Booster car seat vs convertible – full comparison here

Plenty of car seats offer guardians to ensure kid’s safety when traveling with them. At this point, they got confused about what types of seats they should avail for their kid’s safety. Identifying this problem, I came forward to help you with the very confusing matter. In the article, I’ve shown the booster car seat vs convertible car seat and the differences between convertible and other car seats- rear-facing, forward-facing booster and harness booster car seat. Read the article to better understand the different booster car seats if you have a kid in your home.

How many kinds of car seats are available in the market?

Plenty of car seats meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 213 recommendations for a child restraint seat, I.e., booster car seat. The list includes:

  • Infant car seats.
  • All-in-one car seats.
  • Combination car seats.
  • Booster car seats.
  • Convertible car seats.  

An infant car seat is a rear-facing, compact, and bucket-style car seat usually used for infants until they reach two years of age or between 11-15 lbs. All infant car seats have a 5-point harness and a cushion that makes the newborn comfortable on their journey.

All-in-one car seats can be used from the day your child is born until they can buckle up using just a seat belt, as they offer different modes of use, including rear-facing, forward-facing, and belt-positioning modes. The all-in-one booster car seat grows with your child, so you can secure your child until they reach the maximum height and weight of a booster car seat with just a single booster.

The combination car seat is a forward-facing-only car seat with a 5-point harness and top tether that secures a child over age 2 or more years. The seat can later be converted to a belt-positioning booster after the child outgrows the harness by height or weight.

Booster car seats are booster car seats that help children who have outgrown a car seat but are not big enough to use the car seatbelts properly. It uplifts the older children to a position where they can use the lap and shoulder belts properly.  

A convertible car seat is a forward-facing car seat that can be used as both a forward-facing car seat for younger children and a booster car seat for older children. However, it is a great product for the guardian with multiple children as it allows children of different ages to sit on it.  

Although all the child restraint seats are almost the same, there are a few differences. You should always select the best booster car seat for your child, considering his or her age and the condition of your car seat.

Booster car seat vs convertible: similarity and dissimilarity of these car seats

The booster and convertible car seats have almost the same functions, but there are some differences, too. Here, I’ve put the similarities and dissimilarities of these two child restraint car seats. Based on the discussion, you can decide whether to buy a booster or convertible car seat.

The high-back and forward-facing booster car seats offer almost the same safety features for children, including side impact protection and comfortability. The booster seats don’t offer a 5-point harness, but the convertible car seat does in every mode. However, the booster car seat uses belts to secure your kids.

Modes of use

The booster seat can only be used for older children who have outgrown the car seat and are not fit to use the car belts properly. On the other hand, the combination booster car seat can be used in various modes, including forward-facing and booster car seat modes.

Recently, the convertible car seats started offering a rear-facing mode of use to meet the FMVSS standard for child restraint systems.

Are booster car seats safer than convertible car seats?

Answering the question ‘Are booster car seats safer than convertible car seats?’ without any clear evidence is not easy as most companies argue that their version of seats is safer than the other car seats. But I found this a little tricky as all boosters are different. Here, I discussed the safety based on harness and side impact and the kind of booster car seats.

The answer to the question above varies on the booster car seats. You know booster car seats have two basic categories- backless and high-back. If you are using the second type of booster car seat, then I found it to be as safe as the convertible car seat. Because the high-back booster car seats offer the same safety features as the forward-facing convertible car seats. Most high-back booster and convertible car seats have LATCH technology that steadies the seat. Both seats uplift your child to a position where they can properly sit on the car seat. Also offers side impact, positioning, and comfort.

However, the high-back booster car seat uses the seat lap and shoulder belts to secure the kids, while the combination booster uses the 5-point harness.

On the other hand, the backless booster car seats merely offer side impact protection in a car collision. This is also solely made to uplift your child to a certain height so that they car ride safely with car seat belts, not exactly to protect them with harnesses and other safety features. So, I must say, the backless booster car seats are less safe than the convertible booster car seats.

When to move from a convertible car seat to a booster car seat?

As you all know, the infant car seat and convertible car seat have their 5-point harness, but the booster car seat doesn’t. So, before moving them from a convertible or infant car seat to a booster car seat, don’t forget about the children’s height, weight, and safety. 

The booster car seat uses seatbelts for restraint, so check if the car lap and shoulder belts properly fit your kids- snugly across the hip and chest. So, ensure that the booster uplifts your child to a position from where they meet the seatbelt recommendations.

Before you move a kid to a booster, they must meet the following guidelines;

A child should weigh at least 40 pounds

They should be 38 to 40 inches tall

A child should be able to understand and accept the need to sit still in the car.

They should be able to sit properly in the car seat because incorrect posture could lead them to severe injuries in the event of a car crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that most children are ready to switch from riding in a booster seat to using the vehicle’s seat belt alone at some point between the ages of 8 and 12.

Convertible car seat vs infant car seat: what is safer for newborns?

Traditionally, a child’s journey starts with infant car seats. Some hospitals do not allow to go outside with a restrained car seat for newborns. However, nowadays, some convertible car seats have an extended rear-facing weight range to adhere to the NHTSA recommendations. Based on the facility, I compared the safety of infant car seats and convertible car seats.

As before, convertible car seats had no rear-facing mode of use, which was not safer than infant-only car seats. Nowadays, it meets the NHTSA recommendations for infant car seats. I found both types of booster car seats to be similar. The harness, the side impact protection, and other safety precautions are the same.

Moreover, the convertible booster car seat grows with your kids, so you can have them secure your kid longer when the infant-only car seat exceeds the height and weight limit so early. So, the convertible booster could be a budget-friendly for you as well.

Why you should buy a convertible car seat sooner?

The main objective of a child restraint car seat is to secure your child in the event of a car collision. The convertible booster or car seat does this more precisely than the booster and infant-only car seats.

Head injuries are one of the main concerns in a car crash. In this case, the convertible car seat secures them way more properly than the other child restraint car seats. Not only the head protection but also the 5-point harness makes it different from the booster car seats.  

Also, it has different modes of use- rear-facing and forward-facing- that make the convertible booster car seat the most cost-effective available.


The booster car seat has its specific use, and the same line works for infant car seats. But the convertible car seat makes some differences, allowing multiple modes of use. If you want to keep your children safe and secure for a long time using a cost-effective and safe solution, then you can go for a convertible booster car seat. Otherwise, you can purchase an infant-only booster car seat after the birth of your baby and then go for a convertible car seat, as it is safer than the booster car seats.

However, always read the booster car seat law and recommendations of the particular state you will use. And confirm the proper use of child restraint systems. By doing so, you could get the best possible outcome. 

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