The Best Car Seat For 4-Year-Old with Pros, Cons & Recommendations
Welcome to the best car seat for 4-year-olds award ceremony!
After spending the last month testing out which are the best car seats for four-year-olds which meant driving around and doing all the chores with my daughter plus checking reviews, talking with other moms, looking up recalls, I’m ready to reveal the winners; meanwhile, this experiment cost me a fair share of ice cream to avoid scowls and tantrums from the back.
Finding the perfect car seat for your 4-year-old is a long task. I feel your pain because it’s my second rodeo, and the third one is coming soon. It doesn’t help that there’s a huge selection of seats to choose from, and to make things worse, these seats are frequently updated.
This is why I’ve decided to test it with my own daughter and measure her comfort level and sulk-to-quiet ratio so that you will get the absolute best seat for your child.
You see, I’m a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids. My middle one just passed 4 years of age, and I thought it would be helpful if I made a shortlist of car seats to make your choice easier.
I’m ranking the these seats on: safety features, ease of installation (the less cursing, the better), comfort and, of course, price. So no matter which one you choose from below, it will keep your child safe and comfortable no matter what.
Let me see those car seats already!
In a Hurry? Here Are the Top Car Seats for 4 Year Olds
For parents who want the safest car seat on the market, which is the last one they will ever buy.
For parents who like to plan ahead and love to save money in the long run by getting the only car seat needed—budget-friendly ideal for multiple vehicles.
For parents who value safety for their 4-year-olds, plus it’s great for those on a budget or who have multiple vehicles.
#1 Graco 4Ever – Best Car Seat For 4 Year Old
For a 4-year-old, this is the best car seat you can choose. And best of all, you don’t have to donate a kidney to get it.
Here’s some more good news. This car seat might be the very last one you will ever need as it will grow with your child until they reach 100 pounds.
This can be the perfect car seat if you have multiple cards because it’s budget-friendly. Also, it’s super light, so you can easily swap between cars. At a certain point, I was carrying my smallest child in one hand and this seat in the other without breaking a sweat.
If you want to keep your child rear-facing as much as possible, then you can do so until they reach 50 pounds. Now, that’s safety!
Here is why it’s at the top of my list:
- Best Safety in its Class: You can keep your child rear-facing until they reach 50 pounds, so even at age 4, they can be getting the safest way to ride
- More Legroom than Adults: Wow, there’s so much space! Kids simply love this car seat, and it’s comfy as well
- You Won’t Be Cursing Like a Drunken Sailor! The installation is so easy that you won’t need any curse worse for it to budge
Here are a few drawbacks that you might want to check out:
It does its job perfectly. However, it’s not the prettiest car seat as the straps are visible in the back. Although, who’s using it that way?
This is a big car seat, so forget about doing 3 across because it’s not possible. Other than that, it’s a great pick.
All in all, this is the best Graco seat for your child. Best of all, even if your child is around the age of 4, this might be the last car seat you will ever buy as it grows with them all the way up to 100 pounds.
Now, if you love this car seat, you need to step on it because the last time I checked, there were only a few left in stock.
If you’re looking for something cheaper, check out #3 on my list.
- It’s easy to install might be the easiest of them all
- No more rethreading the straps ever
- The fabric removal is super-fast
- The straps tangle up too fast, and it’s a pain to undo them with a protesting child
- The cup holders fall off way too easily.
#2 Britax Grow with You – Best Booster Seat for 4-Year-Old
By getting this Britax car seat, you will own the Cadillac of car seats both in terms of safety and comfort. It’s built like a tank to keep your child safe no matter what.
Plus, they have outdone themselves in the comfort department. Even on long trips, there’s no whining from the back row.
The installation is a breeze thanks to the Clicktight technology. Finally, a car seat that doesn’t require a husband’s hulk strength to get it mounted nice and tight!
With this car seat, you’re getting the 5-point harness, which is the safest way to secure your child. Many parents approve of this car seat, so no wonder it has such high ratings.
