Keep your child properly buckled with the leading car booster seats

·11-min read



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Looking for a car booster seat that’s built with safety and reliability in mind? Check out our list of the most popular car booster seats available online. The saying “safety first” never gets old, and when selecting a car booster seat you should have the safety of your child in mind. All car seats must pass a 30-mph crash test to fulfill government safety standards, and a good seat is one of the most important decisions you'll have to make -- your child will need one from the moment you bring them home from the hospital until they’re big enough to wear an adult seat belt. Almost half of all child seats and boosters are poorly installed, and an improperly placed car seat can be a safety risk.

You'll need at least two different car seats for your child's development, but it doesn't have to be a challenge to find the proper model. We've compiled a list of the highest-rated car booster seats currently on the market to make your life a little simpler during this stressful-- and important-- decision-making process.

Here are the top car booster seats of 2022

Graco Affix Highback Booster Seat: Our pick 

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This Graco Affix Highback Booster Seat comes with a latch system and accommodates children weighing between 40 and 100 pounds. Your child will be protected in the event of frontal, side, rear, and rollover collisions thanks to this seat's specially engineered safety features. The one-hand front-adjust latching mechanism makes it easy for you to secure the booster seat in place and allows your child to independently buckle themselves up once it’s been secured. Cup holders and hidden storage compartments in the seat help keep your child’s beverages and favorite toys close at hand, and its fully adjustable headrest can make sure your growing child stays safe and comfortable in the car.

Pros:

  • Tall and comfortable 

  • Allows for easy self-buckling 

  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Difficult to adjust

Britax Highpoint Booster Car Seat: Another great option

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This Britax Highpoint Booster Car Seat is a two-stage belt-positioning booster seat that comes with two distinct modes-- Backless and High Back. The backless mode can help keep your child more comfortable on long car rides, while the high back offers increased security. Either mode can be used depending on your child’s comfort and size, and both have the same weight capacity. Three levels of side impact protection will protect your child’s head, neck, and body, and the SecureGuard clip positions the child's seat belt appropriately to ensure their safety. An adjustable headrest with a 10-position quick-release mechanism allows for a precise fit, and the lower connections may be pushed into position with a single click.

Pros:

  • Comfortable for long journeys

  • Fits children of all sizes

  • Cup holders included

Cons:

  • The belt may be loose-fitting

Cosco Topside Booster Car Seat: Also consider

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The Cosco Topside Booster Car Seat has a comfortable pad and offers youngsters some extra height for correct seat belt placement. It's lightweight, easy to transport, and has a seat-safe construction that will help keep your car’s seats smooth and unmarked, even while swapping it in and out of different vehicles. This car booster seat is soft and light, ideal for busy families on the go, and a great choice for children weighing between 40-100 lbs and between 43-57" tall. The seat’s cozy plush padding and covered armrests can help make long car rides just a little more comfortable, and it’s available in a handful of colors that can add your little one’s personality to your backseat.

Pros:

  • Provides extra height

  • Comfortable plush padding

  • Easy to transport 

Cons:

  • Some find its cushion too hard

Chicco GoFit Backless Booster Car Seat: Another option

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Chicco developed their GoFit Backless Booster for big kid comfort, with an ErgoBoost seat and double foam cushioning. It’s easy to transport between cars, thanks to the integrated carry handle and smooth underside that protects seats, and its two cup holders can be folded away and stored separately to conserve space. All the textiles, including the pop-out armrest coverings, are detachable and washable, and this seat is dishwasher-safe, allowing for a cleaner booster seat for your child. The Plus model for this booster has a latch to support the seat, keeping it in place when the car is in motion, and its quick-release design allows for one-handed removal with a simple pull of its release lever.

Pros:

  • Machine-washable seat pad

  • Easy to transfer

  • Available in standard and Plus models 

Cons:

  • Safety issues with the base model

Diono Solana Booster Car Seat: Also try

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When your big kid needs a little extra help, the Solana 2 XL backless booster car seat is a great choice. Designed for the comfort and convenience of both child and parent, this booster seat can serve you and your child for up to eight years. This car booster seat is an ideal choice thanks to its extra-wide design, and its base has been built for maximum kid comfort, incorporating two space-saving retractable cup compartments for those must-have road trip snacks and drinks. Its removable and machine-washable cloth covers can help make cleanup a breeze, and the front adjustments and inbuilt latch connectors make it easy to secure the booster to your vehicle's seat.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-remove washable covers 

  • Lightweight and portable

  • Secure latch design

Cons:

  • Not comfortable for some kids

Buying guide: Car booster seats

Investing in a car booster seat can go a long way toward keeping your family safe in the event of a collision. Even a top-rated car seat won't do much good protecting your child from harm if it’s installed incorrectly. As long as your child is safely buckled up in the proper car seat you’ll be able to concentrate on driving worry-free, so we've put together this buying guide to assist you in finding the ideal car booster seat for both your child and your vehicle.

