Best Booster Seats 2018 Rated and Reviewed: Ultimate Guide
Booster seats come in three types; combination seats, high back car seats, and backless boosters.
Your child will usually need a different type of booster seat depending on their age or weight.
If the child is old enough not to sleep or slump over when riding in the car, then a booster seat is a very good option to consider.
Boosters are just transition seats that the child will use before they move to using seat belts and after they move from front facing and rear facing car seats.
"The main function the child booster seat is to lift the child up so that they can be at the height required to fit into the vehicle's seat belts"
High Back Booster Seat Age
There are two types of car seats, the backless and the highback booster car seat.
As the name suggest the high back booster car seat is a type of seat with a back and the backless is a car seat with no back.
With a high back seat you have a guide to thread the vehicle's shoulder belts to the car seat to ensure a snug fit for the growing child.
hence the question, how long does a child need a booster seat?
Child booster seats are used by a child between the ages of 4 and 11.
A child can sit in a harnessed booster seat when they are about 4 years old and they weigh in at about 40 pounds and have exceeded the weight and height limits of their convertible car seats.
Why High Back Booster Seats
- High-back booster seats offer more protection for the trunk of the child's body and side protection for the child's head in the instance of a collision
- Given that they come with a headrest, they will offer a more comfortable ride for your child especially for those long journeys
- Most top rated high back seats come with a detachable back support which means you can detach the back when the child is older to make them more portable.
Best Rated High Back Booster Seats
Evenflo Big Kid High Back
Cosco High Back
What makes the Best High Back Booster Seats
- High weight and height limits
- Easy to install and comes with a manual
- Smooth machine washable fabric
- Easy to use and accessible harness and base adjustment
- Adjustable height
- High safety ratings
- Top safety ratings with adjustable headrest and back
Best High Back Booster Seat Reviews 2018
The Graco Affix youth booster Affix with LATCH system is the best selling booster car seat on the market offering dependability, practicality, intuitive and easy to use design which has been a hallmark of the Graco brand of car seats for well over half a century
The Graco seat is the best for the independent child that want to do things themselves as it's easy and intuitive design makes it easy for them to buckle themselves in. It comes with LATCH system that makes it stable when the child is climbing in and the unique front adjustment makes for a secure installation
The Graco high back booster car seat also boasts some of the highest crash test ratings of any high backed seat in addition to having all manner of safety and convenience features for your child.
The Cosco high back booster car seat 2-in-1 is a car seat made by Cosco, a juvenile products that asserts that its mission is to make products for smarter living so that parents can have fun with their kids
In keeping up with this statement the Cosco is an excellent child safety seat which will last for a long time. It takes the child from a forward facing harnessed car seat that is used in forward facing booster mode with a five point harness before it transitions into a belt positioning backless booster
Committed to the well-being, safety and development of children the Evenflo high back booster seat is an excellent child safety seat that has been a favorite of parents for many years, receiving thousands of positive reviews
The Evenflo high back is one of the safest booster car seats out there that has met and exceeded federal crash safety standards. In this regard it provides your child with head and side impact support and protection so that you can rest easy.
Moreover, it has an adjustable back in the high back mode so that you can extend the height of the seat along with the growing child for better comfort and fit.
It is a 2 in 1 booster is a lightweight and practical car seat that easily converts to a backless belt positioning booster seat when your kid is old enough. This means that you do not have to buy a new car seat.
The Britax Pioneer Combination is the best Harness Booster seat made by Britax, a company that has made its name making some of the most innovative yet practical designs of car seats for children of all ages.
The Britax is a smartly designed car seat that your child will use as a harness car seat from when they are two years old or 25 pounds up to 70 pounds. The Britax can then transition into the traditional belt positioning booster seat between 40-70 pounds
The Pioneer Combination Seat comes with the proprietary safe cell protection system that offers optimum side impact protection while still offering utmost comfort for the child.
