My child is too big for a car seat, but too small for a booster. What should I do?
Getting a new child restraint can be daunting, especially with the vast array of restraints in the market and the paradox of choice gets worse when you realise your child doesn't seem to fit into any of the categories for child restraints. What should you do? What are your next restraint options?
Don't fret, because in today's Car Seat Chronicles, Elise advises Lisa on her options for her son, Xander, who seems to be outgrowing his Cosco Scenera NEXT at just two years old. Lisa emailed us as she doesn't know what her next options are, as Xander is too big for a car seat, but too small for a booster seat.
At two years old and sixteen kilos, Lisa thinks Xander is about to outgrow his Cosco car seat and wonders if he's too tall to be in the rear-facing position. On the other hand, Lisa and her family don't have a car and they get around in Singapore by taxis. Thus, she's looking for a restraint that is lightweight and portable for taxi use.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, read further to find out Elise's recommendations. Alternatively, you may listen to the podcast below. xx
Here's the email that Lisa sent us:
My son just turned 2 years old. He is around 16 to 17kg and pretty tall. We still have him rear facing in the Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat but I think he is too tall for it. How do we check if he is too tall? Can we move him to the RideSafer vest?
Can I bring him in and get you guys to fit it or offer an alternative? Also, we don't have a car and use taxis a lot.
Here's Elise's reply and a follow-up from Lisa at the end to let us know how she went!
Hey Lisa! Thank you so much for contacting us. Gosh, he's so close to outgrowing the Cosco. When my firstborn was two and a half, his head was in line with the top of the Cosco and he was about seventeen and a half kilos. I recall very vividly because I thought, "Gosh, I have to change him out of the seat any day now!", but he ended up staying at the same seated height and weight for about a year. He remained in the Cosco until he was almost four.
I think you definitely have to start thinking about what the next seat is and, I'd say for taxis, the only option you've got is the RideSafer vest, but don't actually move Xander out of the Cosco yet. You should keep him in it until either he exceeds eighteen kilos or when his head is taller than the shell of the car seat. Instead, you can try to change the recline of the car seat. When you get the car seat installed in rear-facing mode, you'll be able to choose how reclined you want him to be. Also, if the car seat is in a more upright position, he'll sink into the seat a little bit more, which allows you to squeeze a little more time out of the seat (yay!).
If he were a little older, we might be more willing to make the transition right away, however, considering that Xander is only two, it makes a huge difference—in terms of the amount of protection he's offered in the car—if we can keep him in a car seat rather than a wearable restraint for a bit longer. The reason being is that each month he gets closer to three, his musculoskeletal system is getting stronger, so it'd be good if you keep him in his Cosco for now. It can start getting tricky to fit the harness at this age, but worry not, I've got a video of my son at around his age with some tips on doing up the harness for bigger kids in the Cosco Scenera NEXT. All in all, my suggestion would be to prepare yourself to move Xander to the RideSafer vest, but to continue using the Cosco until he's absolutely, very clearly, outgrown it.
Following up, Lisa sent over some pictures of Xander in his Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat. After reviewing the picture, here’s what Elise has to say:
Hi Lisa, he's got a tall torso but I don't think he's completely too big yet! You can install the seat a little more upright, so he's sitting quite upright without really reclining. He's got the leg space to do it. Also, remember to check that the belt is still tight around the car seat! Xx Elise
Her reply: "Thank you sooo much, Elise! I'm really hoping to keep him in the Cosco rear facing for as long as we can, while knowing in advance what I need to buy next. Next time I buckle him in, I'll follow those steps and take an up-to-date picture to send it to you (to double check for me please if that is okay). I'll send pictures again in a month or three if he grows more."
Latest update (13 July, 2020): Lisa has graduated Xander from his Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat into a RideSafer Travel Vest!
- Age: 2 years old
- Weight: 16-17kg