As a parent of a toddler, one of the most important things you should do is buy an appropriate car seat. So, if you have made up your mind for safe and secure car rides for your little one, it’s time to get the best car seat for a 4-year-old.
You need adjustable car seats such as booster seats or convertible car seats for a growing child. A good car seat provides proper neck support and leg and side protection.
Keep scrolling as we bring you a list of the safety-tested car seats that you’d love to get for your four-year-old child. The tried-and-tested car seats provide side-impact protection and are made of energy-absorbing materials to let you and the little one travel stress-free.
Types Of Car Seats
Below are the most common types of car seats available in the market.
- Convertible car seats: Convertible car seats are adaptable to a growing child. It includes car seats with booster and forward-facing and rear-facing modes.
- Combination car seat: All-in-one car seats or combination car seats are forward-facing. When your child outgrows the harness, they convert to a booster seat.
- Booster seats: These seats are suitable for children weighing more than 40 pounds. They come in two varieties, high back boosters or backless boosters. High-back boosters have head and neck support, which is helpful for cars with low seatbacks. Backless boosters are ideal for cars that already have headrests and high back seats.
9 Best Car Seats For Four-Years-Old
1. Best Compatibility:Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster
This is a premium car seat with superior safety technology for children’s safe travel. Evenflo’s two-in-one combination car seat for 4-year-olds converts from a five-point harness to a belt-positioning car seat and can accommodate growing children. It is designed to protect children weighing 22 to 40 pounds in the harness position and 40 to 110 pounds in the belt position. Your child can easily access the drinks and snacks from the integrated cup holders attached to the sides. This safety-tested car seat comes with a latch system for easy installation.
- Easy harness adjustment
- Accurate belt-positing paths
- Removable head pillow
- Machine-washable pad
- Side impact tested
- Lightweight car seat
- No instruction manual
"I was amazed at the simple setup of this car seat. Its adaptable functionality accommodates a growing child, which appealed to me. However, I noticed an issue with the cup holder, which detaches easily. Overall, it's a dependable choice for regular journeys and daily use."
2. Best Safety-Compliant:Evenflo Maestro Sport Convertible Booster Car Seat
Suitable for toddlers aged two to eight years, this booster car seat comes with a five-point harness system. It has a shoulder seat belt guide to keep your child’s position in check and features two cup holders to keep snacks and drinks within reach. The seat is made with special care and attention to meet safety standards. Furthermore, this car seat for 4-year-olds has a forward-facing orientation with a latch installation type and a polyester build. This mom’s choice booster car seat is available in Whitney, Crestone Peaks, Wesley, and Palisade shades.
- Easy to clean
- Lightweight car seat
- Easy to install
- Belt-positioning booster
- Adjustable harness
- May not have a reclining function
"This car seat is versatile and apt for travel. Its easy installation and portability are definitely a plus. The simple design helped my kids conveniently transition from toddler seats. However, for longer journeys, children may need to take a break from sitting continuously. Still, it's a decent option."
3. Best Securement:BubbleBum Inflatable Backless Booster Car Seat
If you are looking for a compact car seat ideal for carpooling, taxi rides, or family outings, the mom-approved BubbleBum’s inflatable backless booster car seat is the right choice. This safety-tested car seat is constructed with high-quality memory foam for cushioned comfort and is a perfect solution for children weighing 40-100 pounds. The slim design offers a perfect fit for the middle seat. The rigid side clips secure the lap belt and do not irritate the bony portion of the child’s lap.
- Portable car seat
- Easy to install
- Comfortable to sit
- Meets US safety ratings
- Could be difficult to inflate
Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster
Evenflo Maestro Sport Convertible Booster Car Seat
BubbleBum Inflatable Backless Booster Car Seat
|18"D x 18.5"W x 29.5"H
|17 x 19 x 27.5 inches
|11 x 4.5 x 11 inches
4. Best Two-In-One:Chicco KidFit Booster Car Seat
Trusted by moms, Chicco’s Booster KidFit baby car seat for 4-year-olds features ten height-adjustable positions for growing children. It has high-grade latch connectors and a one-pull tightener, making it simple to install and remove. The side wings of the car seat are made of energy-absorbing EPS material to protect your child from any impact. You can convert the two-in-one booster from high back to backless, making it a perfect solution for traveling with children weighing 40-110 pounds. You can check out this YouTuber’s review of the trusted product if you require more convincing.
- Ten different positions for growing children
- Removable seat pads and armrests
- Easy to clean
- Integrated cup holders
- Breathable fabric
- The belt could be hard to pull
5. Best Portable:Diono Radian Convertible Car Seat
The three-in-one Diono Radian convertible car seat comes with forward- and rear-facing modes and can accommodate children up to ten years. The high-back booster seat for 4-year-olds is designed for children weighing up to 120 pounds. With its one-of-a-kind design, this stands out as a perfect car seat for your child’s ultimate comfort. This portable car seat comes with steel-reinforced cup holders, making it perfect for holding snacks and drinks on long-distance rides.
- High back booster
- Rear-facing for longer
- Reinforced steel core
- Offers ease of cleaning
- Easy-to-use buckles
- Could be difficult to install
"Having tried a few different options, I picked this for its durable metal frame. However, the lack of instructions can make installation more challenging. Once correctly installed, it turns out to be a dependable and space-saving option. It's been a good purchase for my child's safe travels."
