Best Booster Seats For Your Little Family

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If your little one is starting to grow past the toddler years, you are probably wondering which are the best booster seats. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 4 feet 9 inches tall should ride in a seat belt-positioning booster seat. In many states, a booster is required by law until your child is tall enough for a seat belt to work properly. So, which ones are the best booster seats available?

As a mom, I carefully select any product that is used for my children. I want to be sure the product is safe, durable, effective, and worth the price. To find the best booster seats, I have spent many hours reading reviews by fellow parents with first-hand use of different booster seats currently on the market.

Top Picks for the Best Booster Seats

After comparing many booster seats, I have created a list of the best booster seats. From my findings, each one on our list should meet or exceed your family’s needs. I hope that my top picks will help you make a great selection without needing to spend countless hours making comparisons of the many options for your growing little one.

Best Booster Seats – Winner: Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Studio

The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Car Seat will grow and adapt with your family for up to ten years with one adjustable car seat. It is safe for your child from infancy and up to one hundred and twenty pounds. It conveniently transitions from a rear-facing infant car seat for a baby and child from four to forty pounds. Then the car seat transitions to a forward-facing 5-point harness seat for toddlers and children from twenty to sixty-five pounds.

The last two positions are in the booster seat settings. In the highback belt-positioning booster position, a child can be between thirty and one hundred pounds. In the backless belt-positioning booster position, it is safe for a child weighing from forty to one hundred twenty pounds. This seat is truly an investment because it will be with your family through so many seasons.

Installation is often a major challenge with car seats and booster seats. Graco offers an exclusive system called the InRight latch attachment that provides an easy one-second attachment. There is an audible click cue to ensure the seat is installed securely. This system is so convenient and helpful if you have to move the seat from one car to another regularly. The Simply Safe Adjust Harness system along with the ten-position headrest allows you to conveniently adjust the harness and headrest together without rethreading. These features also ensure a proper secure fit for your child.

Notable Features

  • 4-in-1 Car Seat provides up to 10 years of use for a child from four to 120 pounds
  • InRight Latch system for an easy, 1-second Latch attachment
  • Six Recline Seat Positions
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts without needing it to rethreaded
  • Level Indicator
  • Side-impact tested for occupant retention
  • Ten Position Headrest
  • Five-point harness system
  • The seat cover is easy to remove without removing the harness and is washable

Safety Features

Safety is certainly the number one priority when choosing any car seat for your little one. The Graco Brand has gone above and beyond to keep your child safe and parents completely free of worry. Their seats are engineered to meet or exceed all applicable United States Federal Safety Standards. Additionally, the Graco 4Ever car seat has been side-impact crash tested for occupant retention with the five-point harness system that secures your child in the seat.

For years of safe use, the frame is steel-reinforced so it provides strength and durability. To manage impact energy, it is made with energy-absorbing foam. This seat exceeds the peak crash force at approximately two times the car seat standard set by the New Car Assessment Program.

Why It Made the List

I love that this seat works for your baby and child in every season and transition. It is made to last for ten years! So, you will not have to spend hours researching another safe seat for your child for a decade. I also love the InRight LATCH system with the one-second attachment that makes installation so simple and easy. The main reason this Graco seat is the winner of the best booster seats list is that it is the only seat that truly goes from a baby seat to booster car seat.

 

Best Booster Seats – Runner Up: Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat

The Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight blends the trusted safety of the Britax brand, the desired relaxing comfort for your child, and the convenience of the frontier click tight. This seat is an exceptional option going from a harnessed car seat to a booster seat for your growing toddler or child.

This booster car seat’s Clicktight Installation System allows you to securely install the vehicle’s seat belt in harness mode. A two buckle position ensures a secure fit for children of various sizes. A color-coded vehicle belt guides you to give a clear indication of how to use your vehicle’s seat belt in both harness and booster modes. To alleviate any worries or doubts, there will be an audible “click” that will confirm a correct LATCH installation.

A booster seat with options is always nice since your child is growing and changing all the time. This particular booster offers nine different harness positions along with the two-position buckle. As your child grows, these unique features will allow you to easily move the harness upward and the buckle outward for a fit that is not only secure but is also comfortable. There are also multiple reclining positions that can be altered for your child’s comfort.

This highback booster seat is on the pricer side but the safety features make it well worth the investment for your child’s safety and for your peace of mind.

