Car Seats for 4-Year-Olds: Finding the Perfect Fit

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Best Car Seat for 4 Year Olds

Buying a car seat for your child is one of the most important purchases you can make as a parent.  This is because your child’s car seat is their first line of defense in case of an accident.  This is also one of the first things you will buy for your child.  After giving birth, you will not be able to leave the hospital without a car seat.  This is true even if you don’t drive.  The hospital staff will even check to make sure that the car seat passes standard tests as well.

While buying a car seat for an infant may be stressful, finding the best car seat for 4 year olds isn’t a cake walk either.  The same things that you look for in an infant car seat won’t exactly be the same for an older child.  So to make sure that you are buying the best one for your little big guy, make sure you check for all of the features that will keep them safe.  So if you are on the hunt for the best car seat for 4 year olds, keep reading!

What to look for in a car seat for older children 

Having a checklist of features is the first step to finding the best car seat for 4 year olds.  Make sure that whichever car seat you choose has all of the things you would hope to find out of a great baby gear product.  Most importantly, make sure it’s safe to use!  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Weight limit

There are a ton of great convertible car seats out there that claim to work perfectly for newborns all the way up to school age kids, but you should be sure it’s right.  The best way to do this is to check the weight limitations.  Every child is different.  Find a car seat that will support your child for years to come.  For best results, find one that will hold your child up to 50lbs.

  • Adjustable height

Even if your child isn’t heavy, they will need plenty of leg room.  Some children are all legs and nothing can ruin a car experience more than cramped up legs.  Find a car seat that has adjustable height options.  This way you can customize your child’s experience.

  • Optional headrest 

By 4 years old your child will either be on their way to using a booster seat, or already using one.  The biggest complaint that most parents have about booster seats is that there isn’t always a headrest.  While this used to be the case, many new booster seats have removable headrests.  This is perfect for big kids who still like to drift off to sleep during car rides.

  • Harness system

When your child is young, chances are you will be finding a car seat that is fitted with a five point harness system.  While this buckle system is great for little ones, it isn’t always practical for big kids.  If you are looking for a booster, your child will more than likely be using your car’s own buckle system.  If not, try to find the best car seat for 4 year olds that feature a pull over buckle.

  • Extra features

While extra features are not important to your child’s safety, they can help make any car ride a lot smoother.  The number one features parents love is cup holders.  By four years old your child should obviously be old enough to self feed.  Help them continue to feel like a big kid by letting them have control over when they drink.  This can also be a lifesaver during those hot summer car rides.

  • Comfort padding

The last thing you should look for when finding a great car seat for your big guy is the comfort level.  Older children need a lot more comfort than infants.  It is so secret that booster seats are not always that comfortable to sit on.  While they need to the metal and plastic to make the seat safe and durable, it isn’t always easy to sit on. Look for a booster, or car seat that has plenty of padding for your child’s sensitive bottom.

The best way to know that you are getting a quality product is to compare the way they stack up next to each other.  Here are some of the best car seats for your big kid that are available on the market today and what the parents who used them have to say about them.

Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat 

The first option is great for children who have a hard time with change.  This booster seat looks more like a car seat that your child may be used to.  This can help to make the transition from car seat to booster go smoothly.  The best thing about this car seat is that it is completely customizable.  The car seat transitions from a high back booster to a booster base with a couple of easy steps.  This means that you can keep the back up for long car drives in hopes of your child falling asleep, or you can remove the back for quick trips.  You will also love how this car seat has 6 different height positions to choose from.  So if your child is short or all legs, they will always be comfortable.

When it comes to extra features, this car seat does not disappoint.  There are two separate cup holders that are located on either side of the seat.  These cup holders are retractable to that they can be hidden away when not in use.  Safety is also a major priority for the Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat.  The base of this booster is fitted with energy absorbing foam liners.  These help to pull energy away from your child in case of an impact.  Best of all, this car seat pad is machine washable for quick and easy clean up.

What makes this booster the best car seat for 4 year olds?  Here is what other parents had to say about the Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat:


  • Cute designs
  • Super comfortable
  • Love the removable headrest
  • Two cup holders
  • Adjustable height position
  • Lightweight 
  • Easy to transfer from car to car
  • Fits perfectly in any car


  • Feels low quality
  • Back of the seat broke
  • Does not support child enough
  • Feels flimsy 

Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat 

If you are in the market for a plain and simple car seat for your big kid without any unneeded extras, then the Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat is exactly what you are looking for.  Unlike other booster seats that are meant for big kids, this one does not come with a back or even the option to add a back.  So if your child still has a problem keeping their head up when in the car, this might not be the best option for you.  This car seat does, however, offer one amazing ride experience for your child.  Best of all, it will be super easy for you to move and carry because of how lightweight it is.  This car seat will support your child from ages 4-10 and from 40lbs up to 100lbs.  Having such a high limit is great so that you don’t have to worry about your child outgrowing their seat any time soon.

