Looking for the best car seat that you can use for your six-year-old? You came to the right page! But first, let us discuss what a booster is. A booster is a seat that your child sits on and uses your vehicle’s seat belt as its restraint. The booster will correctly position your vehicle’s seat belt on your child because car manufacturers designed seat belts for adults. Since a six-year-old kid is typically 45 inches tall and weighs 45 pounds, you need to use a seat that can provide your child with a safe and good belt fit.
Using a booster seat helps the seat belt fit properly on your child’s body including their strong bones such as their collar bones, sternum, and hip bones. For children ages 5 and lower, they usually start with using a 5-point harness seat which does not allow them that much freedom to move. When kids can sit correctly during most of the time in the car ride (ages 5 and up), you can decide to use a booster seat.
You can also wait for your child to outgrow or reach the maximum height and weight limit of the 5-point harness seat before moving to use a booster seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends for parents to continue using the forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until their kid reaches the maximum height and weight limit of the seat’s manufacturer.
For this review which is the best car seat for 6-year-old, we will focus on the forward-facing car seats and booster seats because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends these for this age group.
Best Car Seat for 6-Year-Old Comparison Table
|Minimum Weight Recommended||Expiration||Price|
|Britax Frontier ClickTight||21 x 19 x 28||40 lbs||9 years|
|Evenflo SafeMax||20 x 19.5 x 27.8||22 lbs||10 years|
|Diono Monterey XT Booster||16 x 20 x 26||40 lbs||6 years|
|Aidia Explorer||17.2 x 10 x 33||30 lbs||6 years|
|Baby Trend Yumi||24 x 20.47 x 27.95||30 lbs||9 years|
|Chicco GoFit||15 x 17 x 5||40 lbs||8 years|
|BubbleBum||11.8 x 5.9 x 3.9||40 lbs||11 years|
Best Car Seat for 6-Year-Old old Reviews
Britax Frontier ClickTight – Best Easy to Install Car Seat
The first car seat in our review is the Britax Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster. From the name itself, you can use this car seat in two modes: as a harness and as a booster.
You can use Britax Frontier as a harness for your child until he/reaches 90 pounds (minimum 25 lbs) and transition it into a booster seat until your child reaches the 120-pound limit (minimum 40 lbs.)
ClickTight Installation System
We know that it is a struggle to install a car seat correctly especially if you’re on your own and in a hurry. For a hassle-free installation, Britax Frontier features a system called ClickTight which we think is the simplest installation out there.
You can make use of the ClickTight Installation System by opening the ClickTight panel. You can access this panel by pinching the two clamps inside the cover of the seat. Once you have opened the ClickTight panel, use the green arrows outside the seat as guides for threading the Britax Frontier on your car’s belt path. This is where Britax Frontier’s installation gets simpler; after you have fastened your car’s seat belt onto the Britax Frontier, you just have to close the ClickTight compartment, and voila, you have finished the installation. No additional tweaks are necessary!
Easy Harness-2-Booster Switch
A lot of car seats in the market offers 2-in-1 options where you can transition your harness into a booster seat. But most of the time, this transition is complicated and requires you to detach harness straps or the car seat itself. This is why we appreciate that the Britax Frontier is not only easy to install but switching to modes is also a breeze.
When you’re going to use the model as a booster seat, you don’t have to detach its harness completely. This means you also don’t have to go over the time-consuming rethreading that models with detachable harness require. Remember the Frontier’s ClickTight compartment? The same compartment has the seat’s harness holders that hold the harness after you slide them off on each side.
Unlike with most transition models, the Britax Frontier’s lap buckle folds down. Your child will still feel comfortable and not contact the bump of the buckle because the bottom cover of the seat fastens over the lap buckle. You can also tuck the straps left from the harness mode under the sides of the seat.
Suitable for Tall Kids
Got tall kids? Britax Frontier is capable of 9 harness positions and its tallest reaches up to 20.5 inches. We think that having different harness positions is incredibly useful mainly if you use the car seat for more than one child. Britax Frontier also kept its trend of easy installment with its ease of harness height adjustment.
When it comes to adjusting the harness height, just like with the mode adjustment, Britax does not require you to rethread its harness. And it does not need you to uninstall it from the car too! You can quickly adjust the harness height on the top of restraint; it’s that simple.