6. Best Reclining Option:Chicco MyFit Booster Car Seat
Chicco’s MyFit booster car seat converts from a five-point harness to a belt-positioning booster. It has a steel-reinforced frame and a padded duo-guard for side impact protection. This convertible car seat for a 4-year-old is ideal for a growing child as it offers four reclining positions and nine headrest adjustment modes for comfortable body and head movement. The belt-tightening system with premium latch connectors makes installation simple.
- Wide range of adjustment
- High-impact protection
- Triple foam padding
- Integrated cup holders
- Heavy in weight
7. Best High-Quality: Mifold Hifold Booster Seat
This adjustable highback booster seat for a 4-year-old offers 243 individual settings, making it a perfect solution to support children weighing 40-100 pounds. This Mifold compact seat folds down to a convenient size for easy storage and transportation. It has four-point adjustments for the seat, body, head width, and height to provide additional protection for your growing child. This baby-friendly car seat is made of high-quality foam for maximum impact resistance.
- Easily adjustable
- Portable car seat
- Keeps child secure
- Safety tested
- Easy to install
- May not be sturdy
8. Best Latch-Based:Kneeguard Kids Car Seat
Kneeguard’s travel car seat footrest is specifically designed for the child’s added sitting comfort. The footrest has a height control bar that allows for an adjustable height position to accommodate a toddler highback booster seat, making it one of the best car seats for 4-year-olds. The footrest is simple to attach to the latch behind the seat or with hooks that slip under the car seat.
- Compatible with all car and booster seats
- Medically approved
- Easy installation
- Crash tested
- Foldable footrest
- Occupies a lot of space
9. Best For Comfort:Diono Monterey Positioning Booster Seat
This two-in-one booster car seat easily converts into a backless seat. The reinforced aluminum sides, ergonomic design, and energy-absorbing EPS foam keep your child safe. It includes a headrest adjustment feature and 11 different positions for your child’s convenience and comfort. This expandable booster seat for a 4-year-old can support children weighing 40-120 pounds.
- Expandable booster seat
- Side cup-holders
- The seatbelt may not retract fully
"I appreciate how adaptable this car seat is. Its lightweight form made it easier for me to swap between different cars. It appears wide, though the installation was tricky in some vehicles. Its solid features and safety make it a dependable option."
How To Choose The Right Car Seat For A Four-Year-Old?
Here are a few crucial points to consider when shopping for a car seat for a four-year-old.
- Weight and height: Consider the child’s weight and height rather than age because every child has a different size requirement. A booster seat is ideal for children under eight and weighing 80-100 pounds.
- Convertible: Purchase a car seat that can accommodate a growing child. Convertible car seats with a proven performance record are the best because they can adapt to a child’s rapid growth.
- Measure car rear seats: Buy a car seat based on the size of your car’s second row of seats. If you have a compact car, ensure there is enough room for other passengers after installing the seat.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are booster seats safe for four-year-olds?
A harnessed car seat is preferable to a booster seat for a 4-year-old. Booster seats may be appropriate if the child meets the height and weight requirements, but a booster seat could still be a less safe option.
2. Can a four-year-old use a backless booster seat?
A backless booster seat for a 4-year-old may not be a safe choice because of their low body weight. It may cause an untoward movement during impact, increasing the risk of injuries.
3. What kind of car safety standards should I expect for four-year-olds?
A four-year-old should be placed in a forward-facing position with a safety harness and tether in the back seat until they reach the maximum height and weight limits set by the car seat’s manufacturer.
4. How long should a four-year-old be in a car seat?
According to CDC recommendations (1), a child should be placed in the forward seating position until at least five years of age. Once they reach the maximum height and weight limit set by the manufacturer, they should be shifted to the booster seat with a seat belt in the back seat.
5. Is there any weight and height limit for car seats?
Yes, there are maximum height and weight limits for car seats based on which a child should be seated either in the front-facing or rear-facing mode.
6. When can a baby forward face in a car seat?
A child can switch to a forward-facing position anytime between two and four years (2). They should gain a minimum weight of 20 pounds before shifting to the forward position. However, it is recommended to secure the child in a rear-facing position as long as possible.
7. Are backless booster seats safe?
Backless boosters do help in keeping the lap belt in place. However, they are not safe enough for children below 12 years of age, as the child’s shoulders may not fit or align properly with the upper belt anchors in the car seat (1). Moreover, they do not provide head and side support which is also a safety concern for young children.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Our team of experienced writers and editors use their analytical skills and a systematic approach to go through various website reviews and pick the products with the highest user ratings and reviews. We have used this approach to create this list of the best car seats for four-year-olds including high-quality and durable products with optimal safety features. This article also explains the types of car seats and how to choose the right baby-friendly car seat for your child.
Choosing the best car seat for a 4-year-old is paramount to ensure your child’s safety through a drive. Before making a choice, check whether it is convertible, accommodates your child’s weight and height, and measures the car’s rear seat. Car seats are usually lightweight and expandable; however, the seatbelt may not retract completely. Compared to a booster seat, a harnessed car seat is preferred for four-year-olds as they provide more safety and support. Our top picks from the list include the Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster with its versatile two-in-one design and a five-point harness and the Chicco KidFit Booster Car Seat with high-grade latch connectors and energy-absorbing side wings.
Infographic: Types Of Car Seats Available For Four-Year-Olds
The regular car seats can be too big for your little one to sit comfortably and safely. Therefore, several types of car seats are available in the market to accommodate toddlers and young children for a comfortable and secure ride. Look through the following infographic to learn more about these car seat types.
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