As C is getting close to being too big for the bucket, it's time to transition him into a traditional rear-facing car seat. The seat that H currently uses is for both front and rear facing and had been our 'back-up' seat in J's truck in Oregon, so has only been used as the primary seat for one year. H is getting too tall for it, and very close to the weight limit for the harness, so it was a natural progression to hunt for a new seat for H, while giving his to C. There are still over 3 years left before the 'expiration date' so I knew it was fine to use this as my game plan.
I was fairly nervous about the prospect of H being in a booster with just the seat belt, as he still seems so young to me, but we couldn't afford the Britax, which has a much higher weight limit than our current Graco car seat. Luckily, I was talking about the dilemma with one of my friends and she told me about the Graco 3-in-1 of which she had just purchased two for her girls. The 3-in-1 has a 65 pound weight limit for the 5-point harness, then transitions to a seat-belt booster, and finally to a backless booster for up to 100 pounds.
Had I not found this car seat, however, I would still have felt more confident about having H in a backed booster given the new product I was sent by MomCentral called SeatSnug. SeatSnug is manufactured by Lap Belt Cinch, Inc., and is both ingenious and very easy to use and install. They developed the product as one of the failings of seat belts is that they "represent a compromise of safety and comfort" in that they allow slack to develop in the lap belt portion which is acknowledged by the auto industry as a major contributor to injuries and deaths in car accidents.
Although H won't be using the seat belt in his booster for awhile, I installed it in our car regardless because I occasionally take friends' kids that do, and the seat belt can be used by an adult or older child with SeatSnug still installed by using the on/off switch.
I was impressed that they provided not only clear and concise directions for installations with lots of pictures, but also an online video to make sure that it's used properly. The Safe'n Snug guarantee also allows for, among other return/exchange reasons, a free replacement of the product should it be installed and in use during an accident as, like car seats, they should not be used after involvement in an accident.
SeatSnug is available on amazon.com for $34.95. Who knew peace of mind could come at such a small price?