You can also check out our other guides and comparisons if you are still undecided: Rowan is a busy mom who is OBSESSED with finding the best swag (re: gear) for her ducklings. The one-handed harness adjustment makes things a lot easier when your toddler is growing but still needs to use the five-point harness straps. Other reviewers on here complain about the comfort, but I felt it was highly padded as far as boosters go and very sturdy material.” – Tiffany S. on Amazon. Another tester found this seat to be one of the easiest to customize to the height of her 5-year-old. The headrest should be easy to adjust and, once adjusted, should stay in place. Photo: Rozette Rago, The Graco TurboBooster LX is the slimmest and lightest of our picks, which makes it the easiest to move around and may make it a better fit for smaller cars. I am also a certified CPST myself, participating in a 40-hour training program through the Safe Kids Worldwide organization. Thanks to the incline options, your toddler can sleep in their car seat without the discomfort that the head slump brings. My reporting on policy and parenting has appeared in outlets including Slate, The Washington Post, Health Affairs, and Marie Claire. As we tested only six seats, the results are by definition limited and should not be taken as evidence that any other seat is unsafe or would not perform adequately in a crash. I strongly lean towards going with the Britax Frontier here as it is rated for an extra 20 pounds and is MUCH easier to install. Both the high-back and backless booster fit kids between 40 and 120 pounds and 38 to 63 inches, which better accommodates heavier and taller kids than our other picks and means that you can use the Diono longer. A child has outgrown a high-back booster seat when the tops of their ears are at or above the top of the seat’s head restraint at the highest setting (it’s okay for the top of their head to be above the top of the seat as long as the ears are not). Both seats have a high rating with the NHTSA but the Britax does score slightly higher as it received 5 stars where the Chicco received 4 stars. This led us to conclude that the ideal booster seat would: Have excellent crash testing results: We wanted to see this in both the NHTSA FMVSS 213 results and in the additional side-impact testing that we commissioned. At their core, there aren’t too many fundamental differences between the Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat. The high-back option fits kids 30 to 100 pounds and 38 to 57 inches tall, which is a shorter and lighter cutoff than the Diono. Quick-Release Removal for that one hand release, making it so simple to just grab and go, making the seat so easy to transfer between vehicles. Chicco KidFit Zip Air and Chicco KidFit Zip come as 2-in-1 Booster car seat. If the car’s seat does not have a headrest, the kid needs a high-back booster to sit there. SafeCell Technology meaning that this car seat comes with what is effectively crumple zones just like your car. The Graco TurboBooster LX costs about half the price of the Diono and the Chicco seats and meets all of our criteria: it has a LATCH option, converts to backless, and has two cupholders. Chicco Kidfit Zip weighs in at 12.1 pounds and is another car seat from Chicco that comes with so many features. Photo: Rozette Rago, The Diono’s shoulder-strap pass-through keeps the strap from twisting and moving out of place better than those on the other seats we tested, and it’s the best at positioning the strap to fit snugly against the kid’s shoulder. “A great choice for the next step seat. An Amazon reviewer had the same issue, and writes, “I do not feel that the connection between the back to the base is super sturdy. Better value because it lasts longer! It also has a zip-around boot to, This car seat comes with a breathable air mesh, the idea here is to provide airflow channels to improve ventilation and, This car seat also has the feature with one simple click to attach to any Chicco stroller, making a. Both these seats have fantastic features both in safety and comfort. Seats that are narrower or have a more streamlined design will fit better in a wider range of cars. Another key point is that the Britax could accommodate your baby for longer as it has a higher maximum weight of 35 pounds and height of 32 “, whereas the Chicco maximum weight is only 30 pounds and a height of 30”. Dispose of your seat properly: Both booster and convertible car seats generally have a longer usable life than infant seats (boosters typically expire after 10 years instead of five or six). This car seat has spoiled my husband and I to the ease of use, and knowledge that out son is beyond safe in this seat.” – Katrina Berry-Johnson on Amazon. We used the above criteria as well as customer ratings online to narrow our original list of 40 boosters to six high-back models to test: Chicco KidFitChicco KidFit Zip AirDiono Monterey XTEvenflo Big Kid AmpGraco TurboBooster LXNuna Aace. Among them were certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Lani Harrison, a seasoned tech in Los Angeles who installs more than 300 car seats each year; Aditya Belwadi, PhD, a biomechanics research scientist who leads the Child Passenger Safety research team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Julie Mansfield, a research engineer with the Injury Biomechanics Research Center at The Ohio State University College of Medicine; and Bill Horn, head sled testing engineer at Calspan in Buffalo, New York, one of the country’s top crash-testing facilities. There are so many safety features and reinforcements to keep your toddler safe and help give you peace of mind. Be comfortable and convenient for the kid to use: We gave extra points to models with cupholders, consoles, or any additional features that improve the riding experience for kids. One Wirecutter editor who tested our picks prefers the cupholders on the Diono “for sliding to a completely recessed position under the seat versus the Chicco’s foldable ones, which are never truly out of the way; makes a difference when loading three in a row on a bench seat.”