The 10 Best Car Booster Seats
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in February of 2015. Ensure that the most precious cargo in your vehicle is securely strapped in and protected with one of these car booster seats. Ranked by safety ratings, age suitability, comfort, and ease of use, one of these should be perfect for your car, truck, or SUV, and your young one. We've included high-end models that will last generations, as well as fast, simple solutions for the family on the go. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 07, 2020:
Car booster seats are used to keep children safe when riding in vehicles, but they can only do so if you follow all the manufacturer's guidelines regarding the size and age of the child, as well as the recommended installation instructions. So, while we have done our due diligence to ensure every model on this list meets all government safety standards, and yes that even includes the Bubble Bum Inflatable, you must still check the specifications of any boosters you are considering to ensure they meet the needs of your child.
Many of the options we recommend have the ability to function as a traditional harnessed car seat as well as a booster, but the aptly named Britax Grow with You ClickTight offers the most versatility, able to be used with children as little as 25 pounds, and those as heavy as 120. That being said, its back is not removable, so if you want something that can function as a backless booster, you will be better off with the Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120, Clek Oobr High Back, and Evenflo Spectrum, or the highly-affordable Graco Affix Atomic. Just be aware that none of these are safe to use with children less than 40 pounds in weight.
After selecting a few options that meet the needs of your child based on size and weight, and the needs of your wallet, you may want to take additional features into consideration that can make a particular model more hassle-free, such as the removable and dishwasher safe cupholders on the Britax Midpoint, the pull-out snack tray on the Graco Affix Atomic, or the integrated harness storage on the Graco Atlas 65 2 in 1.
When it comes to traveling with a child, nothing is more convenient than the Bubble Bum Inflatable. It takes less than a minute to blow up, and when its not in use, it packs up compactly enough to fit in a backpack. And, though it may not look like it at first glance, it actually meets both U.S. and European safety standards.
Car Seats: Information for Families It is important to understand the various car seat options so that you know which kind to buy for your child at each stage of their development. Of course, buying the correct kind is simply the first step to ensuring your kid's safety when riding in a vehicle. Car Seats: Information for Families is packed with useful tips for using and installing car and booster seats correctly, and it also covers a lot of common questions parents have on various other car and booster seat-related topics. healthychildren.org
Traffic Safety: The Sobering Statistics
The risks associated with even a short drive are too great to overlook use of these devices.
In the year 2014, motor vehicle accidents saw a staggering 2.3 million individuals injured. That same year, there were 29,989 fatal car accidents in the United States. These crashes caused 32,675 deaths in total.
Then, there's the statistic that is even more shocking than the huge number of injuries and the tens of thousands of deaths: of all those many deaths, almost half of the victims (49 percent according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were not wearing seat belts. That one simple act, so intuitive for most motorists and passengers, could likely have saved more than 15,000 lives.
Safe, defensive driving means only operating a car when free of the influence of intoxicants, it means obeying all rules and regulations governing the roadways, and it means using one's common sense by signaling turns, checking blind spots, and generally maintaining heightened situational awareness.
And of course safe and proper driving involves wearing a seat belt — one would think this goes without saying, but the tragic statistics of annual motor vehicle fatalities say otherwise. Beyond seeking your own seat belt, it's also critical that a parent or caregiver always ensures that children traveling in the car with them are also properly secured.
Smaller children have no business being loose in a car, and they need more protection than that offered by a car's built-in seat belts. A child belongs in a car booster seat until he or she is approximately four feet, eight inches tall, which is often around the time he or she turns ten years old. The risks associated with even a short drive are too great to overlook use of these devices.
Fortunately, a child who is properly secured in his or her properly installed booster seat is often the safest occupant of a motor vehicle. A good booster seats provides everything from added protection against flying glass and debris to additional support for a child's head and neck.
Choosing The Best Booster Seat For Your Child
There are individual booster seats that can accommodate children weighing as little as 22 pounds all the way to a child who weighs 110 pounds. For the budget-conscious family that only wants to buy one booster seat, or needs multiple to accommodate various family vehicles, these models are a good idea. However, to ensure both maximum comfort and safety, it may also be better to consider a booster seat with a narrower age and size range.
Eventually, it will be time to consider switching to a buckle securing system, which is essentially like the adult's seatbelt harness paired with a booster seat.
Many booster seats use a five point harness system for children until they are approximately 65 pounds in weight. The five point system is similar to that used by professional race car drivers and even by fighter pilots: this is the most reliable way to secure a child in the car.
Even in the unfortunate event of a crash, the child is prevented from slipping out of the seat in any direction. This type of harness is adjustable to grow with the child, but only for so long. Eventually, it will be time to consider switching to a buckle securing system, which is essentially like the adult's seatbelt harness paired with a booster seat.
A booster seat on its own (and most units have the option to work with or without their backrests) has the simple function of elevating a child enough that a car's shoulder harness falls across his or her torso at an appropriate height. Any decent booster seat can achieve this goal once your child is large enough, so consider the extra features before making a purchase. Some booster seats have storage areas underneath them that can be handy for books, toys, and more. Others have cup holders. Still others have armrests. You and your youngster can decide together which option is best.
Safe And Proper Booster Seat Use
If you're not 100 percent certain you can install your child's car seat and/or booster seat properly, get help. Many fire houses and police stations will help you secure the car seat at no charge. Modern booster seats (and indeed modern cars) use the universal LATCH system, which is an acronym for Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children.
Make sure to pull all straps tight enough that your child is held securely in place without tightening them so much as to cause discomfort or restrict easy breathing.
Proper attachment of the LATCH buckles should not be difficult, but it can require a good deal of strength to adequately tighten the straps once they are secured. You must also make sure the seat is at the proper angle of upright alignment for your child's age. Again, if you need help, seek it.
And do not use both the car's seat belt and the LATCH system at the same time; children's seats should be secured with one or the other attachment system.
With a booster seat properly secured in the car, make sure that its headrest (should your child still be using the back portion) is positioned at the right height for your youngster. Make sure to pull all straps tight enough that your child is held securely in place without tightening them so much as to cause discomfort or restrict easy breathing. Then, periodically check the seat's settings, as straps can loosen with time, and as kids certainly grow fast.