Having a baby use a proper fitting car seat is extremely important to their safety. This seat is their main line of defense in the case of a collision. But did you know that car seat safety doesn’t end after your child grows up? The next natural option for big kids is a child booster seat. These booster seats were specifically designed to support older children while also giving them enough mobility to move around a little bit. This is important because as your child grows, so does their sense of independence. Big kids don’t want to be strapped down the same way they were when they were babies, so finding the best child booster seat that keeps them safe while also harnessing their curiosity is a major plus.
What types of child booster seats are there?
There are a couple different styles of booster seats out there, all ranging in prices and features. Here are some of the main ones that you will see while shopping around:
- High back booster:
High back booster seats resemble the car seats that your child may be used to seeing. This will help to make the transition from front facing car seat to rear facing car seat go a little bit smoother. High back car seats feature a booster seat base with a high cushioned back. These types of car seats are a great choice for families who tend to do a lot of traveling. This is because the high backs offer amazing support and comfort and the neck and head support lets your child have the option of napping without tipping over.
- Base booster seat:
A base booster seat is a pretty standard seat and often times are on the lower end of the price scale which makes them perfection options for families on a budget. These boosters feature on a base seat that uses your cars buckle system to keep it in place. While they are a little harder to fall asleep in, they do have their own benefits. One of the best things about these booster seats is that they are small enough to travel with which makes them perfect for city living. Also, because these booster seats take up less space, they are great for families with two of more children or families with a smaller vehicle.
- Convertible booster seat:
Convertible booster seats give you the most amounts of options when it comes to customizing your child’s traveling experience. Some convertible booster seats start out as rear facing infant seats which is a great budget friendly option. The most popular style of convertible booster seat is the high back to no back booster seat. These seats start out as high back seats which offer all of that amazing neck and back support but also allow you to remove the back seat which will let you use the seat for a long period of time. This is also a great option for traveling families because you can transfer just the base seat from vehicle to vehicle with ease.
What to look for in the best child booster seat?
When shopping around for a great booster seat for your “little” big kid, there are a few key features that you should keep in mind. Here are some great things to look out for:
- Buckle System:
Most big kid booster seats work with your car’s own buckle system to help to keep them secure. This unlike traditional car seats that come with their own set of buckles and harness systems. Some big kid booster seats, however, do have a pull over buckle option which is perfect for big kids who can’t seem to sit still. When buying a booster seat check to make sure that they have a hook and loop system which helps to keep the buckle securely in place. This will also help to keep the strap from falling off their shoulder. The most common mistake that many parents make when it comes to car ride safety is an ill fitting buckle system. This little loop system will help to take the guesswork out of whether or not your child is buckled correctly.
- Easy to clean:
Just like a traditional child car seat, you should make sure that your big kid booster seat is easy to clean. Older kids are often times more messy than baby’s so having a booster with removable fabrics that are washable are a major plus. Also, booster seats don’t have as many date restrictions on them as car seats do, so when you buy one that is not only easy to clean but also durable, you will find that you have a booster that can be reused again and again.
- Cup holders:
Cup holders may seem like a trivial concern, but they can make all the difference in the world between a big kid meltdown and a smooth road trip. Having cup holders is a great thing to have because big kids eat and drink a lot and having a place to securely keep these containers will save you, and your car’s interior, from a world of grief.
- Designs and patterns:
While most traditional car seats tend to stick to a very neutral color pallet, child booster seats tend to show a little more flair. This is the perfect opportunity to let your child express themselves by picking out their favorite colors and designs. No need to worry about the booster seat clashing with your car either, because these seats are only temporary.
- Cushioned padding:
Bigger kids are a little more sensitive than babies are, and they are vocal about it. There are little things worse than investing in an expensive car seat only to find that your child doesn’t find it comfortable at all. To avoid this, try to find the best child booster seat that has a nice layer of foam in the bottom. Some are even fitted with memory foam which will contour to your child’s body and make them even more comfortable.
- Safety testing:
Lastly, when buying a great child booster seat, make sure that you check to see that it has passed all standard safety and performance tests. This is really important because unlike traditional car seats, big kid booster seats do not have as much side impact protection so you need to be sure that the one you buy will do its best to keep your child safe.
When it comes to actually shopping for the best child booster seat, the best way to tell if you have found a truly great one is to see what other parents had to say about it. Here are some top selling child booster seats available today:
Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat
The Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat is one of the most popular selling booster seats available today. With all of the amazing features combined with how easy it is to use, there is no surprise why parents keep going back to this one time and time again. This is a standard backless booster seat and the best part is, it only takes seconds to install. All you have to do is simply place it on the seat where your child sits and you’re done. To buckle them in, you use your car’s own buckles and run it across their chest, making sure that the straps are safely tucked under the arm rests. This booster seat even comes with a little plastic loop latch that attaches to the top of the strap to keep it in place. The strap on this loop connects to the seat and is adjustable so that no matter your child’s height, they will always have a snug ride.
The base of the Graco Backless TurboBooster Car seat is covered in comfort foam which will support your child’s bottom and will keep them comfy even on long car rides. There are also two cup holders on either side of the seat which is a perfect place for a bottle of water and a cup of snacks. This booster seat has been rigorously test to meet and exceed all safety standards and has even been crash tested to give you that little extra peace of mind. This seat will properly support your child from ages 4-10 and all the way up to 100lbs! Best of all, your child will love choosing from the black, green, or even the dinosaur patterned fabric cover!
Why should you buy it? Here is what other parents had to say about the Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat:
- Perfect booster seat
- Lightweight enough for travel
- Lasts a long time
- Easy to clean
- Very comfortable
- Doesn’t offer enough support
- No headrest
Evenflo Spectrum 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat
The Evenflo Spectrum 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat is the perfection option when it comes to high back booster seats that offer amazing comfort and style. One of the coolest things about this booster seat is that it comes in a variety of bright colors for your big kid to fall in love with. From the bright and bubbly blue to the poppy pink; you are sure to find one that not only matches your child’s style but will also give your car a little pop of color. This is just one of the reasons why this is the best child booster seat out there. The one feature that helps to set this booster apart from others on this list is the versatility. This 2 in 1 design allows you to use this booster seat two different ways. The high back option is great for children who are just starting out in a booster, while the removable back in great for big kids who want a little more mobility.
When it comes to safety testing, the Evenflo Spectrum 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat is sure to put your mind at ease. Not only did this booster seat exceed all standard and federal safety standards, it also was tested highly for side impact safety. Best of all, this car seat even passed the standard roll over testing which means that you will have one less thing to worry about when traveling with your child. The fabric of this booster seat is amazing as well. This is because it is fitted with advanced compression technology that not only will keep your child safe but also comfortable all day long. This breathable material also allows for air flow which will help to keep your child cool. You will also love that this base has small slits which allow for your car’s buckle to pass through them snugly so that you know the buckles will stay perfectly in place.
What makes the Evenflo Spectrum 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat the best child booster seat? Here are some reasons why other parents put their trust in it:
- Extra large for comfort
- Cool colors
- Head rest is perfect
- Feels like a race car seat
- Hidden snack compartments are great
- Too big for small cars
- Feels flimsy
- Too heavy, not great for transferring from car to car
Mifold Grab-and-Go Booster Seat
If you are in the market for something completely unique and different when it comes to child booster seats, then you need to check out the Mifold Grab-and-Go Booster Seat. In fact, this doesn’t even look like a booster seat at all! This booster seat folds down completely flat and compact so that if can even fit in your purse or diaper bag. This is one of the many reasons why parents say that this is the best child booster seat for traveling families or families who live in a city. Families who have to use public transportation know the fear that comes along with whether or not your child is safe. Often times dragging around bulky booster seats from cab to cab and across packed cities is a nightmare. This booster seat unfolds into a booster seat that will comfortably fit in any car or car.
If you are worried about your child being protect when using the Mifold Grab-and-Go Booster seat, have no fear! This booster seat is just as safe as any other one available on the market and is 10 xs smaller. Once the booster seat is folded out, there are two belt adjusters on either side which will allow you to latch the seat into any vehicle snuggly. While the base is thin and doesn’t look very supportive, it is actually very comfortable. This is because this booster seat uses supportive dense foam that will not only keep your child comfortable, it also prevents the seat from slipping and sliding around which will help to keep your child safely in place. You know that you child will be supported because of the special aluminum that this booster seat is made with; it is actually the same materials that are used to construct aircrafts. Overall, with this booster seat you cannot be the convenience and safety.
Is this the right booster for you? Here is what other parents had to say about the Mifold Grab-and-Go Booster Seat:
- Easy to unfold
- Perfect to take on trips
- Fits in any bag
- Super lightweight
- Hard to buckle
- Doesn’t have any head support
Cosco Topside Booster Car Seat
The Cosco Topside Booster Cat Seat is a great budget friendly option for your entire child’s traveling needs. Parents love this big kid booster seat because of the extra plush pad. The base of this seat is covered in plush padding that is super thick so that your child can feel comfortable even through all of the bumps and lumps along any long road trip. Even the arm rests that are located on either side of the seat are covered in the same padding so that you know whatever position your child is in, that they will always feel super supported. You will also love the color options that you get when purchasing this big kid booster seat. The bright teal is a great addition, while the pop of purple is perfect for any adventurous child.
While the Cosco Topside Booster Car Seat is pretty basic when it comes to car seats, it is completely safe. This is because it has passed all federal and standard safety tests with flying colors. You will also love that this seat promises to never leave and marks or weird dents on your car’s seat so that once you are ready to take it out, there will be no lingering evidence of a booster seat. The only real downside to this booster seat is that it doesn’t have any additional features like cup holders or snack trays, but that is one of the reasons why Cosco has managed to keep the cost so low. This booster seat can be yours for around $15 which isn’t too shabby.
What makes the Cosco Topside Booster Car Seat the best child booster seat? Here are some things that other parents had to say about it:
- Super cute colors
- Great product and trusted brand
- Perfect for travel
- Very lightweight
- No cup holders
- Seems cheap
Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 Belt-Positioning Booster
If you are looking for a high end luxury child booster seat, then you should check out the Britax Parkway Belt-Positioning Booster. This high back booster seat offers all of the comfort and style that you would hope to see out of a top of the line booster seat. First thing to note is the fabric that covers this seat. The stylish black, almost mesh looking fabric is completely breathable. This allows for amazing air flow to your child’s body so that they won’t get overheated during long drives in the warmer months. This amazing fabric is also waterproof so you don’t have to worry about ruining the booster with just a couple of spills. Along with the fabric, your child can also have the luxury of two separate retractable cup holders that are located on either side of the seat. You will also love that this seat is at a bit of a angle which allows for the most natural seated position for your child which is sure to be the most comfortable.
What the Britax Parkway Booster offers in style, it more than matches in safety. This is because of the specially designed safe cell impact protection that is offered with this booster helping to make it the best child booster seat around. This impact protection works in partnership with the seat base which is meant to absorb energy and push it away from your child’s body helping to keep them out of harm’s way. Along with the impact base, you can also rest easy knowing that this booster also has amazing side impact protection. Not only does the deep lined foam that covers this seat offer superior comfort, it also works to create a shell of protection around your child to keep them safe. This is especially true when it comes to the head and neck rest where the foam can be found. This way you can know that your child’s neck is always being properly supported and protected.
Is this the right one for you? Here is what other parents had to say about the Britax Parkway Booster:
- Classic black styling
- Amazing protection
- Very comfortable
- Headrest fits child’s head perfectly
- Easy to install
- Seems expensive
- Heavy and bulky
Safety 1st Store and Go Backless Booster Car Seat
More recently parents have been raving about the Safety 1st Store and Go Backless Booster Car Seat. This is because it can be hard to find child booster seats that offer something different from the others available on the market. That is why Safety 1st set out to make an amazing child booster seat that has a little hidden surprise underneath. Under the base of the child booster seat you will find a little drawer. This drawer is the perfect place to keep little toys and other things to keep your child occupied. During long car trips, parents know how hard it is for little ones to not get frustrated or bored. With this big kid booster seat, you can throw some crayons and coloring books easily in the little storage drawer so that your child always has something to do on the road. Best of all, you won’t have to be stopping all the time to try to find books that your child misplaces because they can literally take them with them everywhere they go.
Along with having a really cool drawer, the Safety 1st Store and Go Backless Booster Car Seat has other features that are sure to make your trips seem shorter. With this child booster seat you get two cup holders that are located right on the sides. While these cup holders don’t retract like others on this list, they are nice sized cup holders that are also easy to clean. Your child will love the extra padded seat cushion that is located right on the top of the seat. This seat cushion is important because this booster seat is made out of a harder plastic so that it is durable, so it really needs that extra bit of padding to help make it comfortable. To install this booster in your vehicle, all you need to do is simply put it on the seat and use your car’s belt system as a guide to keep it in place. A secure fit is guaranteed by the seatbelt positioning strap that will prevent the seatbelt from sliding down, even on shorter kids. This belt positioning booster is great for big kids from 40lbs to 100lbs making it perfect to last your child for years.
Why should you give it a try? Here is what other parents have to say about the Safety 1st Store and Go Backless Booster Seat:
- Fantastic purchase
- The drawer is a perfect size
- Budget friendly
- Bright color selections
- Perfect for traveling families
- Feels cheap
- Plastic is too hard
Wrapping it up!
Buying the best child booster seat for your big kid is more than just giving them a safe place to sit. It is acknowledging that they are growing up and getting ready to take on more responsibility. It is another milestone on their way to becoming amazing young kids. So make sure that you are doing your child justice by finding a great child booster seat that will keep them safe and comfortable. It also is a good rule of thumb to find a great booster seat that also makes it easy to little handles to buckle themselves. This way they can learn the responsibility that comes along with taking safety seriously. Good luck and take care!