What to know before purchasing a car booster seat

Know your child

Being mindful of your child's weight and height will help you identify the proper seat size needed, as well as when it's time to go up a level. 

Know your car

Consult your vehicle's owner handbook for information on child safety and familiarize yourself with things like its seat belts, latching mechanisms, and child seats.

How to use booster seats properly

Harness height

Keeping your baby's harness straps at or below their shoulders while using a rear-facing car seat is important, and in a forward-facing seat, it’s recommended that the harness straps be at or above your child’s shoulders. If the straps at your child’s shoulders can be pinched they’re likely too loose and therefore unsafe, and the seat’s chest clip should always be worn so that it sits directly behind the armpits when not in use.

Different types of child car seats

There are many types of car seats available, and they come suited for various sizes and weights. Make sure your youngster falls within a seat's stated measurements before buckling them in. 

Rear-facing car seat

Some rear-facing car seats have parts that can be switched out without removing the stationary base, and it's also possible to find seats that can be used for several stages of growth. As long as your little one hasn't met the seat’s weight or height restrictions, it's recommended to put them in a rear-facing seat.

Forward-facing car seat

If your child has outgrown their infant seat, you should switch them to a forward-facing car seat or booster. For kids too young to use a booster seat, forward-facing seats are ideal.

Booster car seat

You’ll need a booster seat once your child outgrows their car seat, and they can usually be used until a child is around eight years old. They're typically inexpensive, and they help your youngster stay safe until they’re tall enough to ride without a booster seat.

Convertible car seat

Convertible car seats are car seats that, like a convertible car, can change in how they’re used, and there are two versions of this kind of seat available. First are the 2-in-1 models, which see the seat transform from rear-facing to forward-facing, or go one step further with a 3-in-1 model, a rear-facing car seat that can convert to a forward-facing seat and then to a booster as well. 

Both types of car seats will save you from having to buy new ones year after year, but be warned-- these seats do have more detachable parts than car seats made specifically for toddlers and babies, so make sure all mechanisms are correctly fastened in place before use.

How to select a booster car seat for your child

A common misconception

You may feel that your child can make the jump from a forward-facing car seat to sitting without any seat at all with no problem, but booster seats can be very helpful-- they lift your youngster so that the car's lap belt rests on their thighs and hips rather than their midsection, and can make significant changes that allow for better fit and comfort on car rides, too. 

Booster seats can also encourage your child to properly utilize their seat belt, helping them build good habits while in the car. For some parents, the primary motivation for purchasing a booster seat is simply to give their child a better look out the window, showing that the benefits of booster seats are in more than just their safety precautions.

Protection

A booster seat helps position a child's seat belt appropriately and lifts them to allow them a better view of the road. Many parents, though, choose not to use a booster, as they feel it’s unneeded or that their child won’t utilize it.

The temptation to buy a booster seat at a flea market or garage sale might be high, but this should be avoided after you're set on buying one. Using a secondhand seat can be unsafe-- you won't know if a used seat has been in an accident, if it has all its original parts or if it was constructed with modern vehicles in mind. It's also important to note that federal motor vehicle safety regulations constantly evolve, and outdated seats may not meet current requirements. 

Budget

The cost of a car booster seat should be the final concern when making your purchase. Since your child could be in this seat for up to four years (or even longer), time and comfort are valuable resources. After all, a $10 or $20 premium might offer you and your child conveniences that can make both your lives easier, while also helping your child feel more secure in the car.

As a parent, you should keep in mind that booster seats aren't simply to let your child look out the window-- they’re also designed to keep your child safe in case of an accident.

Which car booster seat is right for your family?

Car booster seats are required for children, from the time they leave the hospital as babies until they reach the height and weight requirements to ride in the car with only an adult seat belt, usually around the age of eight.

It doesn't have to be difficult to find the right car booster seat model-- your child's age, weight, and height will all play a role in determining which model is right for them, and at the very least you'll need two different car seats for your child over the course of their development. Follow these three easy steps to make this difficult choice a bit simpler and pick the safest car seat for your child.

  • Make sure you select the proper model

  • Know the Three C's – Connectivity, Convenience, and Comfort

  • Make sure you install the seat correctly

Car Booster Seat FAQs

Q: What is a car booster seat?

There are many different names for car booster seats, and devices designed to keep children safe in case of a collision with another motor vehicle. These include infant safety seats, child restraint systems, baby safety seats, car seats, and booster seats, among others.

Q: When should I start looking for a booster seat for my child?

When your child weighs at least 40 pounds and is four years or older, they may be ready to switch to a belt-positioning booster seat.

Q: When should a child use a backless booster seat?

At about eight to 12 years of age, when children have surpassed their car seat's weight or height constraints, they’ll probably be ready for a backless booster seat.

Q: What is the difference between a booster seat with a back and without?

Head support is the most noticeable difference. In order to properly secure a child in a backless booster seat, the vehicle must have a high seat or a head restraint. A high-back booster can offer the necessary head support for children up to the level of their ears.

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