Best Booster Seats for Toddlers (High Back and Backless)

When to use booster seats for toddlers?

Children grow fast! When your child has outgrown the weight and/or height limits for their forward-facing child safety car seat, it usually means that they’re ready for a booster seat.

If you have used a convertible car seat that can support booster mode, it’s okay for you to still use that seat. But if not, you need to shop for the best booster car seats for toddlers at this time.

Booster seats are designed to keep your child safe before they can use the vehicle seat belt alone as a grown-up.

They can help position the vehicle’s safety belt properly on your child through the shoulder and lap, providing maximum protection to your child’s neck and chest in case of any accidents.

However, booster seats should be used when your child is ready for that. It’s not recommended to move them to a booster seat too early and keep your child in a harness car seat for as long as possible. Ask yourself below four questions before transitioning your child to a booster car seat:

> Is your child at least 4 years old?

> Is your child at least 40 pounds?

> Are the shoulder and lap belts available?

> Can your child sit properly the entire trip without leaning forward, slouching, playing with the shoulder belt, etc?

If you can answer “Yes” to all the questions, your child is safe to use a booster seat and you can buy one now.

But first, you should know which type of booster is the best option for your child? Generally, there are two types of booster seats: high-backed boosters, backless boosters. Some high-back booster car seats have a harness for safety, and some booster car seats can work as both. You can always pick up one for your child.

Best Boosters Seats for Toddlers

If you plan on buying a car seat for big kids, then your best option is to read my reviews of the all-in-one and booster seats. If you want to dive straight in you can see my top choices for booster seats category below:

All-in-one Car Seat

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1

Innovative features and cutting-edge techniques earn the Graco 4Ever DLX its reputation as the herald of the next-gen all-rounder experience. With the capability of going through 3 car seat stages in  4 modes and the all-side protection, you can unleash this restraint system’s awesome safety and unparalleled comfort for your child’s growth till the booster ages.

Harness Booster Car Seat

Chicco MyFit Harness Booster

Chicco MyFit

One of the best combination car seats around and the people’s champion, the Chicco MyFit deals in extended protection for your child from toddler age to preschool days. Its thick and comfortable padding is perfect for long-range travel, especially if you like to travel in comfortable luxury.

High Back Booster Car Seat

Diono Cambria 2 XL

Diono Cambria 2

The champion of large space, the Diono Cambria 2 is a vision in gold that delivers an XL size for big kids in the booste stage, with a high weight limit of up to 120 pounds and a top height limit of 63 inches. Featuring a slim and lightweight design at a budget price, this booster car seat is an absolute steal.

Backless Booster Car Seat

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster

If you’re looking for a backless booster for big kids, with a wallet-friendly price of $24.99, you can’t go far wrong with the Graco TurboBooster. Delivering comfort alongside safety is really a money saver. Safe, lightweight, and seriously protective, it is a perfect, child-friendly booster seat.

All-in-one Convertible Car Seats with Booster

1. Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1

Award: Best All-in-one Car Seat with 4 Modes

Innovative features and cutting-edge techniques earn the Graco 4Ever DLX its reputation as the herald of the next-gen all-rounder experience. With the capability of going through 3 car seat stages in  4 modes and the all-side protection, you can unleash this restraint system’s awesome safety and unparalleled comfort for your child’s growth till the booster ages.

$309.99

Weight Limit

4-40 lb. (RF) 22-65-lb. (FF) 40-100~120 lb. (Booster)

Height Limit

up to 49" (FF) 43-57" (Booster)

Lifespan

10 years

Type

All-in-one

Stage

1st, 2nd, 3rd

Age Range

Newborn ~ 12 years old

Keep your child in the forward-facing harness until your child exceeds the harness weight or height limits of the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat. But you should also know that it’s time to change it to a booster, no matter whichever sort of limit comes first, weight or height. 

Obviously, it allows children weighing below 65 pounds and below 49-inch tall to stay in a harness.

Seamless transition to the booster mode is available. Just store the harness in the storage compartment follow the 4Ever DLX’s user manual and install it in the high back booster mode first. 

