The Best Car Seat for 5 Year Old: Ultimate Guide for Parents

Who's up for a little bit of driving? How about a long drive, let's say, to your favorite travel destination?

Traveling is fun. Driving can even be therapeutic at times. But when you have to bring the kids along, that's a whole different kind of story right there.

If you haven't gotten a car booster seat yet, and you are about to embark on a cross country drive, I suggest that you read this article to find the best car seat for 5 year old.

We've reviewed some of the popular and best car seats designed to keep your five year old safe and comfortable during the entire trip.

Read on and learn a few tips and tricks to make your car traveling with a toddler easier and worry-free!

Table of Contents

Top 3 Recommendations
Editor's Choices
Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat, Proof*
Price
$139.99
Prime
Customer's Rating
Best Feature
Most Popular Car Seat
Britax Grow with You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, Spark - Premium, Soft Knit Fabric [New...*
Price
$263.99
Prime
Customer's Rating
Best Feature
The Safest Booster Seat
Best Selling
Chicco KidFit Zip Plus 2-in-1 Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat, Backless and High Back Booster...*
Price
$139.99
Prime
Customer's Rating
Best Feature
Most Trustworthy Brand

Best Car Seat for 5 Year Old: The Top 10 Choices

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat - Most Popular Car Seat

The first on our list is the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster.

This Graco forward-facing booster seat can be adjusted to 3 settings, such as the harness booster, the highback booster, and the backless booster.

They are all designed to accommodate different weights, should you decide to use it between different kids, or it's a seat that can be adjusted to accommodate your growing child.

You can definitely fit a toddler in this, and when we grow taller and weigh heavier, you can just adjust the car seat to its ideal settings.

This booster seat features a "Simply Safe Adjust Harness System." This system adjusts the height of your harness and headrest in one simple motion. It does away with the time-consuming rethreading.

No need to worry about your child outgrowing the seat, as the seat can be adjusted to accommodate the expected growth, and that includes the headrest.

The buckles are easy to clean, as well. Simply wipe them down using a clean damp cloth.

And as US laws are stringent when it comes to safety standards, this seat complies with those restrictions, has been engineered and has undergone rigorous crash tests, and has been in compliance and even exceeded the US standard FMVSS 213.

The open-loop belt guides properly position the vehicle seat belt across the child. The seat pad, harness covers, and body support provide the utmost comfort as well.

Also, it is machine washable for easy cleaning. Other metal and plastic parts can be cleaned with mild soap and cold water. Harnesses may be spot cleaned.

This Tranzitions 3 in 1 booster seat is lightweight and ideal for busy and active parents. It is portable and easy to carry.

It has an added feature of dual cup holders so that your child can easily reach for refreshments while strapped-in.

Pros
  • 3 set up to adjust to height and weight
  • Affordable seat
  • Underwent rigorous crash test
Cons
  • Maximum weight is only 100 pounds

Britax Grow with You ClickTight - The Safest Booster Seat You Can Get

This seat from Britax is the safety king.

It’s packed with high-end features that ensure your growing child is safe and sound at all times, but it does come at a high price for a booster seat.

First of all, the frame. The frame is made of industrial-strength steel, so it’s incredibly sturdy and strong.

At the bottom of the seat, you can notice the patented SafeCell technology, typical for Britax seats. And its purpose is to absorb the energy of the shock and protect your child in the case of collision.

Then, at the back, there are special slow-release stitches on the tether, and their role again is to reduce the movement of the seat in the case of a collision.

On the other hand, on the front side, there are two layers of side impact protection to keep the head, neck, and torso intact.

And, there are energy-absorbing pads on the harness to offer more comfort but also reduce the forward movement if anything happens.

Phew, so many safety features that I got tired just talking about them. But, we can’t stop here.

Another thing that makes this seat awesome is the no-rethread harness. Yes, this seat is equipped with a 5-point harness, so you can use it for kids between 25 and 65 pounds.

