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.
What Will I Learn?
- The Best Car Seat For 4-Year-Old with Pros, Cons & Recommendations
- In a Hurry? Here Are the Top Car Seats for 4 Year Olds
- #1 Graco 4Ever – Best Car Seat For 4 Year Old
- #2 Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat – Safest Car Seat for 4-Year-Old
- #3 Britax Grow with You – Best Booster Seat for 4-Year-Old
- #4 Chicco MyFit 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – Most Comfortable Car Seat for 4 Year Old
- #5 Evenflo EveryStage – Best Car Seat for Tall 4-year-Old
- #6 Graco SlimFit – Best Car Seat for Preschooler
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
- What is the safest car seat for a 4 year old?
- What is the best car seat for a 4 year old?
- What is the most comfortable car seat for 4 year old?
- What is the best booster car seat for a 4 year old?
- What is the safest car seat for a 4 year old?
- Can I put my 4-year-old in a booster seat?
- What is the best choice if I have a younger child?
- How long should a child be in a 5 point harness?
- What is the weight and height limit for these car seats?
- What kind of car safety standards should I expect for 4 year olds?
- How to install these car seats for four year olds?
- What kind of features should I look at for car seats dedicated for 4 year olds?
- What is the best car seat for a 4 year old as a high back booster seat?
- What would be a good alternative for the best car seat for a 4 year old?
My sister in law was driving home from ballet practice. It was the ordinary Tuesday commute. Her daughter was quietly sitting in the back. Everything changed when they got rammed.
Another car slammed into them head-on. There was no escape from this one. The SUV was speeding, so the crash was devastating. The airbags deployed instantly, saving the mother’s life.
The engine screeched as it got twisted under the huge impact. The windshield broke to a million pieces sending deadly projectiles everywhere. It wasn’t over yet.
The car has spun into oncoming traffic, and all the tires were blown out.
When everything went quiet, the girl asked: Mommy, what was that loud bang?
The little had no idea about the accident. He has gotten off without a scratch. The next morning she was off to kindergarten. Her mother wasn’t so lucky she ended up in the hospital with a broken nose and a few cuts.
The Graco 4Ever won the Best Car Seat for 4 year old award.
As you have seen above, it has been crashing tested in a real accident. This proves that it can deliver no matter what. The Graco 4Ever is an all in one car seat. Even if you get it for a 4-year-old, you will get enough mileage out of it because the upper limit is set to 120 pounds. It’s the best Graco seat for your child.
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.
The Britax Grow with You won the Best Booster Seat For 4 Year Old award. At this age, kid wants something cool. Also, they want to distance themselves from baby stuff. The Grow with You delivers all this and then some.
The Britax Pinnacle was a great car seat, and it was retired. If you had it and loved it, the Grow with You is the better and improved version of it. You’re getting two installations with this car seat.
Your child will be able to sit in harness and booster mode. The upper limit is set to 120 pounds, so it’s safe to say that this will be the last car seat you will ever have to buy.
Ever since Britax came up with the ClickTight installation, things got a lot easier. All you have to do is pop open the seat and pull through the seatbelt and close the seat down. As soon as you hear the click sound, you’re done. No force needed.
The two built in cup holders are great for 4-year-olds. One can be used for drinks and the other one for toys. Thanks to the design, the cup holders can’t be turned into projectiles.
Four-year-olds will love this car seat because it looks so cool. These are the reasons why Britax won the award.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (FAQ):
What is the safest car seat for a 4 year old?
The safest car seat for a 4 year old is the Britax Grow with You ClickTight harness booster car seat.
What is the best car seat for a 4 year old?
The best car seat for a 4 year old is the Britax Grow with You.
What is the most comfortable car seat for 4 year old?
The most comfortable car seat for 4 year old is the Chicco MyFit. It’s a combination car seat. After rear facing for infant mode it can be used as a forward facing toddler seat and then turned into booster seat.
What is the best booster car seat for a 4 year old?
The best booster car seat for a 4 year old Britax Grow with You. After you’ve clicked it in, the safest car seat doesn’t move at all. Thanks to the five-point harness, your youngster will be as safe as a Nascar driver. If you want to look good while traveling, this is the ideal travelling companion.
