How to Choose a Booster Car Seat
There are so many booster seat options on the market it can be hard to know where to start when shopping for this important piece of safety equipment. Here are some tips to make the experience a little easier.
First, don’t transition your child too early. At a minimum, your child should be 4 years old to use a booster seat. Your child must be mature enough to sit in the booster seat with the seat belt in the proper position—without putting it under their arm, behind their back or slouching.
Second, make sure your child fits in the booster properly. Belt-positioning booster seats are all about proper seat belt fit. Booster seats are designed to make your little one a little taller so they can use the lap/shoulder seat belt, which is designed to fit an adult rather than a child. The lap belt should be low and snug across the hips (not across the belly) and the shoulder belt should cross the chest and shoulder (not the neck and face). Every booster seat fits in every vehicle differently, so ideally, ask the store if you can take it out to your car to test-fit with your child.
Related Article: What to Do When Your Child Grows Out of a Car Seat
Once you’ve achieved proper belt fit, there are many other features to consider:
Combination car seats are forward-facing only car seats that allow you to use a harness for your child and then remove the harness to use the seat as a booster. Upper weight limits on the harness will vary. Using a car seat with a higher weight rating for the harness (over 40 lb) will allow you to transition your child into a booster seat later on, keeping them in a harness longer.
High-back booster vs. no-back booster
You’ll need a high-back booster seat if your vehicle lacks a headrest for the seating position your child will be using (uncommon with most newer vehicles but more likely in older vehicles or pickup trucks). Otherwise, high-back boosters are a smart choice when first transitioning a child to a booster and are also helpful if your child is prone to napping in the car. Compact and easy to store, no-back boosters are a great option for travel or to have on-hand if you frequently carpool with other booster-age kids.
Combination car seats often allow the use of the lower anchors and tether in booster mode. When used with a booster, lower anchors are not designed to help with crash safety for the child (the seat belt protects the child in a crash, which is why it is important that it fits right). However, lower anchors are designed to keep the booster seat in place without shifting. This is helpful when your independent child wants to climb in and buckle the seat belt on their own. Lower anchors are also helpful in keeping the booster seat tied down when not in use, so that it won’t become a projectile in the case of a crash. Another plus: you won’t need to remember to buckle the seat in every time it’s not in use.
This might not sound as important but as safety advocates, we know booster seats are proven to be more effective than seat belts alone for kids ages 4 through 8. But we also know that older kids don’t want to look or feel like babies in the car. To encourage kids to be excited about using boosters, Evenflo has added fun colors and fashions as well as cup and snack holders. If possible, bring your child with you when shopping for their new seat. Allowing them to help with the decision can make them more interested in using the booster seat.
Is your child ready to transition to a booster car seat? Equip them with a booster car seat that is safe yet cool by shopping our Evenflo Booster Car Seat selection!