. The padded five-point harness safety belt can be adjusted with just one hand for your convenience, and it’s acceptable for children from 25-65 pounds, which is also convenient and safe. There are MANY safe car seats. But for the most part, you should be able to choose which one works better for you and your little one, which is why it’s important to look at all of the most important aspects of the Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat vs Britax Frontier ClickTight Combination Harness Booster Car Seat. Because so many children are built differently and grow at different rates, it’s important that a car seat such as this one goes a little above and beyond what your standard 2-in-1 booster car seat will offer. It was extremely difficult to find any disadvantages to either seat, they have been well designed with this age group in mind and also ease of use for parents. The Chicco weighs considerably less than the Britax, this is a concern if you are planning on moving the seat between vehicles. However, with this one, your child can be up to 120 pounds and still get use out of it, which adds to the child safety it provides and of course its longevity. It also comes with not one but two bubble levels, ensuring that the perfect angle is achieved each and every time. Unsurprisingly, we found that none of these backless boosters performed well with regard to head impact, but the travel booster seats performed notably worse than the backless Chicco with regard to chest impact. Be reasonably priced: We looked at seats that cost more than $200, but found popular, high-quality options that performed well in our crash tests and have all the useful features we wanted for half that amount. NHTSA estimates (PDF) that the lives of nearly 9,000 children under the age of 5 were saved by the use of car seats or safety belts between 1975 and 2008. Most importantly they have safety features that almost guarantee the safety of your precious cargo. If a child regularly falls asleep in the car, the high-back booster has the advantage of offering head and neck support. But experts recommend using car seats with harnesses as long as possible. A five-point harness is safer than a booster at any age, so a child should stay in their convertible car seat for as long as possible. I had my first through my two kids as babies actually and it was so strong and sturdy I always felt safe putting my kids in it. Another tester, who had personally owned this seat for several years prior to our testing for this guide, noted that the headrest kept sliding down on the Graco. Auto level indicators show you that your child’s seat is always in the correct installation angle for your vehicle. The Britax car seat has no rating with NHTSA currently this may be due to the fact that it is a recent addition to the Britax family. If you feel that the Diono is too wide for your car, you may want to consider getting the Chicco, which is also 17 inches wide at the base but an inch narrower at the headwings, or the even-slimmer Graco, which is 16 inches wide at the base and 17 inches at the headwings. The Britax did score higher in the NHTSA rating for forward-facing. Personally I think that if you chose a car seat from either of these well-established brands you will not go far wrong. © 2020 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company. We used the crash testing results to confirm our picks, and to help distinguish among them. The Graco TurboBooster LX performed well in crash testing, but not quite as well as the Diono or Chicco. Not sure where to dispose of an old seat? It’s slightly easier to use than the Diono in some ways: For one, it’s lighter at 10.4 pounds (compared with 13.9 pounds for the Diono). “It is strongly recommended by physicians that have studied the impact of children in car seats/accidents, and it is recommended that kids stay in the 5 point harness for as long as possible. I also interviewed representatives from the car seat manufacturers Chicco, Diono, Nuna, Graco, BubbleBum, and MiFold. Bottom Line Up Front: If you are in a rush, here’s my high level opinion. As we wrote in our guides to infant and convertible car seats, the stringent rules surrounding car seat use are merited. NHTSA currently conducts front-impact testing on booster seats, though its database is not exhaustive, and not all of our finalists had crash testing data available. Like our other picks, it has a LATCH option, converts to backless, and has two cupholders. As with our other picks, its tightening pulls are through the front of the seat, not the side (as on infant and convertible car seats), which makes tightening the LATCH straightforward (LATCH is not for safety in the case of boosters; just for positioning). Note, though, that if you need to fit only two across, you may find that this seat is a fine fit in a small car.
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