As we have mentioned earlier, the Frontier’s lap buckle is easy to hide when switching to booster mode. But Frontier also designed its lap buckle positions to be easily switchable as well. Frontier’s lap buckle position is available in two modes and to switch; you just slide the buckle to the slot of your desired buckle position.
The Britax Frontier also uses EZBuckle. This feature flips the lap buckle forward when your child is not using it. The EZBuckle feature is a nice addition because this means you don’t have dig through the seat to find the lap buckle on every use.
For a typical six-year-old, the Britax Frontier booster does not fail in positioning the car’s seat belt correctly on the child’s shoulder and lap. You can read about what we meant by proper seat belt positions in our buyer’s guide.
So far, we like everything about this car seat other than it is quite expensive and heavy to carry around.
Evenflo SafeMax – Best 3-in-1 Car Seat for a 6-Year-Old
The next car seat in our review is the Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat. Similar to the previous car seat we’ve reviewed, you can use Evenflo as a harness and transition it into a booster. However, you can set its booster mode into a highback booster and a no-back booster.
Safety wise you will feel at ease knowing that the Evenflo SafeMax is rollover tested and is twice the Federal Crash Test Standard. It also uses the E3 Side Impact Protection. The E3 stands for three layers of engineered foam that according to Evenflo, reduces impact forces up to 50%.
Attaching the Evenflo Safemax to your car is easy because you can use its SureSafe latch guides as your pattern for fitting your car’s belt. The latch systems themselves feel premium, and you also don’t have to rethread the harness. But compared to our earlier seats, you have to set the Evenflo Safemax in the rear-facing belt path first because it is packaged in the forward-facing belt path.
Compared to the seat from Britax, switching from harness to booster mode takes a bit of labor with the Evenflo. This includes making sure that the harness pads are tucked well inside their slots or else your kid can feel them while sitting on the booster. The seat pad also has to be removed when switching to the booster mode which can be time-consuming.
The Evenflo SafeMax succeeds in placing the shoulder and lap portion of the car’s seat belt correctly on a 6-year old. Although because the seat is quite large, your child might take a bit longer to buckle himself or herself.
Lastly, we appreciate that this model feels incredibly plush and comfortable. Speaking of comfort, this car seat also uses Evenflo’s Outlast Technology that helps prevent your child from fretting out of weather irritability. This is because Outlast technology helps the car seat cover to stay warm in winter but feels cool during the hot season.
The Evenflo Safemax also has two cup holders with two removable dishwasher-safe liners.
Diono Monterey XT Booster – Best Car Seat for Big 6-Year-Olds
If you have a kid who grows fast and will need a car seat that can fit his/her proportions, the Diono Monterey XT Booster is the car seat for his/her. This 2-in-1 car seat’s secret is that it is capable of up to 11 headrest positions. Compared to other models, Diono Monterey also gives you the freedom to adjust its width via the back dial. The car seat can fit a kid with a shoulder width of 14.5 inches!
Adjustable Headrest and Side Wings
Let’s immediately talk about the headrest. Adjusting it is pretty straightforward and does not need extra labor to do so. You just grip the headrest handle and pull upwards (or downwards) until you reach your preferred position. The highest you can get is about 22 inches while the lowest is at 15.5 inches.
Like we mentioned earlier, you can adjust the width of the car seat and this is because Diono Monterey allows you to control its side wings and set it to your desired width. It is also a simple process which you can do by twisting the dial at the back of the seat. The narrowest width that you can get is about 12.5 inches, and you can get up to 14.5 inches max.
For side impact protection, the headrest and the aluminum-reinforced side wings of this seat are lined with energy-absorbing EPS foam. What is EPS? EPS stands for expanded polystyrene that aids in minimizing abuse during impact.
Installing the Diono Monterey is also similar to our previous car seats; use the belt guides of the car seat as the directions for your vehicle’s seat belt. At the same time, you can make use of its front adjusters and latch connectors for a safer fit. There is also enough space for the seat belt to retract freely once your kid unbuckles it and it is not overly wide thus preventing the seat belt from twisting on its own.
