A little boy fastens his seat belt while sitting safely in a high back booster car seat.

The Best Booster Seat for Your Child

A little boy fastens his seat belt while sitting safely in a high back booster car seat.

The Best Booster Seat for Your Child

You mean business when it comes to your child’s safety. So do we. Here’s a list of the top-rated booster seats for your precious cargo.


Your child is reaching milestones on the growth chart, and while it’s exciting to see them grow, they are also growing out of everything else – including their car seat. But they are still not big enough to ride without a little extra boost.

Typically, a child ages 4-8 and between 40-80 pounds should use a booster seat to help prevent injuries before graduating to adult safety belts. Other ways to tell if your child is too small to use adult restraints is if they are unable to sit comfortably with their back to the seat and knees bending at the seat edge.

Adult safety belts are designed for a 165-pound male passenger, which is why children are often injured using these restraints. A booster seat, which must be used with both a shoulder and lap belt, ensures the belt is positioned against the child correctly to help prevent injury. Be sure your child is at least 4’9” tall before they graduate to adult seat belts and any child age 12 or under should always ride in the back seat.

Safety Ratings

In a saturated market of products, it can be a daunting task to find the safest booster seat. That’s why we created a list of the top booster seats rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which does rigorous testing and thorough studies to determine if these seats are worth your money and worthy of holding your precious cargo during your automotive trips. The booster seats featured below all meet the IIHS criteria and were ranked “Best Bet” in their overall evaluation.

Picking Your Booster Seat Model

So where do you start? First, there are several types of booster seats to choose from. Nearly all work in most cars, including SUVs and minivans. To help you narrow down which one is right for you, here are some things to consider:

Backless Booster Seats

The backless booster seat is a cushion that elevates the child into a safe position in the car for a shoulder and lap constraint. These tend to be the most suitable for kids who are less likely to slump or sleep in the car. They are a great way to save money and space and are lightweight, making them easy to travel and transfer from car-to-car. Your car must have high back seats or headrests to ensure your child is secure using a backless booster seat.

A low angle view of a young girl on her way to school safely buckled into her booster seat.
Source: Shutterstock

Some good options are:

  1. Harmony Youth Booster Seat
  2. Safety 1st Store ‘n Go No-Back
  3. Aidia Scout

High Back Booster Seats

The high back booster seat has back and head support, giving your child the security of a car seat, but with more room and height. It lends itself well to cars without headrests or with low seat backs, but can also be used in cars with headrests.

Some good options are:

  1. Aidia Pathfinder
  2. Baby Trend PROtect Yumi
  3. Dream On Me Turbo Booster

2-in-1 Booster Seats

These are high back booster seats with removable backs, giving you more flexibility when traveling or as your child grows.

 A young girl clicks shut her seat belt in a booster seat in the back of a car.
Source: Shutterstock

Some good options are:

  1. Diono Cambria
  2. Evenflo Advanced Transitions
  3. Aidia Explorer 2-in-1

Other Things to Consider

In addition to choosing the right model for you and your little passenger, consider your budget and lifestyle.

Cost

The price of a booster seat does not impact the safety rating standards. There are strict standards that all booster seats must meet. Higher costs often just mean more features like zip-off covers for easy cleaning, cup holders, or options like removable backs and harnesses.

Ease of Use

Will you be traveling a lot? Do you have multiple cars you’ll need to transfer the booster to and from? Do you have multiple children that will be using booster seats at the same time? Booster seats vary in size and weight making some better for tight spaces or frequent travel. Some booster seats also come with a LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) which cars made after 2002 are compatible with. It’s a good way to ensure the seat is installed correctly in the car and can be helpful if you are transferring booster seats between cars often.

Capacity

Each car seat is a little different. Some may hold children up to 100 pounds while others only 65 pounds. They also have varying expirations dates as to when their safety ratings are no longer valid. Be sure to read the owner’s manual to get your seats specifications.

With these things in mind, there’s the perfect booster seat out there for your child. Share your favorite booster seat with us on Facebook.

Sources:
http://safeseats4kids.aaa.com/faqs/when/when-is-my-child-ready-for-a-booster-seat/
https://blog.nationwide.com/best-booster-seats/
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/child-boosters/best-bets

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