You don’t need to worry about safety with the Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat either!  This booster has been through a rigorous amount of safety testing and passed these tests with flying colors.  This booster works with your car’s buckle system, so there is no need for complicated buckles or harnesses.  There is a little slip clip that has a clip that wraps around the buckle to help keep the buckle in place where it should be.  This strap is adjustable so that no matter how tall or short your child is, they will be completely comfortable.

Why should you buy it?  Here are some reasons why other parents love the Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat:


  • Lightweight
  • Perfect for traveling
  • Comfortable padding
  • Two hidden cup holders
  • Adjustable tether strap
  • Supports children up to 100lbs
  • Great for kids 4-10 years old


  • Feels cheaply made
  • Mesh pulled apart
  • Doesn’t seem to hold up

Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat 

While there are always new models of car seats coming out each and every year, no one seems to be reinventing the wheel.  Of course there have been upgrades in safety and comfort, but the general design is usually the same.  That was true until the Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster came along.  This booster is completely unlike any other booster that you may have seen.  This booster folds up perfectly into a little pouch.  This is the best option for parents who travel often.  This is also the best option for families who live in cities and are growing tired of transferring bulky car seat from taxi to subway.

While this product is small and compact, it is equally comfortable.  It is actually surprisingly comfortable for what how thin it is.  This booster was specifically designed and engineered with dense foam to provide an amazing amount of padding while still being thin enough to fold.  This same engineering was the one that made this car seat able to absorb energy upon impact.  Also, because of the small shape, this car seat is ridiculously easy to clean.  The sliding out sides makes this car seat easy to adjust and fit into any space no matter how tight.  Because of this special shape, you can even fit three of these booster seats in a row in a back seat.  Finally a great option for parents with three school aged children!

What makes the Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat the best car seat for 4 year olds?  Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages:


  • Extremely safe
  • Small enough for travel
  • Fits into any diaper bag or purse
  • Super comfortable
  • Expands for comfort
  • Dense impact absorbing foam


  • Doesn’t seem to work as well for shorter kids
  • The buckle strap rubs against child’s skin
  • Hard to hook into the seat belt

Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat with Latch System 

Another great option for your little big kid and the best car seat for 4 year olds is the Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat with Latch System.  This sharp looking booster seat is most known for how securely it keeps your child in place all ride long.  This is because like infant car seats, this booster works with your car’s latch system to offer the most secure latch possible.  Not only does this work to keep your child safe, but it also works to keep the seat in place.  The biggest complaint that parents have about booster seats is that they slide around a lot, but with this booster you don’t have to worry about it!

The buckle system on the Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat makes buckling a breeze.  This will help your child to feel a little bit more independent and learn to do more things on their own.  Self-buckling is one more step toward big kid freedom for your little guy.  There is also an adjustable back to the seat that makes the seat perfectly comfortable for any child no matter the height.  Best of all, you will love that this seat has been put through a ringer of tests including side impact testing.  

Why should you buy it?  Here are some reasons why parents love the Graco Affix Booster Youth Seat with Latch System:


  • Cup holders
  • Adjustable back
  • Stylish design
  • Comfort padding
  • Safe Latch system
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install


  • Doesn’t work in all styles of cars
  • Doesn’t always seem secure

Cosco Top Side Booster

The Cosco Top Side Booster is the best car seat for 4 year olds if you are looking for a great budget friendly option.  This booster is the bare minimum of what you would need for your little big kid.  You should be aware that you get what you pay for when it comes to this booster seat.  There are no extra features or bells and whistles.  This booster works with your car’s belt system and is strong enough to support children from 40 all the way up to 100 pounds.  It will also support your child up to 57 inches.  The main reason that parents love this booster seat is because it is perfect for travel.

This lightweight car seat needs hardly any installation in order to be placed safely in your car.  All you need to do is place it simply in your car’s seat and then loop the buckle under the arm rest.  This allows easy access to the buckles which will help your child latch themselves in safely each and every time.  You will also love that this car seat comes in a variety of different colors for you to choose from.  From the hot pink to the super cool blue, you are sure to find the one that best fits your personal style.  For a more neutral option, there is a super sleek gray that will match perfectly with any car interior you have.  Best of all, you can get this booster seat for under $20 which is great for any family on a budget.


  • Great color options
  • Lightweight and fits in any car
  • Easy to install
  • Works with car’s buckle system
  • Comfortable padding
  • Thick arm rests


  • No cup holders
  • Slides in the seat
  • Feels low quality
  • Has too much clunky plastic

Final Thoughts 

Finding the best car seat for 4 year olds doesn’t always have to be a stressful situation.  The best thing to do to ensure that you get everything you want is to make sure to find the one that has the features that are important to your lifestyle.  If you are a family who likes to travel a lot, look for a car seat that is easy to move and lightweight enough for travel.  If you are on a tight budget, try to stick with a child car seat that doesn’t have too many extra features.  This will help to keep your child safe while also promising not to break the bank.  

When it comes to finding the best car seat for your big guy, there is no reason why you can’t everything you need to keep your child safe for a decent price.  Whatever car seat you choose to go with, make sure that you are keeping your child in their car seat long enough.  This is because every child is different which means that depending on their size, some children will need to stay in the seat longer.  Good luck.

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