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Best Toddler Booster Car Seats for Safety 2013 - 2014

Updated on January 9, 2014

Toddler Car Seat Safety 2013 Review

Did you know that car seats have expiration dates? You might be due for a new one because of that, or maybe your baby is not such a baby anymore and needs a bigger seat for their bigger body.

Car seats have about a 5-7 year life so make sure to check your expiration date when you get a new one. When it is time to upgrade, make sure you know what you are looking for and get very comfortable with the kinds of boosters that are out there for you to buy.

They are mainly the same kind of product but many offer more features that might work better for your family.

Choosing a Car Seat for Your Toddler

Things to Consider

Weight limit is something you need to be aware of. Some booster seats will hold children up to 100 pounds, and others only around 80 pounds. Some offer armrests that are padded and can be moved out of the way if needed; others are fixed.

When is it Time to Move On?

Keep in mind how long your child will be in a booster seat. The NHTSA recommends a child be 4'9" and "can place their back firmly against the vehicle seat back cushion with their knees bent over the vehicle seat cushion".

Padding, how deep the seat is and a latch system can all be important things when you are considering the safety of your little one. Some come with cup holders, and some do not.

To Recline or not to Recline:

Most booster seats do not offer a recline feature but there are a few which do. If you want to be able to set your child back a little for more comfortable sleeping, then you should keep your eyes open for a seat that offers it.

Booster Adjustment and Functionality:

There are many seats that have easily adjustable headrests and belt positions, and then there are others that are more basic without those features.

You most definitely will want to find a seat that has an easily removable seat cover so you can machine wash it; as we know, kids make big messes in the backseat from time to time.

You typically get what you pay for. It is probably a wise idea to pick a few car seats that have the features that you want, and then find the safety ratings for them at a site like the National Traffic Safety Administration. This will allow you to pick the safest seat for your growing toddler.

5 Great Booster Seats for Toddlers

The Britax Frontier 90 Combo Booster Car Seat is a highly rated and popular choice for booster seats. It will hold a child around 2 years old and 25 pounds, to up to 85 pounds. This means that this seat will last you a long time.

Britax takes a lot of pride in the safety of their car seats and this one is no exception. It offers really good side impact protection with a solid head support and side walls that are very deep and work at distributing the forces from an impact.

The tether system will keep the seat and your child from moving too far forward in a sudden stop. The base is designed to absorb impact forces and the lining inside offers more support as well.

It features a 5 point harness system that gives you up to 10 different positions as your child grows. I love that it comes with two cup holders. The armrests can't be moved unfortunately.

Installation was not as easy as I would have liked, but once I did it a few times, I'm much quicker at it now. The seat is a bit heavy but it really feels like it is made to last with sturdy materials so that doesn't bother me as much.

Safest High back Booster Seat

Check out this Graco Highback TurboBooster Car Seat. This one will actually hold a child from 30 pounds to 100 so it will last you even longer than many others on the market.

This seat actually meets or exceeds all US safety standards. It can withstand extreme temperatures, and is side impact tested. I like that this seat will hold my child at a higher weight and height limit.

The headrest is also height adjustable for more comfort. The armrests are padded and adjustable as well for convenience. The seat cushion is can be removed and washed which is very convenient.

It features dual hideaway cup holders that are easily reached when in use, and can be hidden when not in use. Assembly is easy and the whole seat is pretty user friendly. I have had some issues with the belt being hard to move but it hasn't been too bad.

Adjustable Car Seat Booster

This Evenflo Maestro Car Seat Booster is another good choice. What I love most about this seat is that it comes with a cool headrest design that lets the cars belt self adjust to your childs height while in booster mode.

It comes with two cup holders on each side with a striped design. This seat will hold a child 20-100 pounds.

It has what the manufacturer calls "RightFita" which allows a good, snug fit over the hips and chest of your little one. I like that the harness can be adjusted right in the front quite easily. The pad and pillow can also be removed for easy machine washing.

The padding on this seat seems to be a bit thinner than many others so I'm not sure about comfort and it sits really upright so there is no angle to allow a sleeping child to sleep comfortably. Installation has to be the easiest thus far and it isn't so bulky that it can't fit into a small sedan with room for other passengers.

For the price, this seat is a pretty good deal and is very sturdy.

Best Affordable Booster Seat

Take a look at this The First Years Compass Booster Seat. This will also hold a child from 30 pounds to 100 pounds.

I love that the armrests are able to rotate! This lets your child get into and out of the seat a lot easier and lets them decide if they want to use them or not.

This seat features a "no-gap back" which means that your child is secured in it snugly at all times. As they grow, you can make adjustments to the sides that will help eliminate any room between their back and the back of the seat. This will increase their safety while riding in the car.

It features two cup holders that are retractable so you don't have to have them out when they aren't in use.

I think a very cool feature is how the seat will fold up. This makes a very nice option when you need to store it in your trunk or take it out for caregivers to use. It is super easy to fold up with just one hand as well. It has a taller belt path to accommodate larger children which is very nice.

This seat does not offer a LATCH system.

Top Rated Clek Oobr Booster Car Seat

This Clek Oobr Booster Car Seat is another popular choice among parents. This sleek design looks nice in any car but is also made with good quality materials to be durable and long lasting.

It will hold a child 33 pounds to 100 pounds. This seat does offer a LATCH system. I like that it can recline up to 12 degrees when it is attached to the LATCH system for more comfort to a sleeping child.

It features padded side headrests to also make a sleeping child more comfortable when their head rolls to the side while driving. If you prefer, from 40-100 pounds, you can remove the back and just use the bottom part as a booster.

The fabric is treated so that if liquid spills on it, it beads up so it can be wiped away quite easily. The cover can also be removed completely and machine washed if needed. The cup holder is also detachable and is dishwasher safe. I would have preferred that this seat had more padding to offer but my toddler seems comfortable enough in it and she doesn't complain.

I love how sturdy it is as well, when going around turns, it doesn't tip or lean to the side at all and holds her very securely.

New Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat

I really like this Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat since it so versatile. It holds a child from 20-100 pounds. It can be used with the harness, without the harness and just the car's seat belt and a backless booster as well.

This is also highly rated for safety and has been tested for structural integrity at extreme temperatures.

It also features a three position recline and a height adjustable headrest that can be moved easily to fit your child's needs. It features a LATCH system as well if you prefer that.

The cover can be taken off and machine washed if needed as well. I did find that it was more difficult to do that with some other car seats I've used, but eventually it came off and I was able to wash it. The price is quite nice as well. It features padded armrests and an integrated cup holder.

I love that it comes with storage pockets for toys and snacks that my baby can get to quite easily.

Which car seat maker do you trust the most?

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Which booster car seat do your kids use?

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