Booster seats are those that should replace your child’s convertible once he/she outgrows them. These, unlike the infant car seats and the convertibles depend on your vehicle’s seat belt to secure your baby. You will be able to find three types of booster seats: the backless booster seats, the high backed belt positioning booster seats and the combination booster seats. Each of these boosters serves children of different heights and weights. Some of these serves well as booster seats for toddlers while some others work well for a little grown up kids.
The backless booster car seats act as specialized cushions for children to sit on. It raises the child up off your vehicle seat thereby giving a better seat belt fit. Backless boosters have seat belt guides and in some, the arm rests serve this purpose. These boosters are light weight, compact and cheap when compared to the belt positioning and combination ones. They are easy to carry around and store and also takes up very little space of your vehicle. Elder kids would prefer these as they do not make them look like babies.
Backless boosters are not a good choice when it comes to selecting a toddler booster car seat. It obviously does not look babyish but the real reasons are the lack of proper back support and the extreme dependency on your vehicle’s seat belt to keep your child in place. They also do not come with the various safety features like the side impact cushion, comfortable head rest or the very essential harness system.
The belt positioning booster is a high back booster car seat that provides good support to your child’s back and head. In most models the back support can be removed allowing you to turn it in to a backless booster. This feature can prove helpful when you are traveling and need to carry the car seat without occupying much space. Though some manufacturers promote these as booster seats for toddlers, the belt positioning booster does not add to the safety of your toddler in any way better than the backless booster.
The combination boosters like the Britax frontier 85 combination booster car seat serve the purpose of a toddler booster seat very well. The frontier 85 seats are forward facing only and can be used effectively for babies weighing in the range of 25 to 85 lbs and within the height range of 42 to 65 inches. It can also be used for older kids weighing not more than 120 pounds. Combination boosters from Britax employ the five point harness system for toddlers and can also be used without the harness to function as a belt positioning booster for elder kids.
In addition to the five point harness system, Britax combination booster allows to adjust the harness to ten positions. These booster seats literally grow with your child. Your child can benefit from these combination seats for quite a long period. HUGS – Harness Ultra Guard System and the Versa tether (patented technology from Britax) are two other features that you can look for in a combination booster for your toddler.
Kids at this age when they can fit in a combination booster will be very much active. Combination boosters with washable covers will help you keep the booster seat clean. Choosing one with dark colors would be a better option. Ease of installation is another factor that should not be forgotten. Try to get a combination booster that does not need re-threading each time you adjust the height and head restraint. The ones with push buttons for connecting and disconnecting various parts can save you much time and energy.
Some booster seats come with accessories that help you position your infant in the harness system. Though this might look like a good choice which will help you save money, it is not recommended by experts. Booster seats be it high back belt positioning ones or the more effective combination boosters, cannot provide the recline positions that are required to keep an infant safe. You might want to read Britax frontier 85 reviews here.
Not to be omitted is the bulkiness of the combination booster seat you select. If your car is not big and spacious enough to fit a combination booster leaving enough space for other passengers, you might look for booster seats from other manufacturers. Combination boosters of course occupy more space than the infant car seats and the convertibles. Some of them also come with additional features like integrated cup holders, adding to the convenience these products provide.
Combination boosters are preferred over the other boosters mainly due to the high backs and adjustable head rests. Studies show that high back boosters provide better safety to children during side impacts. Though you can not remove the high back of the combination seats for ease of storage, they sure are the best booster seats for toddlers.