Here’s why it’s a must-buy:
- It’s as safe as a Tank: Just look at the size of it. It’s heavy in all the right places, so your child will be safe no matter what.
- Made for Comfort: This car seat is super comfy for long trips. My child was kicking back and relaxing all the way.
- Ultimate Big Kid Seat: There’s only one thing certain with 4-year-olds: they hate to be in a baby car seat. Thankfully, it’s not the case with this Britax.
Here are a few drawbacks that you might want to check out:
With safety, you’re paying a high price in weight. There are no cheap, light materials used, so it will be quite difficult to swap it between cars.
Britax should’ve provided a better explanation for the mounting part. However, since it’s a popular car seat, many parents have jumped in and created and posted detailed videos.
All in all, this Britax car seat is a keeper. It will keep your child safe and comfortable for many miles ahead. Plus, it will grow with them, so this can be the last car seat you will ever need.
However, it’s a popular car seat and stocks are always low. So, you need to move fast if you want to snag one before they are all gone.
- The safest car seat after you have clicked it in it doesn’t wiggle a bit
- Your little one will be safe like a Nascar driver thanks to the 5-point harness
- This is the ultimate traveling companion if you want to style
- Big and heavy you won’t be swapping between cars
- This car seat needs better instructional videos
#3 Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat – Safest Car Seat for 4-Year-Old
This incident happened with some friends of mine.
They were heading home from the grand parent’s house. Their little one, 11-month old boy, was sleeping in the back. All of a sudden, a drunk driver slammed into them head-on.
The impact was so powerful because the other driver was speeding. The impact was loud. Metal bent and deformed the airbags exploded, protecting the parents from harm.
There was so much energy that the car did a 180. When it finally stopped, the parents immediately checked on their son. He was crying because he was scared. There wasn’t a scratch on him.
Even if you have a four-year-old, it’s a good idea to keep them rear-facing. In some countries in Europe, the mandatory minimum for rear-facing is 4 years old. With the Extend2Fit, you can reach that and go beyond. The upper limit for rear-facing is 50 pounds.
It’s one of the few car seats which allow this. Other than that, the 5-point harness will protect your child up to 65 pounds.
If your child is 5 years old take a look at the best car seat for 5 year old.
To add more comfort to passengers, it has a retractable leg rest.
As you have seen above, it’s a safe car seat because the little guy was protected in that horrible accident.
The Graco Exten2Fit is one of the few car seats that allow extended rear-facing to this upper level.
- It’s one of the easiest to install can be done in less than 5 minutes
- There’s no manual rethreading of the straps ever
- The fabric is easy to wash even after a vomiting incident
- The release button is hidden, and if you have big hands it’s hard to reach
- You need to watch videos to put the fabric back into place
#4 Chicco MyFit 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – Most Comfortable Car Seat for 4 Year Old
This incident happened with a friend of mine.
Quick, get to the hospital! He’s not breathing…
These are some scary words that you never want to hear. My friend has a child who has breathing difficulties. If the slightest thing blocks his air pathways, he ends up in the ER. Recently they had issues with the car seat.
As car seats cater to older kids, they forget about the head position. When kids fall asleep, their head tends to flop. It’s usually not a big deal, but with this family, it is. After trying out a bunch of car seats and ending up in the hospital many times, they have found the Myfit. This was the only car seat for them that protected their child’s head. Now they are driving safer because they are not constantly checking if their little one is still breathing.
The Chicco MyFit 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat won the most comfortable seat award because it looks so cool. At age four, kids want what big kids have. They will throw a tantrum if they get a baby seat. Check out the pictures, isn’t it the coolest thing?
Kids simply love it and pick it over anything else.
This car seat has won the best booster seat 4 year old and booster seats for 4 year olds award…
Besides looking cool and comfortable, it has a narrow profile. This means that you will be able to do 3 across with ease.
