Do you know that baby car seats do not stop upon baby graduating from his/her front-facing car seat? Yes, you know about the rear facing toddler car seat stage before the transition to forward-facing, but do you know that it is highly recommended, in fact, depending on what state you're in, there are laws that mandate children to be seated in designated car seats before they are allowed to ride in a car without one. Ladies and gentlemen, let us present to you the 'booster seat' - the car seat that your child will use for the longest time amongst all!
1. What Is, and Why Do You Need A Booster Seat?
A booster seat is basically a car seat that elevates your child to the correct height position so that the car safety belt can be placed in the correct manner and position to safely protect your little one in the event an accident occurs. This product is great for younger passengers who still need to grow into the adult car seat, but are too big for a five-point harness.
In our brief introduction above, we mentioned that the car booster seat is required when your little one has outgrew the front-facing car seat stage. However, even by then, your child is still not big enough to be sitting in the correct position in a normal seat unassisted- the safety belt cannot sit correctly on his little body to perform its function, worse, it may actually do further and serious damage to your child in (God forbids) a crash if the safety belt lays against his neck or across his belly. With a booster seat, this risk is eliminated once and for all.
2. When, and How Long Do You Need A Booster Seat?
As soon as your child outgrows the weight or height limit (whichever comes first) of his forward-facing car seat, it is time to transfer from car seat to booster seat. You will most likely need a booster seat for 6 year old, some even earlier!
Among all the different stages of car seats, your child will be sitting in this one for the longest time. Generally speaking, it will be at least until the age of 8 to 12 years, or 135cm, whichever is the soonest.
Another tip to find out when is the right time to graduate the booster seat is to check if the adult car seatbelt straps can fall naturally over your child's shoulder and across the lap like how it does on yourself. Once it is able to do that, you know it is the right time to retire the good ol' booster seat!
3. Types of Booster Seat
There are two types of booster seat - high back booster seat and backless booster seat.
- Complete with high back, headrest and seat component
- Ensures child is provided with side impact protection
- Does not come with its own safety belt usually (though there are booster car seat with harness nowadays)
- Has only the seat component to provide the boost required
- Some offers a clip to help guide the position of the lap belt
- Usually cheaper than high backs
- Also less bulky and better portability than high backs
- Perfect as a travel booster seat
Regardless of which type you eventually go for, we recommend getting a booster seat with latch if possible. This is because a latch will keep your booster chair secured in place when getting your kid in and out, most importantly without one, you will have to stow it away at the boot or secure it with your vehicle seat belt when not in use because it will slip and slide around otherwise, thus leaving a potential safety hazard that may cause serious harm in the event of a crash.
4. Best High Back Booster Seat Reviews
5. Best 5 Point Harness Booster Seat
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, most top rated toddler car seats do not come with its own safety belts or harnesses. Yet 5 point harness booster seat is highly sought after by many parents and we can totally understand why - a harness booster seat allows you to make the transition from harness car seat to belt-positioning booster easily as your child grows.
In a way, a convertible booster car seat as such gives you the flexibility of getting one car seat instead of two after your little one has graduated from the rear facing stage. Yes, as a forward facing car seat with harness to strap your little one in, and as a baby booster seat thereafter. The following reviews are on some of the best 5 point harness booster in the market if this is the type you're after.
6. Best Backless Booster Seat
And now, for those that prefer a backless booster seat, be it for its affordability or portability or smaller size, you want to choose one that is still the safest booster seat despite not having a back that provides side impact protection. Our few recommendations below eliminates this risk amongst others as we make sure they are still the safest toddler car seats that you can rely on: