Everyone wants their children to be safe and choosing the best booster seat is a very important part of this process. The search for the best booster seat can be daunting with so many to choose from. Our panel of parents and their children evaluated highback booster seats that convert to lowback boosters to come up with the top three booster seats for 2014. The seats were tested in different cars and SUV's, with different aged children and were evaluated by Sonoma County Child Safety Seat Technician Pat Moffitt. Each of these seats come from forward-thinking companies that initiated side impact protection tests (soon to be a NHTSA requirement) and was highly rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The bottom line is finding a car seat that fits your child and your car. As children grow, how they sit in your car will change. Make sure the car seat you purchase is designed to fit your child’s current size and age and that the car seat is the right fit for your vehicle. The middle back seat is the safest place in the car so start by fitting the seat in this location. The back of the booster seat should fit snugly against your car seat. You may need to remove a headrest to get the best fit in highback mode. If you have more than one seat or don’t have the center option, remember that chairs with high side panels or cup holders may hit the inside of your door panel. All car seats have an expiration date as the plastic and other parts can break down. Most are six years from the manufacture date, however some have a year or two less or more. Just check the sticker on the bottom of the seat for the date.
Newer cars may come with a latch system. This system was designed to help secure car seats quickly and easily every time. Recently there has been some controversy over recommended changes for using seats in the latch mode. You can read more about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines here.
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Combi Kobuk Booster Seat
The Combi Kobuk Booster Seat features air through pads that are very effective at keeping your child at a comfortable temperature. The cover is also easy to remove and wash. The large side wings offer improved side impact safety and are helpful as a support if your child falls asleep in the car. This seat was the best fit in the center seat in all vehicles tested. Kids loved the removable cup holder!
Height: 33-57 inches
Weight: 33-125 pounds
Weight of booster:11.6 pounds
Deep side wings for Tru-Safe® side impact protection.
The Clek Oobr Fullback Booster
The Clek Oobr Fullback Booster Seat is easy to install and offers a Rigid LATCH system that you can hear click into place. It offers a recline feature that can help protect your child if they fall asleep by keeping their head back. The material used on the booster is resistant to stains and moisture and comes in a variety of fun solid colors, designer patterns and materials. Travel bags are also available.
Height: 38 to 57 inches
Weight: 33 to 100 pounds
Weight of booster: 20 pounds
Magnesium back frame
Available online and at specialty retailers.
Suggested retail price ranges from $249.99 to $349.99, leather edition is $549.99
Safety 1st Boost Air Protect
Safety 1st Boost Air Protect Booster Car Seat has large air cushions on the sides to add safety and support if the child falls asleep. Cup holders pull out from under seat on each and can be pushed under the seat when not in use, making it easier to fit into the car seat in all positions.
Height: 34 to 57 inches
Weight: 30-100 lbs
Product weight is 10 lbs
Side Impact Protection: Air Protect®