A high back booster is better and safer for younger kids but with a lower weight limit of 100 pounds. As your child grows, you can remove the back support and turn it into a backless booster until the 120-pound weight limit.

The Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat was designed to grow with a child with 10-position headrest adjustments and 6-position reclines. In the booster mode, the perfect position to fit the big kids as 7 years old is at the top and the recline should be turned at the 6th position.

It features Graco’s ProtectPlus for optimal protection in case of any crashes from frontal, rear, side, and rollover, passing through the rigorous crash tests under both US and European standards. 

But these tests are generally done for rear- and forward-facing harnesses when your child is still fragile in a car seat.

But this does not mean the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat is not safe. It has the company’s unique InRight LATCH system for an easy and safe installation. That’s good enough for a booster to accommodate the littles. Proper installation and fit ensure safety and comfort.

The Graco 4Ever DLX is popular for its long-lasting through 3 car seat stages (including rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster) with a 10-year lifespan, making it an excellent money saver and one of the best booster seats.

This car seat has two cup holders that can be used in the booster mode. But they’re not perfect to hold circular cups or bottles for their square design. A few parents complain about spoiling during their travels.

2. Diono 2020 Radian 3R

Diono Radian 3R 3-in-1 Car Seat

Diono 2020 Radian 3R

A sweet combination of multiple stages, high weight and height limits, and budget price, the Diono Radian 3R is packed with hauntingly good features. It is one of the cheapest all-in-one car seats for booster usage for big kids. It comes with a slim design to do 3 across fit, making it suitable for small cars and big families that have to accommodate 3 children in the back seat.

$199.99

Weight Limit

5-50 lb. (RF) 22-65-lb. (FF) 40-100 lb. (Booster)

Height Limit

Up to 57.1"

Lifespan

10 years

Type

All-in-one

Stage

1st, 2nd, 3rd

Age Range

Newborn ~ 10 years old

The Diono Radian 3R is able to ride a big kid up to 120 pounds in the booster mode, making it one of the best booster seats. It’s a pity that the car seat only supports high back mode, the back is not detachable to turn it into a backless booster. 

But the 120-pounds booster weight limit is as good as other backless boosters anyway. It’s just big kids around 9-10 years (typically with a weight around 120 pounds) would not like to be seen staying in a car seat. That’s why backless car seats are popular.

However, it’s strongly recommended to accommodate a child younger than 12 years old in a car seat for security. That’s the car seat law requirement in most US states. Because car seat with back support delivers extra protection every time you ride the kids. 

The reinforced steel core and frame ensure safe and stable riding, while the solid energy-absorbing foam is designed to distribute crash forces for full protection upon side impact.

The slim design to fit 3 across should play an important role to make the Diono Radian 3R be the best booster seat. 

It’s common that the littles grow to fit well in a booster, and it’s also common that big families have several kids and the big one can use this booster seat as well.

Radian 3R is the entry-level model from Diono. There are advanced variants available with improved features like two layers of side-impact protection, 10- or 12-position headrest support, or even added body inserts for newborns and small babies.

 

3. Evenflo EveryFit 4-in-1

Evenflo EveryFit 4-in-1 Car Seat

Evenflo EveryFit

The Evenflo EveryFit is a cheap all-in-one car seat that can be used for big kids in booster mode. It’s lightweight and portable, making it easy for parents or caregivers to switch and install it between different vehicles. A long lifespan of up to 10 years is in accordance with its long-lasting from birth to youth.

$199.99

Weight Limit

4-40 lb. (RF) 22-65-lb. (FF) 40-100 lb. (Booster)

Height Limit

19-40" (RF) 28-49" (FF) 44-57" (Booster)

Lifespan

10 years

Type

All-in-one

Stage

1st, 2nd, 3rd

Age Range

Newborn ~ 10 years old

The Evenflo EveryFit is an all-in-one car seat and it’s suitable for a child from birth to youth, going through three car seat stages including rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster. It ranks in the list of best booster seats for its multi-functionalities.

Yes, it’s more than a booster seat. It also works as a rear-facing infant car seat and forward-facing 5-point convertible. More appealingly, it combines a high back and backless booster into one.

