This post was most recently updated on April 1st, 2020
Car seats can reduce crash injuries by as much as 54% for toddlers- NHTSA
For a 4 year toddler, it’s all about having fun and learning new ways of life. But you shouldn’t forget that they are growing everyday. And modern city life pushes you to travel with your kid everyday!
To maintain safety by all means, you need the best car seat for 4 year old that will grow with your kid.
We reviewed and analyzed car seats with booster modes and convertible features to support kids at 4 years old, below and above!!
Depending on whether you need a lightweight-compact booster or a more versatile seat, this guide covers everything.
10 Best Car Seat For 4 year Old Kid 2020
Click a link below to jump to the relevant section
- 1.Graco 4Ever Convertible Car Seat
- 2.Britax Pioneer Car seat
- 3.Safety 1st Convertible Car Seat
- 4.Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster Car Seat
- 5.KidsEmbrace Car Seat
- 6.Britax Frontier Booster Car Seat
- 7.Chicco KidFit Car Seat
- 8.Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Max Car Seat
- 9.Cosco Finale DX Car Seat
- 10.Evenflo Big Kid Booster Car Seat
- Types of Car Seats for a Four-year-old
- Best Car Seat for 4 Year Old- Buyer’s Guide
- Conclusion & Editor Choice
1.Graco 4Ever Convertible Car Seat
The Graco 4ever is the definitive 4-in-1 convertible car seat and you won’t need any other seat once you get your hands on it.
For a 4 year old child, the front facing and booster modes are more than enough to grow along as it will support 4-120 lbs. The rear facing mode makes it extremely versatile for babies and kids altogether.
Installation is super easy and takes just a few seconds with the inright latch system. For safety, the seat is nicely padded with foam for absorbing impacts and can also handle front and side impacts.
With 10 adjustable positions, your child can comfortably place himself in. The headrest has more height than usual car seats. That’s all good. However, we would have loved if the headrest had a bit more cushioning.
The Graco 4ever is for those parents who want to get maximum value for their money. It costs more than other car seats but with a 10 year usage, it certainly pays off. It’s compatible with most modern cars and will make a great car seat for 4 years old kids and above/below.
- Latch system makes installation super fast.
- Removable cup holders.
- Well-padded seat makes riding safe and comfy.
- Machine washable and removable seat cover.
- 10 adjustable positions.
- Not suitable for constant vehicle change as it is heavy.
2.Britax Pioneer Car seat
The Britax Pioneer is a heavily padded and comfortable car seat with a 5 point harness. With a few flaws here and there, you will get a premium car seat for your 4 year old kid.
The seat has a 25-110 lbs weight limit and can be used in both harness mode and booster mode (with belt). Though the harness has 9 adjustable positions, it’s a little difficult to adjust depending on the model of the car. But you can always remove it when your child outgrows it
The seat ensures safety through energy absorbing base and armrest. Together these help in reducing forward and side impacts to some extent.
What really stands out is the amount of padding in this seat. There are double layers of foam for both body and the head. The headrest feels more deep and makes long drives comfortable for most kids.
Installing is fairly easy with a latch. But if your child is over 45 lbs, you shouldn’t go for that. With some practice, your installation time will reduce if you plan to change vehicles often.
The ability to use the belt and harness together makes this unit a real deal for 4 year olds. If your vehicle is new, you won’t face issues that other users might face with an ancient car.
- Removable and washable seat cover.
- Body and headrest has heavy padding.
- Adjustable harness setting for different car sizes and child age.
- Use with car belt or harness.
- Safety against forward and side impacts
- Difficult to install with seat belt (not for all vehicles, period).
- Harness might be hard to adjust sometimes.
3.Safety 1st Convertible Car Seat
If you wanted the most safest seat for a 4-year-old in the budget, the Safety 1st should be the #1 choice. It’s built with features that you can find in other premium car seats.
If you compare it to Graco 4ever, it reclines a bit more and the seat padding is just a little less. And.. you don’t have a backless booster mode. You do get rear-facing(for babies), front-facing(for toddler) and belt-positioning modes(for older kids)— perfect for using 8-10 years.
We loved the harness system in this car seat. It has an open position that makes getting in and out real easy. On top of that, the headrest and the harness can be adjusted with just one step.
The seat does have side implants for protection. It might feel more lightweight but there are lots of parents involved in car accidents reported that their child was absolutely safe in the seat.
The only issue you will face is when you will be installing this. The latch system is a bit hard to secure.
- Supports babies, toddlers and older kids.
- The harness is very easy to get on and adjust.
- Seat cover is machine washable.
- Lightweight seat makes moving easier.
- Wide cup holders usable in booster and forward facing positions.
- Installing can be difficult.
4.Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster Car Seat
The Evenflo Chase is a budget-oriented and effective car seat for 4 year old kids. The lower price tag doesn’t compromise the safety and other features. Due to the lightweight and compact nature, you can easily move it across multiple vehicles.
The seat installs easily using the latch system. You can either use the harness mode or belt positioning mode in forward facing positions from 22-110 lbs.