Notable Features

  • SafeCell Impact Protection
  • Click tight installation system
  • Multiple-Position Recline
  • 2 Layers of Side Protection
  • 9-Position Harness
  • 2-Position Buckle
  • Exceeds safety standards
  • Minimum weight recommendation 25 Pounds
  • Maximum weight recommendation 120 Pounds

Safety Features

Safety is the number one feature when considering a product for your child. For many generations, parents have trusted Britax to keep their children safe. It is a highly respected brand because of the quality products they design and create for families.

This booster seat features SafeCell Impact Protection. This system is designed with a steel frame, an energy-absorbing base, and an impact-absorbing tether with staged-release stitches that are meant to slow and reduce forward movement during an accident. To shield your child from a side impact, this seat has a deep energy-absorbing shell and foam-lined headrest that offers two layers of superior protection.

The frontier click tight system features complete side impact protection for your child that provides an advanced layer of protection in addition to a deep protective shell. You can rest easy as a parent with the safety standards of this Britax model.

Why It Made the List

This particular booster made our list of best booster seats for several reasons. I really like the simplicity and convenience of the click tight installation system. Additionally, the safety standards and features provided are hard to beat. The safe cell impact protection surrounds your child with safety components that exceed the established federal safety standards.

The Britax brand is also highly respected and has proven itself over and over in car and booster seats. Also, if this matters to you, you may want to know that Britax car seats are American made products where they are designed and created in South Carolina. It is a close second to our winner.

 

Best Booster Seats – Honorable Mention: Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat

will help to keep your ‘big kid’ safe in the car. As you know, school-aged children are expected to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until at least age eight or until the seat belt fits properly. These are the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

This Backless TurboBooster seat has been designed and engineered as well as rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed all applicable United States standards. This specific booster is made with a child from four to ten years old (forty to one hundred pounds) in mind. The child should not be below forty inches or above fifty-seven inches tall. 

Your growing child will be comfortable in this backless booster seat. It is a great option once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with the five-point harness.

On a long road trip, your child will appreciate the comfortable seat and the padded armrests. The fabric is gender neutral. The design with solid black accents and white piping is not overly childish so an older child will like it also. There is a Disney Cars pattern option.

One of the best features for kids is the convenient dual hideaway cup holders – perfect for your child’s water bottle, toys, and snacks. When you booster needs to be cleaned, the deluxe padded seat cushion can simply be removed and washed in your washing machine with a gentle detergent. Additionally, all the plastic parts of the seat can be easily cleaned with a mild soap and water.

This backless booster is very reasonably priced and a great option if you are not looking for a highback booster seat model.

 Notable Features

  • From ages 4 -10, from 40 – 100 pounds; 40-57 inches tall
  • Top rated by leading consumer publications
  • Engineered and crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213
  • Stylish Design
  • Comfortable Deluxe Padded Seat
  • Adjustable Armrests
  • Dual Hideaway Cup Holders
  • Machine Washable Seat Cover

Safety Features

You will feel reassured as a safety-conscious parent that this booster seat has been rigorously crash-tested and is SafeSeat engineered by Graco. Your child will be protected by raising your child up to the proper height for the seat belt to work accurately. It meets or exceeds the United States standards set for car seats and booster seats. 

Why It Made the List

Of the many choices on the market, the Graco Backless TurboBooster made my list because of its impressive safety ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded this seat the “Best Bet” designation for its outstanding ability to protect riders in an accident. If your child is ready to transition out of a harness booster, this backless booster seat is a terrific option to help protect your older child who is not quite ready to ride with just your vehicle’s seat belt.

FAQ’s

Does my child need a booster seat?

Child car safety has changed so much over the last few generations. The changes to the laws may seem very different from what was expected of you as a child riding in a car. Seat belts are designed to work properly on someone of average adult height.

Over time, crashes have shown that if a young child gets involved in a car accident without a booster seat, the seat belt could actually cause injury instead of protection. A booster seat is made to “boost up” a child to the proper height for the seat belt to work correctly. If your child is not four feet nine inches, your child is required to sit in a booster car seat.

How long will my child need to stay in a booster car seat?

It depends on your home state. Using a booster seat is the law no matter which state you live in. How long your child needs a booster seat will vary slightly. The exact age, weight, and height limits for booster seat requirements will vary from state to state.

In the United States, most state laws require that your child use a booster seat until the age of six or eight. In the majority of cars, a seat belt is not made to work properly on a passenger shorter than 4 feet 9 inches which means that the seat belt will not offer needed protection in the unfortunate event of an accident. Many experts recommend your child continue using a booster until he or she reaches at least 4 feet 9 inches regardless of age.

What is the difference between a highback booster seat and the backless booster seat?