It’s the coolest car seats that you can get for a four-year-old.
- It’s a heavy-duty car seat that won’t move no matter what
- Your child will sleep easily without the dreaded head slump
- It’s well-cushioned, and it won’t overheat
- It has a narrow profile so thinner kids will be the most comfortable
- Padding behind the belt not removable for washing
#5 Evenflo EveryStage – Best Car Seat for Tall 4-year-Old
We all heard or tried those car seats, which are impossible to tighten. Now here’s the Evenflo EveryStage car seat. Finally, somebody who has answered the prayers of so many parents.
With most car seats, the installation part is quite easy; the tightening process is the most difficult. With the EveryStage, you’re getting a ratchet. Yes, you don’t need any force what so ever. You just turn the ratchet in circles until it’s tight enough. This car seat is perfect for grandparents. Even somebody with arthritis will be able to get this car seat tight. If you are interested in the top car seats for grandparents take a look at the best car seat for grandparents post.
This Evenflo car seat is perfect for 4-year-olds. It has all the protection needed. Plus, it’s comfortable and has enough recline to avoid head slumps. If you get this seat, it will be the last one you will ever need.
The upper limit is set to 120 pounds. You will be getting a lot of mileage out of this car seat.
Since 4-year-olds are messy, it’s good to know that the fabric is easy to remove and wash. This is important because you have to clean up, and the more help you get, the easier it is. The cover is washing machine friendly, so you just throw it in, and it will be good as new in no time.
If you value the easiest install, this car seat was made for you.
- The easiest car seat to install thanks to the ratchet
- It has a great recline so you won’t experience head slumps
- It looks cool just like a miniature race car seat
- The first impression is that it’s flimsy and cheap
- The cup holders can be easily turned into projectiles by toddlers
Related: The best booster seat for 6 year old (with buying guide)
#6 Graco SlimFit – Best Car Seat for Preschooler
These car seats aren’t cheap, so I thought I share with you a car seat that is easy on your pocket. Besides being affordable, it has multiple key features that are appealing to 4-year-olds.
First of all, it has that big kid look. After some time, the kids want what big kids have. This will happen with car seats as well. They will throw tantrums if they have to sit in a baby seat. The Slimfit will be the perfect solution to that problem.
It’s light and easy to move around, plus it’s meant for bigger kids. Another great feature is that it has space-saving tech. According to Graco, you will be able to save 10% in space.
This means that you will be able to do 3 across with ease. No matter if you want to mount three car seats in the back row or have enough space for an adult, this car seat will help you.
Of course, no 4 years old is without a mess or accident; the fabric can be easily removed and cleaned with a washing machine.
As you can see, you’re getting great value for your money. 4-year-old love it because it’s a big kid chair plus it’s easy to install and saves space. This is why it has won the preschooler award.
If you have a messy preschooler, this car seat is the best one yet. By far, it’s the easiest to remove the fabric. After that, you put it in the washing machine, and it will be as new.
It’s the best choice for preschoolers because they can easily climb in and out of the seat, thus making them more independent.
- It’s a perfect car seat who wants three across
- It has everything you need: safety, comfort, and sturdiness
- Easy to use no manual threading of straps everything is automatic
- You will need to force of Hulk to strap it down right
- Not much tilting options if you want to mount it in rear-facing mode
Buyer’s Guide – Car seat for 4 year old boy or girl
That’s a lot of information to digest. I thought I could give you an extra free bonus. Since I’m reviewing so many car seats, I could share my system with you. Besides that, I will give you a buyer’s guide. By going through my checklist, you will be able to eliminate car seats that are not suited for you.
This will save you lots of time. By looking at seats that actually have what you need, you won’t be burned out during this process.
Before we get to that, I have two very important tips to share with you. Here it goes.
The first one is related to the position of the car seat. Not all places in the car are equal. The safest place for your 4-year-old would be in the middle of the car. Now for many, that’s not possible. So then go with the second-best thing which is right behind the driver.
