Car seat belts are designed to fit adult bodies, not children’s bodies. With the amount of time kids spend in cars these days, it’s important to guarantee their safety by buying the correct booster seat. If you’re not sure how to go about choosing the top product, read our reviews on the best booster seats on the market.
Best Booster Seat
The Britax Pioneer is the top safest seat out there. Your child will be snuggly sheltered by a deep protective shell that not only absorbs the force of a crash, but also shields him or her from debris. The headrest keeps the child’s neck and head secure by absorbing energy, as well, and the impact absorbing base, harness and tether keep your precious one safe should an accident occur. The steel frame itself is designed to stabilize during an impact.
The seat grows with your kid, from toddlerhood to childhood. Use it in harness mode when your child is 2 years old and from 25 to 70 pounds, then switch to booster mode when he or she reaches 40 to 110 pounds. The 8-position harness is quick to adjust and the 2-position buckle makes it easy to move the harness up and the buckle out so that it fits securely.
The harness tucks away within the seat when you no longer need it, transitioning seamlessly into a high-backed booster. If your little one gets sleepy and wants to get more comfortable, you can adjust the recline from the front seat. And if he or she gets hungry or fussy, cup holders and storage space are integrated to provide a spot for drinks, snacks or toys.
What we like: Super easy to get the buckle off one-handed.
Top 5 Booster Seat Comparison
The chart below compares the top 5 booster seats by features.
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Booster Seat Reviews
Need to shop around some more before you choose? The reviews below should provide a good scope of some of the favorites on the market.
Much like the Pioneer, this Britax seat has safe cell impact protection integrated into almost all of its components, such as the side impact protection and impact-absorbing base that work in unison to keep the kid secure. The seat and headrest are both shock absorbing and made of a deep, foam-lined shell that also shields the child from debris. With the Isoflextm latch connection system, you are two clicks and a pull away from securing the booster seat easily to your car, which prevents it from flying even when not in use.
What we like: So sturdy and comfortable, your child will feel like a big girl or boy and you’ll feel safe in their security.
Easy to install one-handed, the LATCH system also makes sure that the connection between booster seat and car is secure. The front adjustment is simple and quick to tighten the booster to the seat of the car. The high back booster is perfect for children 30 to 100 pounds. Once the kid has outgrown that and wants to feel more grown up, simply remove the back for a booster that supports children 40 to 100 pounds, complete with total energy absorbing foam in the case of an impact.
What we like: ‘Big kids’ can buckle themselves in easily!
Using Right Fit belt path technology, the Evenflo Maestro assures a correct and snug fit, even as they grow from 22 pounds to 110 pounds, going from harness use to simply a booster. The 5-point harness converts to a booster secured in by use of the seat belt as your child grows. The headrest design allows the car’s seat belt to auto-adjust to your child’s height when you make the switch, and there are two crotch buckle positions for added comfort.
What we like: The seat is equipped for both LATCH and tether systems.
Graco Affix Backless
As your kid grows, he or she will want to feel like more of a “big kid.” This backless booster is perfect to make them feel like they’re growing up while still providing the safety of a booster seat. The front adjust with LATCH system allows you to use one hand to secure the booster to the car seat and easily and quickly tighten the booster. Use it for children 40 to 100 pounds.
What we like: Seatbelt guide strap easily adjusts to most comfortable position for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can’t we just buckle them into the normal seat belt once they’ve outgrown their baby seat? Just because your child has outgrown their baby car seat, doesn’t mean that they are ready for just a seat belt. Seat belts are designed to fit adult bodies and can injure your child in the event of a crash if it is positioned incorrectly. Booster seats help to literally boost your child up so that the seatbelt is correctly positioned across the child’s lap and shoulder.
What is the recommended minimum age/weight for using a booster? While many boosters offer a minimum weight of around 30 pounds, it is best to wait until your child reaches 40 pounds or 4 years of age, or until he or she has outgrown their harnessed seat.
What kinds of boosters are there?
- High back- These usually include a harness and support your child’s head, neck, torso and rear. If your car seat has a low back, these are the models for you because they provide head and neck support during rear collisions.
- Backless- With a backless seat, your child sits higher in her own seat, allowing you to buckle him or her in like a ‘big kid.’ These are good if your car seats are high enough and contoured to support the child’s head and neck. They also let the child sit back farther in the seat.
Where is the safest place for the seat? The middle rear seat of your vehicle is the safest for the booster because your child will be most protected from a side impact crash. However, many middle seats only have a lap harness, not a shoulder one as well. If this is the case with your car, putting the seat on the right side will give you a better view of your child when you drive.
How to Select the Best Booster Seat
Choose the seat that best fits your child and your car. Even if it meets federal safety standards, which all on the market do, installing it incorrectly or a bad fit are just as likely to hinder your child.
Children under 40 pounds would benefit from combination seats that come with a removable 5-point harness, restraining your child at the hips and shoulders so that the force of a car crash will be evenly distributed to the strongest parts of the body. Harnesses should be used as long as possible, so look for a seat that has multiple harness and buckle positions that can grow with your child. Then when your child is big enough, just remove the harness and make use of the booster alone.
If you’ve got a chubby or larger child, look for a seat with an adjustable base and high shoulder strap slots so that they remain comfortable and not so eager to get out of the seat.Positioning guides for your car’s shoulder belt with help put the belt in the right place. Seats that come with multiple clips at different heights are convenient for growing children.
We hope that these reviews of the best booster seats and subsequent researched information are enough to make you feel confident to take the next step and buy the right product for you and your family.