The head pillow is what gives your child the maximum comfort and neck support. Though it doesn’t have a shoulder padding, the contoured design makes up for that. If you want more padding, you can opt for the Evenflo Maestro Booster.
Analyzing the reviews, we are satisfied with the support the seat provided in multiple car crashes. It can encounter heavy side impacts and keep your child in safer positions.
This seat has cup holders that don’t compromise the width of the seat, So, installing multiple seats in a car is fairly easy. Additionally, both the headrest and the seat cover can be washed in the machine.
- Easy to install with latch mechanism.
- Compact and lightweight makes maneuvering a breeze.
- Machine washable headrest and seat cover.
- Suitable for toddlers and older kids.
- Doesn’t have a shoulder padding.
5.KidsEmbrace Car Seat
The kidsEmbrace is by far the coolest car seat that you can buy for a 4-year-old. It has a superhero design and you can choose between 5 super heroes including Spider man and Iron man.
The fancy design doesn’t hamper the safety of the seat. The headrest can encounter impacts and can be adjusted according to your child’s height. Overall, the seat can accommodate 22-100 lbs. In the harness mode, the limit is 65 lbs.
If you have a large car like Suv, you won’t have much problem installing this. But with compact vehicles, you need to work hard to get the right fit.
The seat does recline a little bit that can add comfort. The seat padding is enough for short trips. If the superhero theme is your top priority, you might have to compromise a bit on the factor.
- Adjustable headrest.
- Cool design makes kids love the seat.
- Two cup holders for keeping your kid’s drinks in place.
- 5 point harness system provides ample of safety.
- Seat has light cushioning.
6.Britax Frontier Booster Car Seat
The Britax Frontier is best for parents who need to shift cars frequently on a daily basis. The ClickTight features reduces installation time and makes your child ready to sit in no time.
This car seat has a higher weight limit up to 120 lbs on the booster mode. The forward facing harness mode also has a high weight limit of 90 lbs. If you need to replace your older rear facing car seat, this is the one to buy.
The seat offers both comfort and safety. With adjustable headrest and side impact protection, it’s worth spending a little more.
Keep in mind, undoing the seat belt will require help from your side every time. That shouldn’t be much of a problem though. The seat cover can be removed and washed with no issues.
- Reduces side and forward impacts.
- High weight limit on both booster and harness mode.
- Super fast installation with ClickTight technology.
- 9 adjustable headrest positions.
- It’s heavier than average toddler car seats.
7.Chicco KidFit Car Seat
The Chicco KidFit is best known for its heavy padding and superior comfort. It has contoured design and ErgoBoost padding that makes long trips stress-free.
It’s a booster only seat that you can use with the high-back or backless mode. Whichever mode you use, your child will still have enough leg room to not feel cramped up.
The ability to install with the latch system and the seat belt is a unique feature that keeps the seat more secured. In addition, the Duozone technology provides safety from side and head impacts.
If you love cup holders, you should definitely consider buying this car seat. Both the cup holders are removable and foldable. That saves space! The enclosed design protects against spills.
It has 10 adjustable positions that make the seat suitable for growing kids. The seat has an orange loop that keeps the seat belt from rubbing against the shoulders.
Overall, we are satisfied with the price, ease of use and comfort that this toddler booster seat provides.
- Secured installation with latch and belt system.
- Foldable cup holders to clear up space.
- Heavy padding makes long trips pain-free.
- Prevents shoulder rubbing from seat belt.
- Seat belt can be a bit difficult to adjust for a child.
The Maxi Cosi Pria is the easiest car seat to clean and also has a higher than average weight limit in the forward facing harness mode. It’s a rear facing and forward facing seat that can support babies and toddlers.
You don’t need to remove the seat to get the cover off. The cover snaps off and on with ease and is also washable and dryable. If you are traveling with your kid in hot seasons, this seat will provide a lot of comfort due to breathable high quality fabric.
For safety, there is a side impact air protection technology that works on both modes. The seat padding is plush and keeps your child in place.
The seat is equipped with flip away buckle and harness holders that makes getting in and out smooth. You can recline it to some extent but you have to do that before the installation using the recline handle.
If you own a large car, the seat should fit nicely. However for smaller cars, it will become difficult to fit in the rear facing positions. Considering the fact that you are buying this for your 4 year old kid, this shouldn’t be an issue.
- Detach seat cover without removing the seat.
- Breathable seat fabric.
- High side impact protection.
- Getting in and out is easier.
- Good amount of padding.
- The seat belt is very difficult to press open while child is moving about.
9.Cosco Finale DX Car Seat
The Cosco Finale DX is one of the best car seats for 4 year olds and perfect for large families with lots of kids. The seat is very compact and lightweight allowing you to install 3 of them in a single car.
It has a harness mode and a belt-positioning mode, both of which have enough padding to provide comfort on longer trips. As a bonus, you can also install this on aircrafts. Just make sure that you keep something soft between the buckle and the body.
Unlike other seats that have two cup holders, this one has a single cup holder. But it’s large enough to hold almost any size bottle. On top of that, it’s dishwasher safe!!