When used in booster configuration, the EveryFit is able to ride a big kid from 40 to 120 pounds. The little rider should be at least 4 years old, just as most US states required in their local laws.

However, as the EveryFit features a 5-point harness, it’s better to keep your child in the last or current car seat stage as long as possible, meaning your child can stay up to 65 pounds before transitioning from forward-facing to booster. It’s easily understandable to follow this advanced tip.

After switching the Evenflo EveryFit to booster, it’s better to start with the high back at first. The high back mode provides extra support at the back for better safety. 

Big kids may not want to be seen sitting in a high back booster when you drive them to school. Then you can remove the back and turn it into a lightweight and portable backless booster to ride them.

Few protective features are available in the booster mode, for example, the headrest adjustment and recline positions can’t be used in booster mode. 

The 5-point harness is not attainable in the hig back mode while the side impact protection can’t achieve in the backless mode. 

But the two cup holders on both sides are always there, along with the machine-washable fabrics, the Evenflo EveryFit tried their best to ensure your child’s comfort in the car seat.

A serious thing that needs your attention during the usage of the EveryFit booster car seat – When is the end of the durability. Made of the steel-reinforced frame, the car seat is capable of a long-lasting up to 10 years. 

The 10-year lifespan started from the date of the manufacturer. It means the actual time of usage should be shorter than 10 years. And if you have used it since your child’s birth, you may need to throw it when the car seat reaches its limitation.

Reminder, all the manufacturers would recommend not to use a car seat that is out of expiration. It’s better for us parents to follow this suggestion. After all, using a car seat following the user manual and manufacturer’s advice is fundamental for the child’s safety.

Luckily, big kids at their 10 years old can use the vehicle’s seat belt.

Harnessed Booster Car Seats

1. Chicco MyFit 2 in 1

Chicco MyFit Harness Booster

Chicco MyFit

Award: Best Harness to Booster

One of the best combination car seats around and the people’s champion, the Chicco MyFit deals in extended protection for your child from toddler age to preschool days. Its thick and comfortable padding is perfect for long-range travel, especially if you like to travel in comfortable luxury.

$199.99

Weight Limit

22-65-lb. (FF) / 40-100 lb. (Booster)

Height Limit

up to 54" (FF) / 38 to 57" (Booster)

Lifespan

8 years

Type

Combination

Stage

2nd, 3rd

Age Range

2 ~ 10 years old

The Chicco MyFit is a great harness booster seat with lots of amazing features. It was designed to accommodate children between 25-100 pounds, going through the second and third stages until your child is ready to wear a seat belt.

The car seat is for front-facing use only, both the harness and booster modes only support installing facing front. The 5-point harness allows your child to stay in the car seat till he or she reaches the 65-pound weight limit or the 54-inch height limit, whichever comes first.

Then you should remove the harness and move the child to the booster after that. The Chicco MyFit is able to ride children up to 100 pounds heavy and 57-inches tall when working as a booster car seat. 

If you want to switch to the booster mode as early as your child is ready, keep in mind that your child should reach the minimum requirement of 40 pounds weight and 4 years old age.

The Chicco MyFit harness booster seat comprises safety and comfort. The DuoGuard of two layers of side impact protection combines with a high-strength steel-reinforced frame to perform the best safety rating. 

Note: the side impact protection is generally tested in the harness mode, not in the booster stage.

It comes with a 9-position headrest and 4-position reclines to provide your child a perfect fit during their growth. The 9-position adjustment is available for both harness and booster modes.

Premium LATCH connectors are included for LATCH installation, but if you prefer the way to install the MyFit with a seat belt. You would love the LockSure technique. It contains lock-offs and wide belt routing for extra help so that you can install this car seat effortlessly with some confirmations.

Two cup holders keep your child’s snacks and drinks in easy touch during the car seat trip. They are removable if needed when you want to install multiple car seats in the back, just push the yellow button under the cup holders. 

It’s a pity that the MyFit harness booster car seat does not support backless mode. If you prefer a backless booster seat, you’d better find other cheap alternatives like the Chicco GoFit Plus and others listed in the best backless booster car seats part.

