Best High Back Booster Seats: The Safest Option for Growing Kids
Keep your child safe and snug with these high-back booster seats
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If your child has outgrown a harnessed child seat, it's time for an upgrade with a high back booster seat. It's the next step before he or she becomes older and tall enough to wear a seat belt. With a high booster seat, your child will be safe and comfortable during the ride. His or her back and neck will have the needed support, and the extra padded sides will protect against impact. To help you choose the best one, we list the top high back booster seats on the market.
This high back booster seat easily adjusts to your child's needs. It's comfortable, secure, and stable in the vehicle. It meets U.S. safety standards and is for children 3-10 years old.
- Includes energy-absorbing foam for ultimate protection
- The Latch System ensures more stability
- Easy to set up
- Has adjustable parts for more comfort and a better fit to the vehicle
- Includes detachable back support, machine washable cover, and a cup holder
- Available in four colors
- Latch straps might loosen a bit after some time
- Headrest slips when in the uppermost position
- Armrests are not adjustable
This convertible booster seat is designed for children who are at least four years old and under 110 pounds. The back of the booster seat is removable.
- Easy to install and remove from your vehicle
- Has a small footprint, so occupants can comfortably sit on either side of it
- Back has six adjustable positions
- Not as cushioned as some rival brands,
- Back is a little flimsy
The Turbobooster is for kids weighing 30-100 pounds. It's a lighter version of a high booster seat that is very portable and easy to adjust. With a lot of extra and adjustable features, it grows with a child and makes a great long-term investment.
- Has energy-absorbing foam for safety and comfort
- Detachable back support
- Easy to carry and transport between vehicles
- Adjustable headrest and armrests enhance the overall comfort
- Open-loop belt guide helps with placing the seat belt correctly
- Has hide-away cup holders
- Machine washable
- Without the latch system, it uses only the seat belt
- high back might rattle when the seat is empty
- Seat belt might sometimes slip out of the guides
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Benefits of High Back Booster Seats
- Impact protection. Unlike a backless seat, a high back booster seat provides a solid base and sides to provide side-impact protection in the event of a collision.
- Support. Providing extra height means the adult seat belt supports your child in all the right places, with additional head, neck, and leg support in most seats.
- Comfort. Seat belts are uncomfortable to wear if you’re not quite tall enough because they don’t sit right. Booster seats include cushioning and padding, neck and head support, and even arm rests to remedy this.
- Versatility. High back booster seats are designed for taller children from around 3 years of age, but many designed for smaller children are convertible and will simply grow with your child.
- Cost-effective. Investing in a versatile, convertible car seat that grows with your child until it needs nothing but a backless booster seat is more cost-effective than buying a different car seat designed only for specific parts of their development.
Types of High Back Booster Seats
LATCH Connection System
The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system was developed by British car seat manufacturer, Britax. It uses fixed anchor points in the car—instead of the vehicle’s seat belts— to hold a car seat in place, and it’s considered an easier, more secure method of installation. It’s a legal requirement on all booster seats and cars made since September 2002.
Seat Belt Connection
Car seats that do not include LATCH connectors are fitted into the vehicle using the seat belt. Fixtures in the back and base of the booster seat hold the seatbelt in position, and the belt is fastened into the holster. This is how all car seats were installed before the introduction of the LATCH system described above, but the method is being phased out.
Not to be confused with the engineering and fluid handling specialists of the same name, the Graco company, which is known for baby goods, is owned by Newell Brands. Now based in High Point, N.C., the business was established in Philadelphia by Russell Gray and Robert Cone in 1942. They have made infant car seats since 1998, and their range includes the AFFIX High Back and Turbobooster models.
Britax is a British company that started making automotive safety products and accessories in 1938 and, since the 1970s, have specialized in car seats, strollers, and other childcare safety equipment. Britax invented the LATCH system and gave up its patent rights in 1988 to make way for U.S. LATCH Regulations. They make the SkyLine 2-Stage Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat and the Britax Frontier ClickTight, amongst many others.
