The Benefits of 5 Point Harness Booster Seats
Each of these seats aims to prolong the period of time in which your child can enjoy the security of being restrained in their car seat with the assistance of a 5 point harness.
One of the problems of transferring your child to a standard booster seat at the age of about 4 years is that they are often not physically ready to sit up straight enough and their bodies are not necessarily strong enough to cope with the forces applied in a collision when restrained solely by the adult seat belt.
The best 5 point harness booster seats avoid this serious problem altogether by enabling your child to remain harnessed until their weight exceeds 90 lbs. There is another model, the Britax Pioneer 70 that is significantly cheaper ($172) but it only enables harnessed restraint up to 70 lbs instead of 90 lbs. The booster stage weight limit is also 10 lbs less (110 lbs vs 120 lbs).
Although I prefer the Pinnacle 90 and Frontier 90 seats, I appreciate that no everyone’s budget can stretch that far, especially if you have twins like I do or many children to buy car seats for! If you cannot afford to $267+ on a harness to booster seat, then the Britax Pioneer 70 is still a very nice car seat and I would much prefer my child to use one them than a standard seat-belt positioning booster.
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that children should remain in rear-facing seats until they are at least 2 years of age. In accordance with this advice, Britax states that the minimum age for use of their 5 point harness booster seats is 2 years and the minimum weight is 25 lbs.
Both of these seats have been awarded a 5-Star “Ease of Use” rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The significance of this is explained fully within my Full Reviews (see below).
The 3 Best 5 Point Harness Booster Seats 2017
#1 Britax Pinnacle 90
The Britax Pinnacle 90 is the top-of-the-range 5 point harness booster seat and costs about $296.
It come with an very large number of impressive features, including:
- Tangle-Free, 5-Point Harness with 7 height positions to restrain your child and distribute collision forces across the strongest parts of their body
- 70 lb Weight Capacity in Harness Mode
- 110 lb Weight Capacity in Booster Mode
- Easy-Access Belt Paths for simple installation when using the adult seat belt
- Energy Absorbing Tether anchors the top of the car seat to the vehicle, thus minimizing the amount of forward movement of the car seat.
- Front-Adjust Recline
- Comfort Foam provides an extra layer of padding to cushion your child
- Quick-Adjust No Re-Thread for easy adjustments to the harness shoulder height and head restraint from the front of the seat
- Integrated Cup Holders and Storage
- Easy Transition from Harness to Booster Mode without removing harness straps
- Easy-Remove Cover allows easy cleaning without disassembling or uninstalling the car seat
- Color-Coded Vehicle Belt Guides provide clear indication of the path and positioning of the vehicle seat belt for use in either harness or booster mode
- Armrests provide a natural and comfortable place to rest arms
- Two Buckle Positions for your growing child
- Click Tight Installation
- EZ-Buckle System and Harness Holders
- HUGS Chest Pads.
- Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT)
- Premium Lower LATCH Connectors included
- Certified for Aircraft Travel in Harness Mode
- Made in the USA with global components
The Britax Pinnacle 90 has exactly the same features as the Frontier 90 apart from the additional Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT).
There is a video explanation of the SICT feature towards the bottom of this page to help you to decided whether or not you want to pay the extra money for it.
One thing to bear in mind is that it makes the seat about 3.5 inches wider than the Frontier 90. So, if you have a very small car or need to fit 3 kids side-by-side on the rear seat, the Pinnacle 90 might just be too wide to fit. Of course, if you buy one of these seats online, make sure that the retailer offers free returns so that you can double-check the fit prior to fully committing to the purchase.
#2 Britax Frontier 90
The Britax Frontier 90 has exactly the same features as the Pinnacle 90 apart from the Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT). As a result, it is about $20 cheaper.
Here is a Comparison Video of the older Britax Models by “Bibs & Binkies”:
#3 Diono Rainier
The Diono Rainier is actually a convertible car seat and booster seat all in one. As a result it has a longer lifespan (10 years) than the Britax models. It can be used from 5 to 120 lbs and could, therefore, be the only car seat that you would ever need to buy for your child.
One of the other added benefits of the Diono Rainier over the Britax Pinnacle is that it is much narrower. So, if you need to be able to fit 3 kids side-by-side in the back of your vehicle, this could be an excellent option for you to consider.
It is not cheap, but it will last you from birth to about 10 years of age. Neither of the Britax models listed above can be used from birth like the Rainier can.
The Diono Radian RXT is also worth considering.
Its main features are:
- Steel frame provides protection and durability for a 10-year product life
- 12-position fully adjustable head support
- Reinforced deep side walls with energy-absorbing foam for maximum head and body side impact protection
- Luxurious two-piece infant body pillow for extra support and comfort
- memory foam in the seating area
- Rear facing 5-50 lbs
- Forward facing 20-90 lbs in harness mode
- Forwards facing booster mode 50-120 lbs and up to 57″ tall
- Super LATCH rating means that it can be installed this way up to 80 lbs
Buy Harness to Booster Seats in Canada
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
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