Buying Guide: Top Booster Seats for Supplementary Seating in the Car or at the Dinner Table
One of the most difficult aspects about being a parent isn’t just providing the basic amenities to our children. Well, kind of. The problem is that in trying to accomplish this, we have to transition them depending on their age and need. That’s a massive problem. For instance, going from a bottle to a sippy cup, diapers to a training potty, and the slow process of handing over more responsibilities to our young ones, even if we are unsure of how they will do. One transition which we often overlook, but one that is very important if you are concerned about safety, is transitioning from a car seat and a high chair, to a booster seat.
Booster seats serve a very intermediate purpose, but are very important none the less if you are concerned with safety. Squeezing over sized children into small seats? Bad. Awkwardly seating smaller children so that they can sit in a functional manner. Very bad. That says nothing about the actual process of scrutinizing and purchasing the booster itself. Do not fret however, as this guide will give you a detailed script on just how to go about with the transition process, as well as what features to look for when you are trying to pick the best one. Or if your particularly lazy, you can just look at our top 5 best booster seat list, since we’ve done all of the work already for you!
Top 5 Models
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B004FN0ZD0″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Uz0Mx569L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”strollerparking-20″ width=”120″]
The First Years Compass B540 Booster Seat
The Compass B540 by The First Years is an incredibly popular, car compatible high back booster seat. One of the issues which plagues boosters is that they can be cumbersome to use, however that isn’t so with the B540, which received a 5 star government rating for effective handling. It is also extremely comfortable to sit in, and has a nice price range.
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00B507DN6″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41cY15tbwpL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”strollerparking-20″ width=”121″]
RECARO Performance SPORT
The Peformance Sport by Recaro is an incredibly comfortable, padded, bulky high back booster. It comes with just about everything you could possibly expect out of a model, including mesh storage. The price tag can be a bit too high for some people’s tastes however.
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00D04R1MS” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41RhTkwsAeL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”strollerparking-20″ width=”113″]
Britax Parkway SGL Belt-Positioning Seat
A mid tier model by Britax, the Parkway SGLhas won critical approval for its safety features, as well as its easy to position functional operation. Although not the most comfortable seat, it is one of the best models you can buy if your primary concern is safety.
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B006QSDLNI” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41JFVgzBBrL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”strollerparking-20″ width=”160″]
Evenflo Amp Performance Car Seat
The Amp Performance by Evenflo is the first no-back booster seat on this list, mostly because I really like high backs, but also because of how functional this particular model is. Aside from being quite comfortable, its very sturdy and comes at a cheap price.
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00H8MSLE0″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41F6M7wVrPL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”strollerparking-20″ width=”160″]
Graco Affix Backless
The next backless model in our lineup is the Graco Affix, which comes with a patented latch system and comfortable, big kid seating. The Affix is designed for older kids between 40 to 100 pounds, which limits its use, but is still wildly popular in the U.S.
There are two types of booster seats, well 3 if you include the hybrid style. Which style you go for will entirely depend on your needs and preferences, and maybe even the tastes that your children are starting to develop.
High-Back Seats: High-back’s look very much like car seats, but have a few key differences. First, they do not actually hook into the car itself, but the seat belt goes over top of the child and secures everything into place. The difference between these and backless versions, is that they have an elevated headrest and a guide which gives an easier avenue for the seatbelt to go over the torso.
Backless Seats: Backless boosters are designed with a simple prospect in mind, to elevate kids so that they can stand at suitable heights. They look nothing like car seats, and this is on purpose, as they can easily transition from being used in vehicles, to being positioned in a chair at dinner time. Looking like little more than raised plastic with arm rests, they allow young ones to reach their plate, or for seat belts to fit them properly.
Combination: These are simply boosters which can transition from backless versions, to high back versions, depending on the need. These are height adjustable and very versatile, a major plus if you’re a parent with a tight budget or with many kids.
Transitioning to a Booster, and Away From One
Never remaining in any fixed state for too long, you’ll have to delicately balance the transition of moving your children from a car seat to a booster seat, and then away from supplementary seating entirely.
The first rule that you should adhere by when it comes to the transition process, is that you cannot go by age restrictions, or weight restrictions, but a careful balance between the two. A 20 pound 4 year old for instance, should definitely be in a car seat, and not a booster seat. Once you understand these processes, the transition can begin.
Key aspects to look for is if your children are above the limits of height and weight specified by the manufacturer, and if the child’s shoulders rise above the highest slots of the shoulder harness on the car seat. Getting them in for the first time can be a bit difficult if they’ve never sat in a booster before, but they will be comfortable with the whole process after one or two attempts.
Booster seats should last you about four to six years, and transitioning away from a booster is much easier than transitioning them into one, as they will have already had the normal seating position down and by this time, will be itching at the opportunity to sit like an adult. However, don’t shoot the gun off too early, children should be at least 57 inches tall before the change. A few other features to look for to give you an indication that it is time to make the switch, is if you are able to safely position a seat belt across the shoulder of your child, and not higher. The lap belt is able to safely go across the child’s thigh and not the belly. Your child doesn’t complain of any discomfort or rashes during intermediate to long tips.