Upgrading to the booster seat.
Making the jump from the toddler seat to the booster seat is on the minds of many of my mom friends these days. With so many different seats available out there, and all sorts of new thoughts on car seat safety it can get very confusing. With my oldest getting ready to turn 4 I've been asking around to see what all my friends are using, and surfing the web to find out what truly is the safest option. Ultimately what I've found is that the safest option is to put them in a car seat with a five-point harness for as long as possible.
The Britax Frontier, retails for $279.99 at BabiesRUs, is one of my favorites so far. It has a weight capacity of up to 80 pounds using the five-point harness, and then you can still use it as a belted booster up to 100 pounds, and it has the latch system. My problem with a lot of the booster seats out there right now is that they don't latch into the seat. That means that the only thing preventing the seat from slipping out from under my child in a high-impact crash is actually my child. It may seem a little bit over the top for some of you, but the more articles I read about high impact crashes, and car seats, the more I think about this stuff.
Another I've found is the SafeGuard Go Hybrid Booster that retails for $199.99 at BabyCenter.com. This has a weight capacity of up to 60 pounds with 5-point harness and 31-52" tall, and then you can use as a belted booster for up to 100 pounds as well.
I did find one booster seat (with no back) that does have the safety latch system made by a company CLEK on BabyCenter.com, and it retails for $89.99 if your child is ready for the backless booster. They are a Winner of the iParenting Media Award 2007, and looks like a great option when they're at the point where they don't need the back.
Ultimately I suggest you do as much research as you can before going out and purchasing this next phase car seat for your family. It really is a big decision, and should not be taken lightly. There are many resources out there to help you make your decisions.
Here are a few helpful places I've found in my web surfing:
American Academy of Pediatrics
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Keep Kids Healthy
You can also visit the manufacturers web site directly of the car seats you're comparing and looking at. I found a lot of great information on their as well.