Italian company Chicco has been making clothes and toys for babies and children since it was founded by Pietro Catelli to celebrate the birth of his son, Enrico, in 1958. The business is owned by Artsana, is headquartered in Lombardy, Italy, and has more than 300 shops in over 120 countries throughout the world. Some of their most popular models include the Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat and the MyFit Harness & Booster Car Seat.
High Back Booster Seat Pricing
- Budget (around $50): High back booster car seats are fairly basic in design and don't require any complicated parts, so it’s fairly easy to find budget models. But always check reviews and safety certificates.
- Mid-Range ($100-$200): Most high back booster seats fall into this price range. Expect recognizable brands, a steel frame, and many adjustable safety features.
- Premium ($200 and up): This is where you’ll find the very top end booster seats with extra features, like cup holders and stain-resistant, removable seat pads. This price point also includes convertible car seats that will grow with your child over a number of years.
As there are different types of car seat connection systems, it’s important to know which one you’re dealing with. Latch systems are considered safer, with some requiring the installation of a base before you can attach the seat. Others just need your vehicle to be compatible with its anchor points. Belt-positioning booster seats should be fairly universal.
You also need to know that the booster seat you’ve got your eye on will actually fit in your vehicle. Booster seats vary in base size, width, and height, and not every model is going to fit in every car. Some require your back seats to have a flush or removable headrest, for example.
Being able to adjust the headrest essentially means adjusting the height of the booster seat. Having an adjustable headrest means the seat can be made to accommodate your child for a much longer period of time.
The whole point of a high back booster seat is to protect and support your child during the time when, because of their height, they will not be sufficiently protected by the standard seat belt. As a result, most infant car seats offer side-impact protection around the sides, but only some offer additional support, like adjustable leg rests, wings to protect the head, and shoulder pads.
- Washable Covers. Easy-to-remove seat pads that can go straight in the washing machine with minimal fuss are a must-have for most parents.
- Portability. If you’re a two-car household or regularly have a grandparent driving your child around, you should probably choose a booster seat that is easily portable and transferable between vehicles.
- Comfort. In addition to superior safety features and impact protection, a booster car seat is also supposed to be more comfortable for your child. Additional options to consider include wings to support the head, arm rests, and extendable leg rests.
- Extra Features. Premium models include things like dual cup holders, activity trays, the ability to recline, and a whole host of other extra features.
Best High Back Booster Seats Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- When choosing a high back booster seat, look for side-impact protection. Both seat sides should have energy-absorbing foam cushions for ultimate protection. The extra padding should be located on the headrest and torso area as well.
- Look for the adjustable harness and headrest if you want your child to feel cozy in the seat. You should be able to adjust the parts according to your child's body. Also, look for extra features, such as armrests and cup holders, as they also enhance comfort.
- Pick a seat that is easy to wash. Look for the ones that have removable covers for easy cleaning or material that you can wash with soap and water.
- Pick a seat that matches your child's age, weight, and height. A seat with an adjustable harness and removable backrest is always an excellent choice. It allows you to adjust the parts as your child grows older, so you can use it for longer.
Q: What is a high-back booster seat?
A: It's a seat designed for children that have outgrown a traditional harnessed seat yet are still not big enough to ride without extra protection. A high-back booster seat is one of the last steps before a child starts sitting in the vehicle with only a seat belt. It provides extra head and neck support and improves safety on the road.
Q: What is the difference between a high-back booster seat and a backless one?
A: A high-back booster seat is built for children who still need extra protection during rides. It features head and neck protection as well as additional padding on the sides. A backless seat has only a cushion that boosts the child's height. It's used when your child is old enough to ride only with a seat belt, yet is not tall enough to reach it.
Q: When is it safe to put a child in a booster seat?
A: Different states have different laws and regulations, so check to make sure. Most of them agree upon a 40-pound weight limit and an age of 4 years. A child should also be tall enough to have shoulders that are higher than the straps of the seat.
Our top pick is Graco AFFIX High Back Booster Seat.. It’s an adjustable booster that feels super safe and comfortable.
For a budget-friendly alternative, take a look at the Evenflo Big Kid Highback 2-in-1 Belt-Positioning Booster Car Sea. It’s a lightweight seat with a lot of extra features to keep your child protected and comfortable.