The second tip is related to the perfect install. You probably know this already that the wiggle room should be less than an inch. And many people measure the wiggle room on the wrong side. The correct place to measure it is, which is closest to the back of the car seat. The far end will always wiggle, and it supposed to.
Now, if you want to be extra sure about the install, you can reach out to a licensed professional. Or Amazon is offering a service for car seat installs.
Let’s get to my go-to checklist.
The first important thing for you to check is the safety. What kind of safety features does it have.
All car seats are safe because they have passed the government standards. Now some went beyond the bare minimum and tended to recommend them. Besides the typical safety against front and rear crashes, some brands started to introduce side impact protection or SIP.
Typically you can find car seats the offer 1-3 layer protection. Of course, the more, the merrier. A handful of car seats offer rollover protection. Rollover accidents are indeed rare, but they contribute many fatalities to the total.
It’s slowly becoming the industry standard the use of the 5-point harness. Most car seats use that.
Size Limits info on car seat for four year old
Let’s face it these car seats aren’t cheap. There’s no way to save a bit of money without cutting corners. Well, there’s now. Best of all, you’re not compromising on safety. The secret relies on the time you use the car seat.
The more you can use one, the less money you spend on upgrading. Now with four-year-olds, you are probably gravitating towards lifer car seats.
That’s the best way to save money. You buy one car seat and use it for the years to come.
Install carseat for 4 year old
This part is the most problematic when it comes to car seats. The fact is that older your child, the harder to install those seats. Infant carriers are the easiest to install, and after that, things get a lot harder.
It’s a good idea to always check the manual for the install. Also, if you’re stuck, there’s probably someone on YouTube who has figured it out for you.
There’s some good news as well. Since the early years, all brands made major improvements, so many of them have simple and efficient car seat installs.
This is the last point on my list. Since we’re talking about 4-year-olds you can rest assured that there will be a mass and accidents will happen. So you need to know ahead of time how easy it is to remove the fabric and wash it.
I’ve done my best and only selected those car seats that are easy to wash. Being a mother, I know how it is to clean up partially digested food from the seat.
This would be my quick and dirty buyer’s guide. If you liked it, then put it to good use.
Finally, we’ve reached the end of this best car seat for four-year-olds article. I hope I’ve managed to narrow down your choices. By now you should know which car seat is the right fit for you.
Now it’s your turn to take action. Get the best car seat for your little one soon because the last time I’ve checked, the stocks were running low.
If you want to share your thoughts and experiences, drop a line below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which car seat is suitable for a 4-year-old?
A 4-year-old car seat should be a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat, depending on the child’s height and weight. It is important to consider the safety features and comfort when choosing a car seat for a 4-year-old. Some of the best car seats for 4-year-olds include convertible and combination seats, which can grow with your child.
What are the best booster seats for 4-year-olds?
The best booster seat for a 4-year-old offers safety, comfort, and ease of use. Some top-rated booster seats include the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster, Britax Grow with You ClickTight, and Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat. When choosing the best booster seat for your 4-year-old, consider factors such as the child’s height and weight, the car seat’s safety features, and ease of installation.
How do I know what car seat my 4-year-old should be in?
To determine what car seat a 4-year-old should be in, consider their height, weight, and maturity level. Generally, 4-year-olds can transition from forward-facing car seats to booster seats. The best car seats for 4-year-olds should meet safety standards, provide adequate support and comfort, and be easy to install and adjust. Consult your car seat manual and local regulations for specific guidelines.
What are the safest car seats for 4-year-olds?
The safest car seat for a 4-year-old is one that fits the child’s height and weight, meets safety standards, and is correctly installed. Some of the safest car seats for 4-year-olds include the Britax Grow with You ClickTight, Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat, and Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and adhere to local regulations when choosing and installing a car seat.
What is the best car seat for a tall 4-year-old?