Made for safety and ease of use the Britax Pioneer is the easiest car seats to use with easy to access and use anchors and lock belt systems
The Chicco Kidfit 2-in-1 high back booster seat is an excellent choice of car seat made by the Chicco brand that makes the best in practical yet highly innovative baby products of which the Kidfit is among its best
The Chicco Kidfit 2 in 1 is the best belt positioning booster that works best for toddlers transitioning from from the convertible car seat. The car seat comes with most of the modern comforts and conveniences for the child including cup holders and backrests for the growing child.
The Chicco kidfit booster is also a safe and comfortable car seat with several adjustments positions including removable backrest to convert it into a booster when the child is old enough. It also comes with all manner of conveniences for both you and your child
How to Install Booster Seat with Back
Backless Booster Seats
Backless booster seats are more or less specialized cushions that lift your child off the seat of the car allowing for a better seat belt fit.
Most boosters will have a seat belt path that will guide you on how to install them on the vehicle car seat.
"20% of booster seats are misused. Most common misuse was improper lap belt position. The lap belt should be placed across the hips and thighs of a child, but in 9%–12% of booster seats, it was placed across the stomach or ribs of the child". nhtsa
It is always advisable to read the manufacturer instructions and your vehicle owners manual when installing your backless booster seat to ensure the safety of your child.
Nonetheless, most backless boosters will either have you install the seat belt through either rings or metal tubes on either side of the seat.
Why Backless Seats
Parents and kids alike love the backless booster car seat because of the following reasons:
- They are compact, lightweight and typically cost less than a high back or the best combination car seat
- They not only save you money but also space given that they are small and hence are not suitable for small cars or big families or just anyone that needs a lot of space.
- Older children prefer them given that they are not so babyish as compared to other car seats.
- Since they ate lightweight and compact they are among some of the best convertible car seats for small cars in 2018.
Best Rated Backless Booster Seats
Graco Backless TurboBooster
Evenflo AMP Select
Cosco Topside Booster
Important Car Booster Seat Rules
When can a Child Use a Booster Seat
- A child that is too small for the vehicle belt system
- A child that when sitting on the vehicle seat cannot bend their knees when their back is on the back of the vehicle seat.
- A child that is under 4'9" and weighs between 40-80 pounds, is aged between 4 and 8 and is at the least 35 inches in height.
- A child that is over the height limitations of your forward facing convertible car seat or no longer fits in its harness.
Your car seat needs to be as high as the child's ears for it to be safe to use a backless booster seat. The reason for this is that the bottom of the skull is usually at the same height as the top of the ears. As such, if the seat is too low the child could suffer from whiplash in case of a crash. If the seat is too low you should use a high back booster which will provide protection from whiplash thus preventing serious injury to the child in the instance of a crash.
Best Backless Booster Seat Reviews 2018
The Graco booster car seat is the very best and is in fact a very popular budget car seat that is a toned down version of the Graco Affix Youth booster car seat and comes with all the safety features and conveniences of that top car seat
If you are one for utmost comfort and safety of your child there is none better than the Graco Turbobooster youth booster. The safety seat is designed for children between the ages of 4 and 10 weighing in at between 40-100 pounds up to 57 inches in height
Made for late toddler hood to just about teen-hood, I have found this baby booster car seat to be very convenient as the child can easily get in and out the car seat without much trouble. The children also enjoy the hideaway cup holders, and colorful designs that this seat comes in
The Evenflo Amp is a safe booster car seat made by the Evenflo company, a manufacturer given to partnering with parents to make some of the most innovative, practical and safe products that will make the lives of both parents and children easier.
It is the best car seat for parents who intend to use it in conjunction with other large car seats as at only 6 pounds and only 16 inches wide it does not take much space. This this makes it excellent if you wish to use the booster in a small car
The evenflo amp car seat is a top rated booster seat that has been tested according to federal crash safety standards and hence you can be confident that your child is perfectly safe riding this seat.