And, as your child is growing, you can adjust the headrest by simply pressing the handle at the top of the headrest and pulling it up or down. It offers nine positions.

Without the harness, this booster accommodates children between forty and sixty-five pounds. So the overall weight capacity is very impressive.

You can remove the fabrics and wash them for easy cleaning.

Pros
  • Incredibly safe
  • Adjustable
  • Includes a harness
  • Removable fabrics
Cons
  • A bit expensive

Chicco KidFit Zip Plus 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat - Most Trustworthy Brand

This booster seat comes from Chicco, a well-known brand, so you know you wouldn't go wrong if you think of getting this one.

A trusted brand name comes with certain guarantees, something that consumers are accustomed to, and something that established companies would like to maintain.

The KidFit Zip Plus 2-in-1 Belt-Positioning booster car seat is made of durable materials. It comes with a rigid shell and EPS components, which are known to absorb impact energy.

These materials also provide side impact protection for all position adjustments in the head and the chest area.

The seat's firm construction makes sure that should the unexpected happen, the seat can take on most of the energy of the crash, making sure that the passenger in the booster seat is safe and sound.

Its Super Cinch lets you stabilize the seat with one-pull for easy in/out. The seat also features a quick-release latch, which lets you easily and quickly remove the seat from the latch system, and it can be done with just one hand.

These processes uncomplicate their use, so you don't have to worry whether you are using the booster seat properly.

The KidFit Zip Plus 2-in-1 seat was made with quilted material, which makes for a stylish look, and backrest cushions add to the seat's durability.

The shape has an ergonomic design and has three layers of foam for the best fit and comfort. Washable parts are easy to clean up too.

Simply zip them off and run them through a few cycles in the washing machine, and that's it.

There are 2 cup holders, so the road would have your undivided attention knowing that your child can just reach for a drink whenever needed. These are dishwashers safe, too, by the way.

Pros
  • Machine washable parts
  • Weighs 10.2 pounds
  • Multiple color combinations to choose from
Cons
  • The minimum weight recommendation is 40 pounds

Britax Highpoint 2-Stage Belt-Positioning Booster Seat - Most Comfortable Booster Car Seat

The Britax Highpoint Booster Seats for Car is a 2-in-1 booster that's perfect for toddlers and even for big kids.

It can easily be converted into a backless booster in order to keep your child safe even during long travels.

In general, this 2-stage belt-positioning booster can fit in a 40 pounds to 120 pounds and up to 63" height toddler, which is most likely to describe your five year old child.

With its three layers of side-impact, your child will surely be surrounded in safety.

This booster seat comes with an energy-absorbing shell and a foam-lined headrest to keep the head, neck, and torso protected. A quick adjustment of the headrest into ten different positions can also be done for a perfect fit.

For added comfort and a cool ride for your big child, the mesh fabric and plush foam padding ensure a better and cooler flow of ventilation. To top it all, the plush foam padding and the built-in armrests add to the comfort during travels.

What's even more amazing with this car seat is that it is made using a SecureGuard clip to properly position your five year old toddler in the vehicle seat belt. It's quick-push lower connectors will allow easy locking into the place with just a single click.

This booster seat also comes with a color-coded belt guide, which shows you where to properly place the seat belt.

Talk about cleanliness, the Britax Highpoint booster seats comes with a removable cover for easy cleaning in between rides. Plus, it has two dishwasher-safe cup holders to keep snacks and drinks close by.

Truly, this amazing booster seat ensures that style meets comfort with its high-end fabrics and padding, secure clips and connectors, as well as chic design.

Pros
  • Affordable seat
  • 3 layer side impact protection
  • 10 position adjustment for the headrest
  • Converts to a backless booster
Cons
  • Hand wash

Evenflo Big Kid AMP High Back Booster - The Best Two-in-one Booster for the Price

In contrast to the previous seat I reviewed, I bring you one budget seat from Evenflo.