The best car seat for a tall 4-year-old should have adjustable headrests and harnesses to accommodate their height. Some options include the Diono Radian 3RXT, Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster, and Britax Grow with You ClickTight. These car seats offer extended height limits and can transition to booster seats as your child grows.
What kind of car seat does a 4-year-old need?
A 4-year-old typically needs a forward-facing car seat or a high-back booster seat, depending on their height, weight, and the car seat’s safety specifications. When choosing a car seat for a 4-year-old, look for features such as side-impact protection, adjustable headrests, and easy-to-use harnesses. Consult your car seat manual and local regulations for specific guidelines.
What are the top booster seats for 4-5 year-olds?
Some of the best booster seats for 4-5-year-olds include the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster, Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat, and Britax Grow with You ClickTight. These booster seats offer safety, comfort, and the ability to grow with your child. Look for high-back booster seats with adjustable headrests, side-impact protection, and easy-to-install features.
What size car seat should a 4-year-old use?
The size of the car seat for a 4-year-old should be determined based on their height and weight. Most 4-year-olds will transition from a forward-facing car seat to a high-back booster seat. Ensure the car seat meets safety standards and is appropriate for your child’s measurements. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local regulations when choosing and installing a car seat.
What is the difference between a booster seat and a convertible car seat?
A booster seat raises a child to the appropriate height for using the car’s seat belt, while a convertible car seat can transition from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat as the child grows. Booster seats are designed for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car seat, whereas convertible car seats accommodate infants and toddlers at various stages of development.
What should I consider when choosing the best car seats for my child?
When choosing the best car seats for your child, consider factors such as the child’s age, weight, and height, as well as car seat safety features, ease of installation, and compatibility with your vehicle’s seat belt system. Look for car seat manufacturers that offer adjustable headrests, five-point harnesses, and side-impact protection. Additionally, consider the convenience of convertible car seats, which can transition between rear-facing and forward-facing positions as your child grows.
How does a backless booster seat differ from a high back booster seat?
A backless booster seat is a simple, lightweight option that raises the child’s seating position to ensure proper alignment with the vehicle’s seat belt, while a high back booster seat provides additional head and neck support. High back booster seats are often equipped with features such as adjustable headrests, side-impact protection, and shoulder seat belt guides, making them a suitable choice for younger children or those who require more support during car rides.
What are the key features to look for in a convertible car seat?
Key features to look for in a convertible car seat include ease of installation using the LATCH system or your vehicle’s seat belts, adjustable car seat positions (rear-facing to forward-facing), side-impact protection, and a five-point safety harness. Additional features such as cup holders, seat pads for comfort, and adjustable headrests can enhance your child’s overall experience. Always check the car seat’s weight and height limits to ensure it is appropriate for your child’s needs.
Which is the best booster seat for a 4-year-old?
The best booster seat for a 4-year-old depends on factors such as your child’s size, your vehicle, and your personal preferences. It’s essential to research and compare the available options, taking note of their safety features, ease of installation, and comfort. Consider looking into best-selling and highly-rated booster seats to find the one that suits your needs.
What car seat should a 4-year-old be in?
A 4-year-old should be in a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness or a booster seat, depending on their height and weight. It’s essential to follow the car seat manufacturer’s guidelines for height and weight limits, as well as your local laws and regulations regarding child car seat usage.
What is the safest car seat for a 4-year-old?
The safest car seat for a 4-year-old is one that meets or exceeds safety standards, is correctly installed, and is appropriate for the child’s height and weight. Consider researching car seats with additional safety features, such as side-impact protection and a five-point harness system. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and usage.
What type of car seat is suitable for a tall 4-year-old?
For a tall 4-year-old, a booster seat with an adjustable headrest and ample legroom is ideal. Some booster seats are specifically designed for taller children, with higher weight and height limits. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure the car seat is appropriate for your child’s size and age.
Last Updated on March 19, 2023 by Danny Reid