young Sport
The Recaro Young Sport has a 40 lb. harnessed weight limit and 17 inch top slots. The belt positioning booster can be used to 80 lbs. It has added safety features of EPS foam, side impact protection, and a tether that can be used with the belt-positioning booster. Knob adjustment for harness and headrest, shoulder belt guide, and a carrying handle enhance the seat’s ease of use. Children may find this well-padded, plush seat comfortable. The Recaro Young Sport converts to a very good highback booster that will suit families for an extended period.
The drawback to this combination seat is the cost. It retails for around $250.
Evenflo manufactured the Generations seat to suit 40 lbs. harnessed and as a belt positioning booster to 100 lbs. The top harnessing slots are 16.5 inches. Ease of use features includes an adjustable headrest, 2 crotch strap positions, shoulder belt guide, knob harness adjuster, and harness strap covers. Additional comfort aspects include a pivoting armrest and a cup holder. The Evenflo Generations comes in at the mid-price range, retailing for around $100. It converts to a good quality belt positioning booster.
Parents of taller children may need to consider that the Generations seat has slightly shorter top harnessing limits.
The Graco Cargo is similar to the Recaro Young Sport in that is has a 40 lb harnessed weight limit, 17 inch top harness slots, and EPS foam. However, it can be used as a belt position to 100 lbs. Added features are a cup holder and mesh toy pocket. Depending on the model, it sells for between $80-$100.
The big downfall to all models of the Graco Cargo is that it does not make a good long-term belt positioning booster. Parents should skip the lowest model, the Treasured Cargo, with its rear harness adjustment. Seats with rear harness adjustment are difficult to get a secure fit each time.
Other Noteworthy Combination Car Seats
In addition to these seats, several other models have been acknowledged for their ease of use and safety features. Parents should scrutinize these seats to see if the restraints fit their family’s needs and address safety concerns. Evenflo Chase ($60-$70); Evenflo Generations ($100); Cosco Apex/Safety 1st Biltmore ($100-$130); and Graco Nautilus ($150) may be worth considering.
The above seats were chosen based upon added safety features, ease of use, and ease of installation. The price range was considered in order to offer suggestions that suit various budgets. Specifications refer to models currently being manufactured, older models may have different requirements.