It features a two-in-one design and accommodates children from 22 to 110 pounds in weight.

First of all, this seat is incredibly easy to install. The pieces snap into each other, and you get a high-back booster for your child in seconds.

As one father described in his review video, the seat looks more like a car seat than a forward-facing child seat, so it’s good for kids who are self-conscious about their restraint systems.

You can adjust the height between six positions, so it really follows the growth of your child. And, when it's the right time, you can remove the back and use it as a backless booster.

The belt guides help you position the seat belt properly and restrain your children safely. What is more, it passed the rollover crash test, side crash test, and structural integrity test, so it’s completely safe.

You can take off the fabrics and wash them in a washing machine on a delicate cycle, or you can dab it with a wet cloth and mild soap.

As for the features I don’t like that much, the seat is very thin. It doesn’t have that thick padding and extra cushioning around the neck and head. It really gives away the price of the seat and compromises the comfort really.

So, I’d recommend this seat as a backup seat, or if your child refuses to use the restraint systems with more obvious safety features like thick side impact protection, harness, etc.

All in all, it’s a fine seat for the price, and it definitely pays off given that it includes two modes.

Pros
  • Adjustable height
  • Belt guides
  • Two cup holders
  • Removable fabrics
  • Two modes
Cons
  • Not very padded

Hifold Fit-and-Fold High Back Booster Seat - Most Compact Car Seat

Now here is an adjustable booster that is compact without compromising comfort and safety - the mifold hi-fold booster seat.

Its unique "multi-fit" technology enables you to go through as many as 243 individual settings, making it the most adjustable booster in the world.

It can fit any child four years and above, and it can be anywhere between 40 pounds and 100 pounds and must be between 40 to 59 inches in height.

This range of versatility allows this travel booster seats to adjust to your child’s growth. It will be along while before your child outgrows this seat.

Adjust settings of the seat, the areas for the body, the head width, and the height. And even with the wide range of age, height, and weight that you can fit it in, this hifold seat folds down to a compact size, making for easy storage.

The carry-on strap, and its lightweight design, let you lug this booster around easily, so you can use it when you carpool, or you can bring it with you when you travel.

It doesn't need or take up much space; thus, it's wise to keep one in your trunk all the time for when you have unexpected passengers.

Take note that even if the product is made of lightweight materials, they are designed to take some serious beating. They are sturdy enough to meet safety standards within the United States. You can even use them on your international travels.

A testament to how amazing this booster is, is that it has won the 2019 Creative Child Product of the Year Award.

You wouldn't go wrong with this one - a compact design, adjustable on several parts, can accommodate different sizes and can change to fit and adapt to your child’s growth, award-winning, and complies with safety standards.

Pros
  • 5 point harness
  • Shoulder belt guide
  • Affordable
  • Multi-fit technology
Cons
  • Limited colors seat

Peg Perego Viaggio Flex - The Ultimate Car Seat Choice for 5 Year Old

The next on our list is the Viaggio Flex 120. This car seat's features are more than enough for this to go head to head with other car seats in the market.

This Italian made child booster seat holds up on its own with its 4D Total Adjust Technology, which allows it to adjust to your child’s growth.

Four parts of this car seat allow for adjustment for a better bit.

Firstly is the headrest, which has five different vertical settings. Next is the upper backrest, which has three vertical positions. The side wings expand out to 3 different positions. The seat can recline to five different points.

All these four parts may be adjusted independently from one another, making it a truly versatile booster seat. The many combinations you can do on this seat allows for truly comfortable seating.

Let's talk about safety next.

This Viaggio Flex 120 car seat is easy to secure to the car with its integrated rigid latch, which is designed with a blind lock attaching system. That should make putting the seat up for use a breeze.

The backseat has aluminum reinforcement that provides safety and protection during impacts, be it in the front or the back end. This reinforcement can minimize the danger of whiplash during a crash involving the front end of the car.