You can also find two retractable cup and snack trays folded inside the base of the seat if your child needs extra compartments. However, take note that with both the cup holders retracted, the seat measures at 23 inches wide compared from 17 inches wide without the cup holders. The car seat’s width can be an issue, especially for tight-fitting vehicles. Its portability somehow contradicts this characteristic of Diono Monterey for travel and storage because the seat can be folded flat.
Some things to remember with the Diono Monterey is that its highback and backless modes both require your vehicle’s headrest support. When it is in booster mode, it also has to be flush against the back of your vehicle’s seat. If you notice that your vehicle’s head restraint is pushing the booster forward, the Diono Monterey is not a compatible size for your vehicle.
Some useful features about the Diono Monterey XT are its lower anchor connectors. They might look weird because the manufacturer designed them to be in the upside-down direction, but regardless, they are useful in securing the booster onto your vehicle especially when not in use. Connectors like these are excellent features to have to prevent the seat from shooting around inside the vehicle. They can also stabilize the booster when your child is climbing in and out of it.
Aidia Explorer – Best Narrow and Lightweight Car Seat for 6-Year-Old
Looking for a narrow and lightweight car seat? The Aidia Explorer 2-in-1 Safety Booster Car Seat is the “aidial” car seat for you. The Aidia Explorer is narrow enough (17.2 x 10 x 33 inches) for tight-fitting vehicles and is a lightweight seat for traveling weighing only 8 pounds. The secret of it being lightweight is because Aidia had the seat blow molded.
Easy Mode Switching
The Aidia Explorer can be used either as a highback or as a backless booster. The switching of these modes is as easy as hooking (or unhooking) the highback portion of the seat to the backless portion.
If you’re wondering about adjusting Aidia’s headrest, you can find its adjuster at its back although it might seem tricky to find as it blends well with the back of the seat. Adjusting the headrest, on the other hand, does not require too much effort and you can confidently do it yourself.
For extra accessories, the Aidia Explorer comes with a removable cup holder which you can put at either slot located on the side of the seat. The seat will be 21 inches wide when the cup holder is attached compared to 18 inches without it which in our opinion is still relatively narrow for most vehicles.
Compared to the Diono Monterey, the Aidia Explorer does not have lower anchors. It would have been a nice feature because lower anchors prevent the booster seat from shooting out of your car seat when not in use.
The booster seat itself gives the seatbelt a fantastic belt fit for a six-year old’s lap and shoulder. It also helps that the belt guide has the right amount of space and not as wide that can cause the belt to retract. For a more personalized fit with the shoulder part of the belt, Aidia Explorer also has a handy shoulder belt guide stored on its underside with velcro. We think that being attached to the velcro is a nice detail so users can avoid misplacing the shoulder belt guide especially when you move the booster seat from vehicle to vehicle constantly.
A drawback we have for this booster is when it is in backless booster mode, the area where the highback portion connects to the backless portion can be felt if the child sits all the way back.
If you’re looking to bring a car seat for your six-year-old during your travels, or if you have a tightly spaced vehicle, the Aidia Explorer is the best choice. When it comes to safety, this car seat is also side impact-tested and FMVSS 213 approved.
Baby Trend Yumi – Best Folding High Back Car Seat for 6-Year-Old
You will be impressed by how compact the Baby Trend Yumi 2-in-1 Folding Booster Seat gets when you fold it but do not be fooled by its folding ability. Even if it is a folding car seat, the Baby Trend Yumi managed to still have two cup holders and armrests. Its highback mode can also get up to as high as 20 inches which is pretty impressive considering the Baby Trend Yumi 2-in-1 can fold into around 12 x 20 x 24 inches.
The Baby Trend Yumi is incredibly simple to assemble; just unfold and attach it to your vehicle’s seat belt. However, it does not have lower anchors which are incredibly useful features safety wise as it prevents the seat from shooting around inside the vehicle. We also notice that you can put the shoulder belt under the armrest or in the guide for the lap belt if these areas are the better fit for your child. But note that only the shoulder belt can go to different guides and the lap belt has to go through the designated lap belt guide.
Another unique feature the Baby Trend Yumi has is that you can also adjust its 3-position shoulder belt guide sidewards and not just in the usual vertical direction. Because you can fix it from side to side, you can make a better and more customized fit for your child. Speaking of a more tailored fit, you can take advantage of Baby Trend Yumi’s 8-position headrest as well. This 8-position headrest, according to Baby Trend, is made of energy-absorbing material. It also has a deep-contour design which is perfect for children who sleep a lot in car rides.