The highback booster seat has a three- or five-point harness but it can also work with a seat belt once your child outgrows the safety harness. Some boosters that are not intended for younger children are designed just for seat belt use and do not come with a harness. Keep in mind that the high-back booster model that does not come with a harness is often wider and taller than forward-facing car seats so that they can accommodate larger children.

A backless booster seat is a basic model that boosts your child up so that the seat belt works properly. It does not feature any side or back support in the seat but car’s own seat will provide the necessary back support with this type of booster seat. A backless booster is not recommended for use in vehicles with low back seats or no headrests. A backless booster seat is a wonderful option for older kids who no longer fit comfortably in a highback model seat.

What do booster seats cost?

The most expensive booster seats are the highback models with a harness that also work as a forward-facing car seat for younger children. Depending on features, ratings, and brand, these models can run between one hundred twenty-five dollars to three hundred dollars. A highback booster seat without a harness can cost anywhere from fifty to one hundred dollars.

This basic model works only with a seat belt. Backless booster seats are the most inexpensive model and much more affordable than the highback booster model seats. They generally cost anywhere between twenty and fifty dollars.

When should my child switch from a traditional car seat to a booster seat?

It is recommended that your child rides in a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness for as long as possible. At some point, your child will exceed the height or weight limit. Some children can also start to feel too cramped even though they technically still meet the weight requirement for the seat. At this point, the booster seat is a great next step.

What features should I look for in the best booster seats?

There are so many things you could consider when selecting the best booster seats and car seats for your children. Here are a few items that I would take into consideration in your selection and purchase.

Safety rating

Obviously, safety is of utmost importance when selecting any product for your child. This issue is particularly serious when it comes to riding in vehicles. You can rest assured that all booster seats must pass all federal safety standards to be on the market.

Some seats offer additional features that exceed those standards. Once you narrow down your options, thoroughly read about the safety features offered in your preferred seat before purchasing it.

Brand

I have several favorite brands for car seats. Most of the time I prefer a brand for the conveniences they provide in different features like simple installation, durability, and of course, safety ratings. I have used Britax and Graco for many years and love their products.

Both brands are highly rated by many publications and review sites. Of course, there are other brands that hold similar safety ratings. I am sure you will find a brand that you love and works well for your family.

Machine-washable covers

This feature has nothing to do with safety. However, we all know that children can be so messy at times. Plus, being a parent is nearly an all-consuming job so taking extra time to hand scrub a seat is not something any mom or dad wants to do.

As a result, a booster seat that comes with a machine-washable cover is a gift to the parents and such a nice added convenience. You will thank me the next time your child spills something sticky all over the seat.

Size, Weight, & Portability

Depending on your vehicle, you may need to find a seat that is more compact. Also, if you need a booster seat that will be moved often from one car to another car, you may want to look for one that is lightweight. If applicable, consider how difficult or easy it will be to transfer the seat to another vehicle.

Belt-positioning Clips

The shoulder strap of a seat belt is supposed to sit across the middle of your child’s shoulder and not on the shoulder, neck, or upper arm. Highback booster seat should have belt-positioning clips built into the back of the seat to ensure the correct belt position. Most backless booster models have the clips attached to a strap.

Recalls

It is important to check on any recalls on your child’s booster car seat. You can click here to go directly to the link where you see any type of recall made public. Before you make you purchase a booster car seat, check whether your chosen brand has had any recent recalls. I would suggest checking this site regularly even once you have found and purchased the booster seat that works perfectly for your family.

Most manufacturers will simply replace your booster seat if a recall has been made. Manufacturers can recall a product voluntarily. Or, the recall can be required by the government agency responsible for vehicle safety – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Price

Once again, I cannot stress the safety of your child enough. With that in mind, cost should not keep you from finding the best booster seats to keep your child secure and protected in case of an accident. With that said, there are a variety of options that can work with your budget.

Whether on the higher or lower end, there are great options available. As mentioned, a backless booster is the least expensive option. But be sure your child meets the requirements for this type of seat.

Final Thoughts On the Best Booster Seats

Your child has now outgrown the forward-facing car seat. This means you are in the market for one of the best booster seats. It is the law for your child to transition to a booster seat. It is the safest way for your not so little one to travel by car until the seat belt fits properly over their body. Hopefully, our list has given you the information you need to find the exact right fit for your child.

If you need more gear for your family and you are interested in looking for a baby monitor, be sure to check out my review of the best baby monitors. I also did a review about best baby swings that may be of interest. These reviews are meant to inform you quickly without needing to do all the research yourself. I hope they help.

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