The tons of thick padding earn this car seat a few compliments for the most comfort. But it causes a problem. It’s very probable that your child’s back will get sweaty, especially when your child stays in the car seat for a long time. 

It’s not suggested to keep your child in a car seat for more than two hours continuously. 

The manufacturer has noticed this problem and upgraded with a new version – Chicco MyFit Zip Air, which comes with a few improvements including the price. The new version costs about $100 bucks more. You may give it a shot when this item is on sale on Amazon or other online stores.

2. KidsEmbrace 2-in-1

KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster

KidsEmbrace

The KidsEmbrace is an affordable harnessed booster car seat that allows big toddlers to stay in the car seat for up to 100 pounds in weight and up to 57 inches in height. Its innovative Marvel hero-themed seat pad gives your child more fun than protection. It’s comparatively lightweight if you want to switch this toddler booster between different cars.

$149.99

Weight Limit

22-65-lb. (FF) / 40-100 lb. (Booster)

Height Limit

29-49" (FF) / 38 to 57" (Booster)

Lifespan

7 years

Type

Combination

Stage

2nd, 3rd

Age Range

2 ~ 10 years old

What color do you prefer in a car seat? Black or deep color for easy cleaning? Pink or cute color for girls? More than that, the KidsEmbrace harness boosters come with a themed superhero, earning itself a great deal of popularity among children and becoming one of the best booster car seats, for both boys and girls. 

The KidsEmbrace is able to ride a child between 40-100 pounds with a 57-inches height limit in the booster mode. This means that children below 8 years old can use this booster seat until they’re ready to ride by wearing the vehicle’s seat belt.

It’s more than a booster but combines a harness and a booster into one. It’s a combination car seat that will work as a forward-facing 5-point harness for the second stage and a highback booster for the third stage. 

Extra functionality adds the cost to this type of harness to booster car seats that are more expensive than other booster seats with no harness feature, about 40-50 bucks.

But it’s worth it. The 5-point harness delivers better safety performances than booster car seats, for its side impact protection in the event of a crash. And it’s recommended to keep your child in the harness as long as possible until they exceed the weight or height limits. 

The KidsEmbrace harness booster has three positions for headrest adjustments to grow with your child, but this is far less compared to those harness booster seats with 9 or more positions. This is a small flaw that won’t affect children’s love for the superhero-themed KidsEmbrace car seat. 

It’s the lack of the reclines that will cause a problem – your child lacks extra support as their head may flop forward when they’re asleep. Luckily, its big ‘wing’ of headrest will hold the toddler’s head upright.

3. Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1

Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Seat

Graco Atlas 65

The Graco Atlas 65 is one of the best-selling budget harness to booster car seats because of its reliability, lightweight, comfort, affordable price, and thorough feature set to grow with your child. Sure, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you might find on a more expensive model, but for the price you pay, it’s excellent value for money. It boasts a safe ride with a harness and booster that’ll protect your child until they reach the weight limit of 100 pounds or height limit of 57 inches.

$137.99

Weight Limit

22-65-lb. (FF) / 40-100 lb. (Booster)

Height Limit

up to 49" (FF) / 38 to 57" (Booster)

Lifespan

7 years

Type

Combination

Stage

2nd, 3rd

Age Range

2 ~ 10 years old

The Graco Atlas 65 ranks one of the best booster car seats for its 2-in-1 features. It’s a harness booster that can be used to ride a child between 22-65 pounds in a 5-point forward-facing harness. This is a great feature for small toddlers and preschoolers. 

It’s proved that a 5-point harness provides better protection for the littles than the booster, as all the harness car seats should be side-impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built-in 5-point harness system.

That’s why all booster seats on the market require that a child should be older than 4 years or at least 40 pounds to ride in a booster. That’s the same reason for the Graco Atlas 65 to work in the booster mode, which rides a child between 40-100 lb in weight and 38-57 inches in height.

This car seat was designed to grow with your child, so it comes with an adjustable 10-position height headrest. More positions mean a short gap between each position. No matter whether your child fits in the harness or booster mode, you can find a comfortable and perfect fit for them at that time and age. 

With the frame made of reinforced steel and the seat pad made of breathable fabrics, the Graco Atlas 65 ensures safety and comfort, along with easy installation thanks to the open-loop belt tips. 