The side wings, on the other hand, have EPS that cushions high energy transmission if you happen to get involved in a vehicular crash.

Storing the seat is a cinch as it folds down onto itself when you are not using it, even while attached via the rigid latch. The folding capability makes it easy to carry it around and store it.

These features alone make this Peg Perego booster seat a practical choice.

Pros
  • 4D Total Adjust Technology
  • Aluminum-reinforced backrest
  • The maximum height of the user is 63 inches
Cons
  • Price point

Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat - Most User-Friendly Car Seat

The Evenflo Maestro is designed to be forward-facing, and it can be adjusted to two modes to accommodate a child weighing from 22 to 110 pounds.

The first stage features a 5 point harness, while the next stage lets you use the car seat belt, where the booster seat functions as a high back booster.

Adjusting is a breeze with the centralized up-front harness adjustment.

This set-up allows you to properly tighten the harness with ease. And as they grow up, the harness should be able to adjust to the changing height and weight.

Optimal safety is achieved with the shoulder belt guide that assists in positioning the booster seat belt across the child's shoulder.

And who wouldn't like dual integrated cup holders where drinks and small snacks can be kept safe during the drive and easy to reach for too.

Just snap them into place before you use them, turn the seat over to make sure the locking tabs are locked in place.

When the little one spills something over, or when the seat has been in use for a long time and is cleaned-up and needed, the seat pad can be removed and simply throw in the washing machine, and that takes care of it. The seat will do well with a quick wipe as well.

The Maestro is proudly the U.S. made. From the conception of the design, engineering, and assembly, all of it has been done in the United States.

Rigorous testing has been done on these Evenflo seats, and they have passed with flying colors. They underwent rigorous side-impact and dynamic rollover tests as well.

If you need any help installing the seats, you can avail yourself of live video installation support. That way, you are guaranteed that you have securely installed the car seat.

Pros
  • Helpful live video installation support
  • Affordable
  • Upfront harness adjust
  • Easy to clean
  • Weighs only 9.6 pounds
Cons
  • The maximum weight recommended is 110 pounds

Maxi-Cosi Rodi Sports Booster - Super-adjustable Premium Booster

Maxi Cosi is a brand we usually associate with the budget offer.

However, this booster seat is one of their premium choices with high-end features and excellent quality overall.

What I like about this booster seat the most is the adjustability.

It is honestly a seat that grows with your child and maintains the same level of protection and safety over the years, even as you remove some parts and modify the seat to your child’s age.

The seat features a 2-in-1 design, so you can either use it as a high-back booster seat or a backless booster seat.

The installation is incredibly simple, as this seat comes with an Isofix LATCH system, so all cars with lower anchors support this type of installation. If your car seats do not have the lower anchors, you can install the seat without the LATCH since it withdraws into the seat.

Now, another key feature that makes this seat fantastic is comfort.

It’s packed with plush cushioning on both sides, so your child is protected from the side-impact and very comfortable. The headrest can be adjusted between seven different positions, and the back reclines for the most comfortable fit.

The locking belt guide is perfect for secure and correct positioning of the shoulder belt, and when you remove the back, there are lap belt guides for just as safe backless booster mode.

Since moms always worry about maintenance, Maxi Cosi made this seat with removable fabrics that are machine-washable so as to allow you to keep the seats clean and hygienic at all times.

Finally, there’s even a cup holder to keep your refreshments close, so it’s genuinely an all-inclusive offer.

Pros
  • Adjustable headrest
  • Reclining back
  • Locking belt guide
  • Isofix LATCH system
  • Removable fabrics
Cons
  • You need to remove the seat to adjust the recline, then reinstall it

Diono Cambria 2 Latch, 2-in-1 Belt-Positioning Booster Seat - Most Budget-Friendly Car Seat

Last but surely not least in the list of car booster seats in the Cambria 2, a product by the company Diono.

It has several settings, including the high back and backless boosters, that make for comfortable and secure use.