It is also worth mentioning that this car seat is easy to clean because Baby Trend Yumi uses easily removable seat pads called EZ Off-N-Wash. And to end our review for this model, we have to mention that the buckle stalk can be too short or too far for your kid to buckle himself/herself; although this difficulty would be relative on your vehicle.
Chicco GoFit – Best Plush Backless Car Seat for 6-Year-Old
The last two products that we will review are backless booster car seats. If you would like to know more about the different types of booster car seats, you can read our buyer’s guide below.
Alright, back to the car seat review. Has your kid ever requested to use a backless booster seat? If he/she is matured enough for a backless booster seat, we recommend starting him/her with the Chicco GoFit.
Chicco GoFit helps your vehicle’s seat belt fit properly on your child using its belt guides and a clip for the shoulder belt. We also notice that this booster seat has an indentation at its back which is a nice design feature so that kids can easily reach the buckle stalks and buckle themselves in.
Are backless boosters possible to have armrests and cup holders? The answer is yes! The Chicco GoFit has pop-out armrests and cup holders that you can fold inwards when not in use, or if you’re very keen on saving space, you can remove them entirely. All the covers of this backless booster are also easy to remove and place in the washing machine.
The only drawback we have with the Chicco GoFit is it does not have an anchor/latch system so when it is not in use; projectile is possible inside the car.
BubbleBum – Best Inflatable Backless Car Seat for 6-Year-Old
Portability is not an issue with the BubbleBum Inflatable Backless Booster Car Seat. You can inflate this booster by mouth in 20 seconds or deflate it to store in the glove box compartment or even in a tote bag.
Speaking of bag, this inflatable backless booster also comes in a bag. You won’t even feel an added weight because the BubbleBum only weighs 1.1 pounds. It is also only 13 inches wide, meaning you can use it on three-across tight-fit vehicles.
The BubbleBum has a shoulder belt positioning clip that helps make a proper and safe fit for your child. We think that this backless booster car seat is an excellent option if your kid can start using a backless booster and wants to move from the highback booster. The maximum height limit for this booster is 57 inches, and the maximum weight limit is 100 pounds.
The BubbleBum has a triangular belt guide that is well-spaced for a kid to thread the belt in and buckle himself/herself quickly. The belt guide is also close to the booster that prevents it from flopping when your child is buckling himself/herself.
Best Bet Rated
For 8 years in a row, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the BubbleBum “Best Bet.” Being rated “Best Bet” means this booster has a great shoulder, and lap belt fit for 4 to 8-year old kids in almost any type of vehicle. This inflatable backless booster car seat has also met the safety requirements of the Federal Motor Safety Standard for the USA.
There are different kinds of car seat that you can use for your 6-year-old. As you have seen in our reviews, there are even convertibles and 2-in-1 car seats.
We will discuss below the different types of forward-facing car seats, and booster seats as these are the car seats that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends for six-year-olds.
You will also find the factors to consider when choosing a car seat for a 6-year-old in this buyer’s guide.
Types of Forward-Facing Car Seat
A forward-facing car seat is a seat that uses a 3-point or 5-point harness to restrain your child’s movement. This car seat gives your child lesser freedom of action compared to a booster seat but is the safer option for younger kids especially during a crash.
Sometimes, even if your kid reaches 40 pounds in weight, they will still not be mature enough to use a booster seat. Not mature enough means that they can’t sit properly during the ride or do things like continually leaning over or picking up their dropped toys. In this case, you can use a 5-point harness instead, but make sure that it can accommodate a taller and heavier child. If you want to save some money, you can buy a seat that can transition from a harness seat to a booster seat.
A convertible seat is a seat that can transition from a rear-facing seat into a forward-facing seat.
A combination seat is a forward-facing car seat that can transition into a booster seat. An example of this is the Britax Frontier.
As the name implies, this car seat can transition from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat and also change to a booster seat.
Types of Booster Seats
For kids that are ages 4 to 7 years old, you can keep them in a forward-facing car seat until they reach the seat’s height and weight limit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also recommends this. Once they have outgrown these limits and you think they are mature enough for booster seats, you can start them with booster seats.
Boosters are so called because they “boost” the child’s body to adapt to the vehicle’s seat belt. This type of seat is essential for car safety because it properly places the seat belt on a child’s body. The reason for the need of booster is because car manufacturers design seat belts for adults. Proper seat belt placement is crucial not just for comfort but also for safety during a crash.
Booster Seat with High Back
The purpose of a highback booster seat is to adjust your child’s height so that the vehicle’s seat belt fits his/her accordingly.
Because it has a high back, this booster type also provides head and neck support for your child.
Backless Booster Seat
The backless booster seat also boosts your child’s height, but the difference it has with the highback booster seat is that it does not provide additional head and neck support. However, this lack of rear portion makes the backless booster an ideal option if you travel with your child where carrying a highback booster constantly isn’t just ideal.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Car Seat for 6-Year-Old
CDC recommends that for children ages 4 to 8 years old (with height up to 4 ft 9 inches tall), you should use a booster seat and place it at the back seat. The reason for putting kids at the back seat is that the airbags in the front seat can hurt or even kill young children.
What are the Factors or Features to Look for When Choosing a Car Seat for a Six-Year-Old?
Car Seat Quality
It is essential that the car seat you are buying has met or exceeded the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. Why is this important? This standard governs the performance and design criteria for child restraints systems such as the requirements for restraint crashworthiness, labeling and instructions, flammability, and buckle and release pressure of the seat.
A properly installed car seat is also vital for the safety and comfort of your child. Therefore, you can check models that are not complicated to install and attaches to your car securely. If you want, you can use the rating system of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a basis to know whether the car seat you have in mind is easy to install.
We also recommend always to buy a new car seat as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The reason for this is to know the proper expiry date of the car seat and to prevent unforeseen damages that might occur in extended use.
Proper Belt Fitting
You must be wondering in our reviews what we meant when we say that a car seat has a proper belt fitting onto a child. What we mean by this is that the shoulder belt sits comfortably over the middle of your kid’s shoulder, and the lap belt must be flat across your kid’s upper thighs and NEVER on his/her abdomen. Improper placement of the seat belt such as the belt falling off your kid’s shoulder or resting on his/her neck will make your child uncomfortable and might influence him/her to move the belt on dangerous positions.
Height and Weight Requirements of the Seat
Most booster car seats have the minimum weight requirement of at least 40 pounds. But even if your kid reaches the height and weight requirements for a booster, it is still safer to continue using a harness seat especially if your child is still not mature enough (likes to slouch, lean over, or play with the seat belt) to transition into a booster seat.
It will be more ideal if you buy a car seat with higher height and weight requirements so that your child can use the seat longer.
Highback or Backless Booster
We recommend a highback booster more since it keeps the seat belt properly positioned on a child’s body especially during swerving or hard braking. The highback booster also helps the kid to sit correctly such as when they are sleep to avoid slumping.
A backless booster is a good option if you’re planning to travel with your kid or switch vehicles that bringing a large highback booster isn’t practical. However, there are 2-in-1 boosters in the market like the models we reviewed from Britax and Diono Monterey that can be used both as a highback and backless booster.
In conclusion, we are proud to say that every car seat we reviewed is rated “Best Bet” by the IIHS. Whether it is a highback, backless, or a combination booster car seat, being rated “Best Bet” means that the car seat gives the right shoulder and lap belt fit on 4 to 8-year olds in almost any vehicle from a car, minivan, or even an SUV.
All in all, our top pick is the Britax Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat. Though it is an expensive model, we think that the features you get with this car seat are worth the price. Its ClickTight installation system, easy switching from the harness to booster, high harness height for tall kids, EZBuckle feature, and easy to remove no-rethread harness will make the installation and usage easy and safe for you and your child. This car seat with a 9-year expiry also transitions from a harness to a booster which is an excellent option for a kid who might not be ready to use a booster car seat yet.
You can also check the models we reviewed that can be used either as a highback booster or as a backless booster.
We highly advise you to read our buyer’s guide to know more about the different car seats and factors to consider when choosing a car seat for your six-year-old. We also linked out to reliable sources that you can check to know about other information, standards, and guidelines to safely choose or use your car seat.
Always remember that you don’t have to rush in transitioning your child to a booster seat.
If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to leave them below.