The seat pad is machine washable and can be easily taken off for easy cleaning. Two cup holders on both sides allow the snacks and drinks in easy touch for a happy time in the car seat.

High Back Booster

1. Diono Cambria 2

Diono Cambria 2 XL

Diono Cambria 2

Award: Best High Back Booster

The champion of large space, the Diono Cambria 2 is a vision in gold that delivers an XL size for big kids in the booster stage, with a high weight limit of up to 120 pounds and a top height limit of 63 inches. Featuring a slim and lightweight design at a budget price, this booster car seat is an absolute steal.

$99.99

Weight Limit

40-120 lb.

Height Limit

up to 63"

Lifespan

8 years

Type

Booster

Stage

3rd

Age Range

4 ~ 12 years old

The Diono Cambria 2 was designed to accommodate children from 40 – 120 lbs (18 – 54 kg). That’s a wide weight range for growing children, along with the 2-in-1 functional to be a high back and backless booster. This makes the Diono Cambria 2 a top-rated booster car seat choice for big kids who need more room in the car seat.

It’s a 2-in-1 booster seat for different purposes. With the headrest and back support, your child will get a safer and more comfortable ride. They work together to keep your child’s head and body steady and stable and provide additional side impact protection in event of crashes. 

The wide base and headrest ensure enough room in the car seat with your child’s growth, thanks to the 6-position adjustable headrest heights. We believe the highback booster is much better than the backless mode. 

So it’s strongly recommended to keep your child in the Cambria 2 high back booster as long as possible, as both the weight and height limits of high back and backless modes are the same.

But if your child prefers the Cambria 2 backless booster, just detach the back cushion from the seat base and turn it into backless mode. Two cup holders on both sides will remain for carrying the snacks and drinks. You should pay attention to the cup holder.

Available in three colors, the Diono Cambria 2 is friendly for both boys and girls. The pink and blue are good choices for girl toddlers, while the black and blue are optional for boy toddlers. 

Plus point is the extended warranty. Most car seats, no matter infant, convertible, or boosters, just feature a one-year limited warranty, but the Diono Cambria 2 provides 36 months extended warranty if you registered the car seat after receiving it. 

It’s a great bonus! This proves that the Cambria 2 booster is high-quality made and assures of its product quality as well.

It’s also lightweight, only 12.1 pounds. But don’t take it to the airplane. The booster car seats are not FAA approved for aircraft use. They require a shoulder belt strap for installation, while this is lacking on airplanes.

2. Graco Affix

Graco Affix High Back Booster

Graco Affix

One of the best high back boosters around and the people’s champion, the Graco Affix deals in extended travel and a whole lot of protection for big kids. Its budget price and light weight are perfect for saving money, especially if you need to switch it between different cars.

$84.99

Weight Limit

40-100 lb.

Height Limit

43 - 57"

Lifespan

10 years

Type

Booster

Stage

3rd

Age Range

4 ~ 10 years old

The Graco Affix was designed for children between 40-100 pounds with a height limit of 57 inches. It’s a 2-in-1 booster seat with a LATCH system for easy installation. 

But this is not the reason that Graco Affix earns its reputation among parents and popularity among kids to be one of the best booster car seats.

This booster seat is Graco ProtectPlus Engineered and boasts of its best safety ratings. Why do we say this and what does the ProtectPlus mean? The ProtectPlus is a system that meets or exceeds the most rigorous crash testing standards from all sides, frontal, side, rear, and rollover, including the US and European crash standards. 

But the side-impact crash test is generally done for the 5-point harness, not for the booster seats. As you know the Graco Affix is just a booster car seat, no matter in high back mode or backless mode, no harness is found in this car seat. 

But we do believe the Graco Affix provides side impact protection. Sometimes, the headrest plays the role to deliver protection in case of any crashes by keeping the child’s head, body, and torso steady and stable in the car seat. 

The thickly padded headrest also holds the little passenger’s head upright even when they fall asleep, avoiding the heads flop forward and the neck dangling.