These settings also ensure that while your child grows, it doesn't mean that the seat will be outgrown. You can simply adjust the seat to match your child’s increasing height and weight.

The headrest can be adjusted to 6 different positions, and you can do it with just one hand. That is not just for the comfort of use, but also for safety.

The booster was made wide enough and with ergonomic contours so the passenger doesn't slip off. And with added length, the leg is better supported during the ride.

All these features are packed into this Cambria 2 booster seat to ensure that your little one is comfortable throughout the drive and won't create an unnecessary distraction for you just because getting strapped in has become unbearable.

While it packs plenty of features and sturdy design, it remains lightweight so that you can secure it, remove it, store it, or transfer it to your other vehicle with ease.

You can pack the seat flat so that it wouldn't be cumbersome when you store it or when you decide to bring it with you during travel.

The seats come with different bold colors that kids love, and that should make it easier to place your toddler in. And the covers are removable; thus, you can remove them to be washed separately or simply wipe them clean.

Secure the booster seat with the use of the car's seat belt, and off you go to your destination.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • XL booster
  • Portable
Cons
  • Limited colors to choose from

Choosing the Right Seat for a 5 Year Old

1. Always Consider the Child’s Safety

Safety should be the top priority when choosing the right booster seats for your child.

When picking one out when you are shopping for one, always check the standards for your area. These regulations set the minimum safety measures that should be met by manufacturers.

Always check the manufacturer's declarations of safety standards they adhere to.

You won't go wrong if you become a stickler for following local protocols. This not only means you are following the law, but you'd be ensuring that your passengers are protected with the minimum safety measures.

If there are several safety standards, you won't go wrong if you choose anything higher than what is minimally set.

2. Keep in Mind the Child’s Comfort

Comfort is a basic non-negotiable factor when making your decision to choose a car seat.

Remember that the level of comfort your child gets when they go for a ride in your vehicle in a car booster seat can directly affect your level of comfort when you ride with them or when you are driving.

If they are uncomfortable in any way, they might end up becoming an unnecessary distraction to you during the entire trip, or worse, make you lose focus on the road.

3. Be Sure that It Comes with Various Accessories

best car seat for almost 5 year old

You must also take into consideration the needed accessories when traveling with a toddler.

While you try to keep things easy and fun for everyone else, you should make sure that you don't have to endure everything difficult in it.

You might want to bring a stroller to ensure it is easier for you as well when you have to take long walks.

There are so many things you should consider when you are lugging the little tykes around. You have to keep in mind the essentials such as the snacks and drinks your child will love to munch on during the trip.

Also, bringing materials for activities will definitely help kill time and boredom, especially during long travels.

You have to keep them busy during the entire trip; otherwise, they'd be bugging you for the entire trip.

4. Opt to Choose Trustworthy Brands

Don't forget your trusty booster seats for them to use in the car.

Not only are these required by law, but it means the world to have your child sitting snugly and comfortably for several hours, and that means that they are kept safe as well while you keep your eyes on the road the whole time you are driving.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the child's age to be able to use a booster seat?

Basically, booster seats are for older children who have already outgrown the forward-facing seats.

You should not necessarily consider or go by the age when you plan to switch to a booster seat.

Keep in mind that children grow at various rates. Thus switching to the best booster boils down to the child's height and weight.

Once your child is close to exceeding the limits of their current seat, then it's about time to consider a booster seat.

What is the right age and weight for a booster seat?

Generally, children must be between four and eight years of age for them to use a booster car seat.

They should weigh about 40 to 80 pounds and less than 4 feet 9 inches in height to be able to fit in a booster seat perfectly.

What seat should a five-year-old be in the UK?

When looking for the best car seats for your five-year-olds, you should focus on their weight rather than their age.

