A parent must have the child in a five-point harness until they reach four years and forty pounds. As a parent, this is one of the most significant pieces of advice that we can come across. It reminds us to take care of that which is most important to us: our children.
As a parent to a beautiful boy, We have had the first-hand experience with why a five-point harness is needed. In a car accident, my boy was upside down while in his five-point harness. Thankfully, nobody was injured, although he did not like being upside down. Because of this close call, I have a personal investment in this. So, below are the best harness booster seats.
How We Picked The Best Toddler Booster Seat
We have narrowed our selection down to six different categories.
- Safety of Child
- Quality of Materials
- Ease of Use
- Customer Response
- Cost of Product
Up to this point, you can probably see that our highest priority is safety. Without ensuring the safety of the child, a car seat would not be very good at doing its job. It is related to our second area of focus: the quality of materials used. High-quality materials are for building the best safety standards.
Next would be the ease of use. This category involves how easy it is to install, clean, and manage between transitions. Specifically, the installation is incredibly important, as it relates to safety.
If this device goes through installation correctly, the child should receive ample comfort. It will ensure that the baby isn’t quite as fussy and will be able to sleep comfortably in the car. The support of the baby has some shared responsibility, so we will also go through the angle a baby needs to be at as well.
We are also looking for those who have a high-quality customer response; those who cannot address customers adequately should reconsider their approach. It also needs to be a cost-effective product, as parents tend to be looking at car seats like a long-term investment.
Best Overall: Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat
- Weight limit from 22 to 100 pounds
- Has a five-point harness with a front-facing seat that will transition to a backless booster
- New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) certified
- A light model that makes it easy to move between calls
- Machine washable seat pads
Delving into that ease-of-use section quickly, we look at the Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat. It has a wide weight range that can handle those that are two and higher that have broken the 22-pound barrier. It will last the majority of your kid’s young life.
With a live-saving five-point harness that has bee certified by the NCAP, it has proven safety statistics. It also has ample protection with layers on each side of its head. With easy installation, this is one of the safest car seats out there.
It is also reasonably easy to clean with machine-washable seat pads. It is also lightweight enough to carry it inside for additional cleaning of the plastic. You can move it between cars quickly.
Some customers have expressed concerns about the quality of materials, but this does have an endorsement from the NCAP. Thankfully, these quality concerns are few and far between. As a result of its high safety marks, it is our choice for the best harness booster seat overall.
Runner-Up: KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat
- Meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) requirements
- Has a five-point harness mode
- Handles kids between 22 and 100 pounds
- Has a variety of Marvel characters that your kids will love
- It comes with a backless and front-facing booster
Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, and Black Panther are all beloved parts of the Marvel cinematic universe. While your kid’s version is a little, they will still love the idea of sitting with their favorite superheroes. KidsEmbrace has recognized this love while also prioritizing safety and convenience.
The KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat handles between 22 and 100 pounds. It follows standards set by the FMVSS, which is a trusted board on a national scale. It does so in a very versatile fashion.
This versatility comes with one sacrifice: the character. When you get to the “backless booster mode,” you will have to remove the Marvel character. As a parent, I would not blame you for dramatically doing this.
It also emphasizes comfort with an adjustable headset, which is great for letting kids sleep in the back of the car. The five-point harness is of particular importance here, as it will hold your kids down in the most difficult of crashes.
Some customers have expressed that the straps are a bit too loose, but these issues seem to be reasonably limited. If you have any concerns about this, please consult KidsEmbrace’s customer service line. They have training in handling these sorts of issues.
Best Budget Pick: Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster
- 22 to 110 lbs
- Front-facing booster and backless booster
- Hand-washable harness and removable head pillow, machine-washable seat pad
- Incredibly cost-effective
- Cup holders
Evenflo is a company that is well known for creating cost-effective products for children. The Chase Harnessed Booster is no exception to that. It does come with a robust five-point harness that will protect your child well.
While it lacks some of the premium features that we feature from our other products, this car seat does what you would expect to about the same level. Safety is still a concern with the side padding near the head region. Convenience is also crucial, given that it does last over a wide weight range.
It has cup holders that allow your kid to take some juice along. But the machine-washable seat pad means that any inevitable juice stains are easy to wash out. It is also an incredibly cost-effective model.
There are some convenience issues that customers have expressed with this model. It does not fit in certain types of SUVs, and it lacks the clips for easier installation. But, it was reasonably simple for most people, and those issues seem to be pretty limited.
- Extra cushion prevents the child’s head from rubbing against the harness
- Easily transitions between the front-facing booster and backless booster
- Goes from 40 to 120 lbs
- Shock-absorbing technology
- Two layers of side protection
The Britax Grow With You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat is a premium car seat with a sleek design. It has a good clash that goes from a light grey with a dash of other colors that leads to dark. It is a nice feature for parents who like their kids to ride in style.