Installing the seat is fairly easy with the latch system. When you switch to a booster seat, you will have to use the belt system, which isn’t difficult either.
The seat does look flimsy but it doesn’t compromise on comfort or safety. The price justifies that. We would highly recommend this to parents with multiple toddlers and people who need to change cars frequently.
- Large dishwasher safe cup holder.
- 5 point harness system keeps your child safe.
- Lightweight and narrow design enables multiple seat installation.
- Easy to install.
- There is minimal padding and doesn’t seem comfortable, but it will not bother your kids.
10.Evenflo Big Kid Booster Car Seat
The Evenflo BigKid is a deal breaker best car seat for 4-year-old kids. Considering the affordable price tag and easy maneuverability, this seat can be a great alternative to some of the other premium ones.
It’s a booster seat that you can use with or without the back. It’s suitable for taller kids as the seat is quite high. If you have a low vehicle, you should definitely check the dimensions first.
The best part is you can install 3 Evenflo BigKids seats on a single car as the width is just 16”. On top of that, the lightweight design enables you to move it across other vehicles with ease.
It meets all safety standards as you can find foams on both sides that can minimize impacts. The seat padding is generous but doesn’t have any padding near the shoulders. But that doesn’t compromise on the safety factors.
There are 2 built-in cup holders that will come handy. You will find this unit in 7 color combinations, which should be enough to meet your child’s taste.
In short, if you want a car seat that doesn’t cost too much, saves space and is easy to handle with moderate cushioning, this is the one to get.
- Narrow size allows more seats to fit.
- Comfortable for taller kids.
- Removable backrest keeps up with growing children.
- Lightweight seat suitable for moving from car to car.
- Little hard to buckle on your own (a seat belt extender can solve this).
Types of Car Seats for a Four-year-old
1. Convertible Car Seats
If you want a car seat that will grow with your kid, a convertible seat is the best option. Most of them have Rear facing+forward facing+booster seat capabilities.
If your 4 year old still hasn’t reached the suitable weight for forward facing, you can continue in the rear facing mode up to 40-50 lbs. That’s a plus point!
Overall, these seats can accommodate from 5-100 lbs or over. It’s an investment that will serve you for at least 10 years.
2. Combination Car Seats
Combination cars seats or all-in-one car seats have only forward facing mode and booster seat.
They are usually heavier and not preferable for babies and kids under 4 years old. So, you can keep it as a back up seat and if you transport your kid less often.
3. Booster Seats
Booster seats accommodate children from 40-100 lbs. You can find them in the following two versions:
High back booster seat
High back booster seats have an elevated back and headrest. This is the safest booster with side impact protection padding and adjustable harness system. If your child falls in the 4-7 years old range, this seat is for you.
Backless booster seat
These seats are more lightweight than any other seats. They don’t have a backrest or harness system. It’s suitable for children who have outgrown the harness and you will have to use the original car seat belt instead.
Best Car Seat for 4 Year Old- Buyer’s Guide
1. Getting the size right (Length and Height)
The most essential part of choosing a toddler car seat is to consider the length and height of the seat.
The length must be equal to the length of your car seat. Otherwise, you will have to move your seat. The height should be such that the rear view is not blocked.
You won’t have to care too much about the width. But if you need to install more than one toddler seat, you will have to consider that too.
2. Weight limit
The weight of the car seat shouldn’t be much of an issue if you plan to use it for a long period and for a specific vehicle. All of the seats we reviewed are suitable for 4 years old and up.
You can find the minimum and maximum weight limits of our car seats in the comparison table.
3. Safety parameters
- Car seats or boosters with side impact protection offer the most safety. But even if that’s not a part of the car seat you chose, your child will still be safe as we reviewed only the safest car seat for 4-year-old in the market.
- The seat should only move 1 inch on all sides. It depends mostly on how well you are able to install the seat.
- The harness straps should fall just on the shoulder level or above it for front facing seats.
4. Comfort Level
The comfort of the seat will depend on the following factors:
- Double-foam padding on the seating area
- Adjustable headrest and spacious seat
- Padding on the shoulder and head positions
Depending on the nature of your trips, the comfort factor can be compromised. If you plan for only short trips, this is not that important.
5. Easy to clean options
Ease of cleaning is a crucial factor whenever you are buying any child stuff. There are few car seats that have removable cushions that you can wash in the machine.
At the very least, the seat you buy should be suitable for dry cleaning and wiping. Fixed seats will be hard to clean but should be still okay if you wipe it regularly.
6. Installation process
Installing a car is quite easy if your car model is 2000 and up. But initially you will have to get used to it. The instruction manual should be detailed and easy to understand.
If you have multiple cars and need fast installation every, look for one click connect system. Otherwise, the traditional installing system should be okay for most users.
Conclusion & Editor Choice
So, what do you think is the best car seat for 4 year old kids? Based on our analysis, we think the Graco 4ever offers the maximum value for money. Once you have it, it will serve your toddler and the next babies for years.
It has a high weight limit and superior comfort along with top notch safety specifications. You can’t simply ignore the versatility of this car seat.
If the price is a bigger issue for you, then there are other car seats in this list that can still keep your kid safe.