You can use the following groups of car seats:

- group 0+/1/2 car seats: suitable for kids up to six years, weighing up to 25 kg

- group 1/2/3 car seats: for kids nine months to 12 years, weighing between nine and 36 kg 

- group 2/3 car seats: for children from three t o12 years, weighing between 15 and 36 kg 

- group 3 car seats: boosters for kids taller than 125 cm, weighing more than 22 kg. 

The law states you should keep the child in the lowest group as long as possible until they overgrow all weight and height limits to use the following group car seats.

You can also check the i-Size car seats as the newest models based on the children's height. They keep children rear-facing longer.

What is the best age to use a high back booster?

Once your child is mature enough to use a booster properly, then it is best to start with a high back booster.

This normally occurs for children aged five years old since their bodies can perfectly fit in the car.

High back boosters are small seats that come with back, bottom, and head supports for extra support. They are normally placed on the rear passenger seat, making it beneficial and safer for children during travels.

Some of the best high back models are also available in a 3-in-1 combination, allowing easy conversion from rear-facing seats to forward-facing seats to booster seats.

Is a backless booster seat OK for a five-year-old?

No, it's not. The appropriate car seat for five and six-year-olds is either the forward-facing harness or the booster harness car seat.

But, don't rush to upgrade your children in the booster seats, especially in the backless booster car seats, as they might not be ready for such a process.

They won't be stable enough, and you can cause severe injuries to your little ones. So, keep them forward-facing harnessed as long as possible to avoid instability and injuries.

Does a 5 year old child really need a car seat?

best booster car seat for 5 year old

Definitely yes! Safety should come first. This is the primary reason why parents should buy car seats that best fit their children.

However, it is necessary to choose the best seat for a 5-year-old by considering several features that best suit their weight and height.

Does a five-year-old need a car seat in California?

Yes, they do.

They can either use a forward-facing convertible car seat if they have overgrown rear-facing seats or a booster car seat if they overpass the forward-facing car seat.

But, they must use the proper child restraint safety system until they are ready to use the adult seat belt system.

What size seat does a five-year-old need?

You can find multiple car seats suitable for your five-year-olds in our exclusive list.

Many of them provide all three stages or even the extended rear-facing modes for kids up to 50 pounds.

Generally, your five-year-olds are preschoolers, so you will need either rear or forward-facing seats (or boosters) for children who overgrow the maximum weight and height limits of the current seats, so they need next-level car seats.

Should a five-year-old have a 5 point harness?

Your children should use the five-point harness until they reach and overgrow the system's upper weight and height limits.

They must use the safety harness if they don't meet such standards.

According to the NHTSA and the AAP, your children usually overgrow the standards when they are four and older.

But, if your five-year-olds don't do so, they must use a harness. Otherwise, they can use the belt-positioning booster.

Is my child too big for his car seat?

You will have to examine the weight and height of your child and then compare the measurements with the maximum weight and height limits of the car seat recommended by the manufacturer.

If the child overgrows given safety proportions, they are ready for the next-level car seats - from rear to forward-facing, forward-facing to boosters, booster to the adult seat belt system.

Final Thoughts

Once you have the factors pertaining to safety and comfort sorted out, then you can make your pick based on other factors such color, ease of use, pricing, or how long will the seat be usable - or at what point would your child outgrow the usability of the seat.

You can also take a look at the ability to easily transport if you are thinking of using the same car seat for international travels.

Among the seats listed here, the Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 appears to lead in many aspects.

Arguably it has one of the highest set price points among the group; what you get out of it in terms of comfort of use and safety makes it worth it.

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat, Proof*
  • 3-in-1 harness booster helps protect your child, from toddler to youth
  • Grows with your child from forward-facing harness (22-65 pounds) to highback booster (40-100 pounds) to backless booster (40-100 pounds) to continue to meet industry standards, we have increased the...
  • No-rethread simply safe adjust harness system allows the headrest and harness to adjust together in one motion.Do not use bleach
  • Lightweight, portable seat is ideal for busy, active parents
  • One-hand, 8-position adjustable headrest grows with your child
Avatar of Kathy Warner

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

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