It also comes at a great price as compared to the other car seats with similar features. It is a durable, comfortable and super cool safety seat that will have your child ride in safety and style
The cosco booster seat is a comfortable backless booster with plush padding that your child will enjoy riding in. While it provides soft padding it will boost your child so that they can properly fit in their child safety seats
It is a slim seat that means you can install up to three of them in the backseat if you have a large family. Its unique design and lightweight nature means that you do not have to worry about the seat leaving an ugly imprint on your vehicle's backseat.
For the most part many backless booster seats are made for children older than four years and this tends to produce car seats that are on the whole uncomfortable with very basic padding or any convenience for the child or the parent
This is where the Chicco Gofit shines as it is built with convenience and comfort of both the child and the parent in mind. The portable car booster seat comes with great and convenient features such as machine washable pad an, easy to carry handle, removable space holder cup holders to make for the easiest backless boosters.
The Clek Ozzi is the best backless booster if you are looking for something with LATCH which provides not only ease of installation but also makes for a safer installation. Made by one of the best automotive parts supplier, you can never go wrong with the Ozzi
The Clek Ozzi big kid is engineered and is the best backless booster with Latch to ensure that your child is always safe when riding in this beauty of a car seat. This is no ordinary LATCH as it is rigid and integrated into the seat making for a snug, secure and comfortable seat for the child
You may use the Clek from when the child has a height of between 40-57 inches 40-120 pounds or from a toddler that is 4 years and over. You can also purchase a range of accessories that include a cleaning kit, travel bag, and drinking cup
Use and Installation of a Backless Booster Car Seat
How to Install Booster Car Seat with No Back
Backless Booster Seat Age
You should never be in a rush to move a child to a booster car seat before they have attained the age, weight and height requirements of a booster. There are backless booster seat laws and regulations you need to follow to keep your child safe
You need to keep in mind that every time you move a child to a different type of car seat, the level of protection reduces. As such, you need to have the child in the given car seat stage for as long as you can to ensure that they are safe.
Your kid will be ready to use a booster seat when they weigh approximately 40 to 65 pounds which means they would have outgrown the height or weight limit of their forward facing harnesses.
Your car seat owner's manual will typically have instructions on the weight and height limits of your given car seat, and you should keep the kid in their harnessed seat for as long as the manual recommends.
Given that most car seat safety belts are made for the average 165 pound adult, a child will typically need to use belt positioning seats until they are between 8 and 12 years old or at least 4'9" in height to prevent any injury in the instance of a crash.
N.B: Whle it may be tempting to place the booster seat in the front seat, it is always advisable to keep the child in the backseat at least until age 12. A child old enough to ride in a backless seat seems mature enough, but trust me, it is never safe for them to ride in the front seat. let them or make them ride in the backseat until they are 12 years old to ensure their safety.
FAQs and Installation Tips
What are booster seat regulations/guidelines?
All children that have exceeded the heights and weights of their rear facing car seats need to ride in a belt positioning child seat until the vehicle seat belt fits. This will usually happen when the child is about 4 feet 9 inches tall or when they are between 8 years and 12 years old. The child should always ride in a belt positioning booster if they are younger than 13.
When do i stop using a booster seat?
Your child will typically not need to use a child booster seat once they are old enough to use the vehicle safety belts. The minimum age for this is usually about the age of 12. You will know your child is good to use the vehicle safety belts when they can strap in the vehicle seat belts and the lap belt does not lie on their belly but goes on their laps meaning they are tall enough to use the vehicle seat belt.
Where do I buy?
You can buy at many big box retailers in your city. However, the best and widest selection of booster seats will typically be found on online sellers such as Amazon or Walmart. Buying online makes it easier to compare the different types and also check out their reviews thus allowing you to make a better buying decision.
What booster seat should i buy?
The type you will require depends on the age of your child. A child from the age of four can use a forward facing booster seat with harness and back and switch to high back seat with seat belts from about age 8. From age 8 they can use backless or high back booster seats depending on fit (height and weight requirements).