While it may be stylish, Britax still knows the priorities of having an easy-to-install unit that is incredibly safe. It has shock-absorption technology that absorbs the impact of many crashes. It’s intended to prevent your child from moving in the seat, which is heightened by their five-point harness.
It also has a fair bit of versatility for bigger kids from 40 to 120 lbs. So when they are ready to transition to a regular seatbelt, this can easily be transitioned.
Some customers have stated that this isn’t Britax’s best work based on the lack of pinch clips. They’ve also shared a cheap “Styrofoam noise,” but few people appear to be complaining about that noise.
- Reinforced by steel
- Four-position recline and nine-position headrest
- A good deal of foam padding that will absorb shock
- The high-contrast design makes it easy to find latches
- 30 to 110 lbs
The Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat is a booster that will last through the later years of your little one’s journey. While it doesn’t have a backless booster, the five-point harness that transitions into a high-backed harness will cover all of your bases. It’s also pretty comfortable with many versatile reclining and headrest positions.
Given that it covers from 30 to 110 lbs, it does have a good deal of openness. It’s a high-contrast design that your kids will love, as they might be inclined to find the brighter pieces.
The most important factor, safety, is heightened with a thick layer of padding that works well to prevent the worst part of many crashes. The steel-reinforced frame means that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s just a matter of you installing it correctly.
There have been some customers who have expressed that the Locksure system has broken their seatbelts. This issue seems to be limited to a few customers, as the reviews have been mostly positive.
What is a Five-Point Harness?
A five-point harness has “five points” connected to the seat. These are two over the shoulder, one under the butt, and two on either side of its waist. It is a standard design of car seats due to the amount of safety behind it.
How Do You Buckle Up In A Five-point Harness?
Imagine the harness is similar to putting on a full-body vest. There are instructions included with each model for further details. Below are the overall steps.
- Place the baby in the car seat so that their back is flat against the surface
- Starting with the arms, place them beneath the two shoulder straps
- Latch the shoulder section together using the plastic connector. Ensure that this connector stays over the chest.
- The bottom half will be brought together with a three-pronged unit. The belts from the hips will connect to this. When you hear the clicks, you will have this part together.
- Tighten the harness so that it is snug against the baby. It should prevent the baby from moving around freely, but it should not be uncomfortable.
Remember, they can come out of the five-point harness once they are past age four and above 40 pounds. Do not be too eager to get them out of the five-point harness. Doing so too early will result in them being improperly secure.
How Do I Know When He is Ready To Stop Using A Five-point Harness?
The next level up is a booster seat with a regular seatbelt around it. You know your child is ready when the booster brings them up to a level where the shoulder strap is resting over their chest. The bottom half of the belt should be resting over their thighs. Think of how you are most comfortable in a seatbelt as a good example.
How Do I Know I’ve Chosen the Right Car Seat?
There are five broad types of car seats available.
Rear-facing Car Seats
Otherwise known as infant car seats, these are meant for those who are younger than two years. They face the rear because that provides more protection to them in the event of most collisions. Given that the car usually jolts in the direction you’re heading after a car accident, this would rock them into a cushion
Front-facing Car Seats
Front-facing car seats are those who are facing forward. If you adjust the rearview mirror, you will be able to make silly faces at your child. Please do not do this while driving.
Front-facing can either be high backed and include a five-point harness or regular seatbelt. They are often one of the three stages found in three-in-one car seats.
Booster seats are for giving larger children, usually four or older, a boost so that they may adequately fit into a standard seat belt. These are for children who are above 40 pounds, but not quite 4’9” in height. The age, height, and weight range may differ depending on who you speak with on the topic.
Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats are for that awkward phase in a child’s life where they switch from back-facing to front-facing. Because of this, they do not tend to come with “infant” carriers that one would expect with rear-facing seats. They are also a bit larger than infant seats, which creates a good layer of bulk for them.
Three-in-one Car Seats
Three-in-one car seats combine three different car seat modes into one. Typically, these range from front-facing, high-backed, and no-backed boosters. These types of car seats are long-term investments, as you don’t need to buy anything beyond the backless booster. These are usually the best option for cost-effectiveness.
Picking out a booster seat can be a daunting task for new parents. Every product will advertise itself as the safest around, but how can you be sure of that?
There are two areas that we’ve gone over to address this. First, a five-point harness is a secure method of ensuring your babies will not move with the flow of an accident. They will stay in place, making them safe in their rear- or front-facing car seats. Second, you will want to pay attention to the amount of foam and the appropriate type of car seat for your little one.
With this guide in mind, you will be able to narrow down what you are looking for in a car seat. For your little ones, the best harness booster seat will ensure that your kids are safe.