What is the safest car seat for a 4 year old?
The safest car seat for a 4 year old is the Britax Grow with You ClickTight car seat. It’s a convertible car seat that may be used with babies, infants, and toddlers weighing up to 120 pounds. There are various color choices for the Britax convertible car seat.
Can I put my 4-year-old in a booster seat?
Yes you can put your 4 year old in a booster seat if they meet the minimum weight requirements. Although I would highly recommend keeping the 4-year-old in 5 point harness mode up to 65 pounds.
What is the best choice if I have a younger child?
The best car seat for a 3 year old is the Britax One4life or the Maxi Cosi Pria 85.
How long should a child be in a 5 point harness?
A child should be in a 5 point harness as long as possible. The 5 point harness car seats offers more protection than the seat belt. Until the child reaches 65 pounds they can ride in 5 point harness mode.
What is the weight and height limit for these car seats?
The weight and height limit are all across the board. For example, the weight limits for rear facing mode is 40 pounds. The weight limits for forward facing for backless booster seats would be 110 pounds or 120 pounds. The weight limit for belt-positioning booster mode or high back booster seat would be 100 pounds. These would be the height and weight limit for belt-positioning booster seats, backless booster seat and high-back booster seat. For most belt positioning booster seats the is 100 pounds. Now for the height limits are set to 57 inches. The crotch strap is adjustable for growing child and the forward facing harness seat also serves as a forward facing car seat. The 100 pounds limit is quite generous. For rear facing is only 40 pounds. The height limits for the backless booster seats is set to 62 inches.
What kind of car safety standards should I expect for 4 year olds?
The car seat safety seat has multiple safety standards. Here’s a quick list of them. For a belt-positioning booster a steel frame is a must. The five-point harness is the safest on the market. The lap and shoulder belt plus the vehicle seat belt will keep your child safe no matter what. To make an easy install use the latch system. The best car seats have side impact protection with multiple layers. The seat manufacturer will keep your child out of harms way with these new car seat tech. Other safety feature for forward facing harness boosters would be great head support and back support. The tether strap is not used at this late stage. All these seats have been in a crash test and passed with flying colors.
How to install these car seats for four year olds?
You can have a high back booster car seat or a backless booster seats or even convertible car seats make sure you read the manual for an easy install. Use the back seat and not the front seat to install. Make sure you don’t use the latch system over 65 pounds. You can use the shoulder belt, lap belt or the seat belt. For booster mode again there’s not latch system only the seat belt. Make sure you read the manual for easy to install it’s also a great idea to watch some videos as well. The booster seat can only be installed with the vehicle seat belt. Make sure you follow the seat belt guide for the best seat belt fit.
What kind of features should I look at for car seats dedicated for 4 year olds?
As the child grows you will need more features. Like dual cup holders. Make sure that these cup holders are locked so they don’t turn into projectiles. Easy to adjust harness is always welcomed.
What is the best car seat for a 4 year old as a high back booster seat?
As your child grows so does the seat. First there’s the high back booster seat and then you will move on to backless booster mode. After the child outgrows the forward facing car seat there’s no more need for them. It’s also a good idea to keep your child rear facing up to 2 years.
What would be a good alternative for the best car seat for a 4 year old?
The best alternative would be chicco kidfit combination car seat. It’s also recommended by the american academy of pediatrics has multiple color options. The car seat manufacturers stride to offer protection from infant carrier (infant car seat) all the way up to convertible seats (toddler seat) and high back boosters and belt positioning booster seats. All in one car seats are the best choice this period. When you want to keep your child safe is on the line the more protection the better. To keep your child safe on car travel use the safety harness system. For more comfort adjust the recline angle of the seat pad. The harness straps can be hidden away when they are not in use. Also to keep your child safe in booster seats adjust the harness for the best facing forward. The seat cover is washable and the cup holder is easy to use. I can’t get enough of the safety harness system. I have a different post about the best car seats check it out here.
Last Updated on April 11, 2022