The Graco Affix includes LATCH connectors for easy installation and it’s okay if you want to install it with the vehicle’s lap/shoulder belt, which we think is better for installing a booster seat. 

It’s lightweight, portable, and friendly to switch between different cars. But you should not use this booster car seat on an airplane, which lacks the shoulder belt for proper installation for security.

Backless Booster

1. Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster Car Seat

Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster

Graco TurboBooster

Award: Best Backless Booster

If you’re looking for a backless booster for big kids, with a wallet-friendly price of $24.99, you can’t go far wrong with the Graco TurboBooster. Delivering comfort alongside safety, this is really a money saver. Safe, lightweight, and seriously protective, it is a perfect, child-friendly booster seat.

$24.99

Weight Limit

40-100 lb.

Height Limit

43 to 57"

Lifespan

10 years

Type

Booster

Stage

3rd

Age Range

4 ~ 10 years old

Graco TurboBooster is one of the best backless booster seats for big kids. It’s applicable for the third stage only and can be used until your child outgrows the 100-lb weight limit or 57-inch height limit.

The backless booster car seat is lightweight and very portable. So does the TurboBooster. Weighing only 5.1 lbs, you can easily install and uninstall and switch it between different vehicles. 

The installation is so easy thanks to the TurboBooster’s lap belt-guides assistance. You don’t need to put much effort into installing a backless booster at a proper position. 

To keep your child comfortable in this car seat booster backless, the Graco manufactured it with thick padding. The armrests are adjustable in various height positions to fit your child’s growth. 

Two cup holders remain on both sides to hold your kid’s drinks and snacks within effortless reach.

The manufacturer boasts that it’s Graco ProtectPlus Engineered for protection in frontal, side, rear & rollover crashes. We don’t think this backless toddler booster car seat can achieve these security purposes at last. 

Side impact protection is commonly related to the 5-point harness, which is not available in a backless child car seat booster seat

You should know that Graco TurboBooster is not approved for aircraft use. All the kids’ booster car seats must use the lap and shoulder seat belt for installation, while the airplane only provides the lap belt for securing the passengers. 

So you’ll see that all the toddler booster car seats without a harness are not compatible with airplane use in their user manuals.

2. Chicco GoFit Plus Backless Booster Car Seat

GoFit Plus Backless Booster

Chicco GoFit Plus

Design with the kid’s safety and the parent’s convenience in mind and sporting a lightweight build, machine washable fabrics, and an easy carry handle, the Chicco GoFit is exactly waht it promises to be: a portable budget toddler booster seat. It’s a no-fuss option that’s ideal for big kids until they weighs 100 pounds or grows to 57 inches.

$49.99

Weight Limit

40-110 lb.

Height Limit

38 to 57"

Lifespan

8 years

Type

Booster

Stage

3rd

Age Range

4 ~ 10 years old

The Chicco GoFit Plus is another option of the best booster seat for children older than 4 years old. Just like other car seat booster backless, the GoFit Plus is very lightweight, making it a great portable car seat. Along with the built-in carry handle, it’s even more convenient than the Graco TurboBooster backless. 

Of course, the switch between multiple vehicles can be easily done in seconds, thanks to the quick-release LATCH system. It can be installed with the LATCH and vehicle seat belt. Make sure you install this child car seat booster seat with both lap and shoulder belts for stable and proper fit. 

All the kid’s booster car seats require lap and shoulder belts for installation. That’s why they’re not certified for aircraft use. There is only a lap belt on an airplane. It’s not safe to install a child booster car seat with only a lap belt. This is not allowed.

The GoFit Plus was designed to deliver the best comfort for big kids. It features Chicco’s ErgoBoost technique with plenty of double foam padding. 

Made of machine-washable fabrics, it’s easy to wash the GoFit Plus and keep it clean and comfortable for your child to stay in it. There are two CupFolders, which are removable and dishwasher-safe for machine washing. 

The CupFolders of GoFit Plus backless booster seat is convenient within easy touch for drinks and snacks. 

It’s a pity that you can take this portable car seat for airplane use. Kids booster car seats generally need shoulder belts for a proper installation, while the airplane lack shoulder belts and only lap belts available for a security. 

But this does not affect the GoFit Plus to be a great car seat booster backless.

When to Buy a Booster Seat

When your child outgrows the weight or height limit of the forward-facing child safety seat with a harness, it’s time to convert to a booster seat. 

This generally happens during your child’s 4-5 ages, some big or tall kids may need a booster seat when they’re 3 years old because they reach the forward-facing seat limitations faster.

However, it’s not recommended to rush to move your child to a booster seat before they’re ready. And the child safety experts suggest keeping your child in a harness seat as long as possible.

Of course, you need to prepare the booster seat before your child needs it. If you have used a combination seat that supports booster mode, like all-in-one convertible seats, you don’t buy another booster seat anyway, just remove the harness and transition it to booster mode.

Things to Consider to Look for the Best Booster Car Seats

Your Child

You should always take your child’s weight and height into consideration before picking up an appropriate booster seat, after all, it’s them who stay in the car seat for a long time. Your child’s age is a useful reference, some booster car seats states their age requirements, like 2 years or 4 years old. If your child grows faster and taller, you might need a booster seat that features a higher weight/height limit and is great for big kids.

Your Vehicle

Even the booster seats are not as bulky as convertible car seats, they come with different sizes and design. Some booster seats feature a wide width may not fit well for compact cars, especially those boosters with two built-in cup holders on both sides, they may not even fit 3-across.

Growing with your child

As your child grows, they may not want to stay in a car seats with backrest, a booster seat that can be used in high-back and backless modes are preferable at this time.

Your Budget

The booster seats are priced in a wide range. Some have a cheap price under $100, even under $50; a few costs hundreds of dollars with premium materials and additional features. But you can always find a suitable and safe booster seat within your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions on Booster Seats

You can always find the minimum weight and height limitations of a booster seat in its product description, 30 pounds or 40 pounds for most booster seats. Generally, if your child’s weight or height falls into the range, you can move him/her to the booster.

Some booster seats may also state an age requirement, like the Britax Pinnacle ClickTight for 2+ years toddlers and Clek Oobr for 4+ years kids.

It’s strongly recommended to keep your child in a harness seat as long as possible before moving them to a booster seat, even if their weight, height or age has reached the minimum requirements.

The answer depends on your child’s size and age, and the law in your state. Laws aside, kids aren’t ready to switch from a booster seat to seat belts until they’re at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and can pass the five-step test below – typically between ages 8 and 10.

To judge whether your child is ready to ride with a seat belt alone, test the fit of your vehicle’s belts from time to time. Buckle your child into the back seat without a booster seat, and consider the following:

Does he sit all the way back against the car’s seat?

Do his knees bend comfortably at the edge of the seat?

Does the lap belt naturally rest below his belly, touching the top of his thighs?

Is the shoulder belt centered across his shoulder and chest?

Can he stay seated like this for the whole trip?

If you answer no to any of these questions, your child should still stay in the booster.

The short answer is yes. All child safety seats have a life-span after they leave the factory where they are manufactured. Most manufacturer have stated an expiration date on the seat, or mold it onto the shell on the back of the seat, some even introduce on their official site. We also include the lifespan for most booster seats in our list. If you can’t find it online, you can call the customer service for help to check. The expiration date of most booster seats is six (6) years from the date of manufacturer, if it is not specifically announced.

That depends. Generally, when your child’s size (weight and height)  meets the low requirements of a booster car seat, you can switch a booster seat for him/her. But it’s always recommended to keep your child in the last stage of forward-facing harness seat as long as possible. Or you can ride them in some booster seats with a 5-point harness, like the Chicco MyFit.

That depends on the highway safety law of each state. Every US state has made the laws to require the driver or operator to ride the children with a child passenger safety restraint system, like a car seat or booster seat or travel vest. In most states, the child less than 57 inches in height are required to stay in a booster seat. This may vary based on each state’s specific requirements, and you can read our car seat laws to find the local of your state.

Actually, all the booster seats meet the federal safety standards and go through rigorous tests before it selling on the market. The safest seat is the one that fits your child’s age, weight, height and behavioural maturity, can be properly installed in your vehicle and will be used correctly every time the child rides in it.