Booster Suggestions for Big Kids

bad seatbelt fit, booster, 5 step test

Poor seatbelt fit on 10-year-old, 98 lbs., and 4 foot 7 inches

My kid has to use a booster until when?! That’s right, most kids will need a booster until 10-12 years old, around the time they hit 4’9″. What do you do though when your older kid needs a booster and doesn’t want to use one because it’s uncomfortable for them? It’s too narrow or too shallow? AJ decided to help out by modeling different boosters and look for ones that are a better fit for bigger kids. AJ is 10 years old, 98 lb., 4’7″, and still needs a booster. You can see in this picture that the lap belt rides up on his belly instead of being down on his hips and the shoulder belt does not cross over or contact his shoulder. He’s close, but definitely still needs a booster to be safe. You can read more on why big kids need boosters in our post Boosters Are For (Very) Big Kids.

nbb, booster, 5 step test

Proper seatbelt fit using a booster, 10-years-old, 98 lbs., 4 foot 7 inches

 

All of the boosters AJ tried provided a good belt fit. This means the lap belt was down on his hips, the shoulder belt was not in contact with his neck, the belt touched his shoulder, and he had head support behind his head. Here’s information on what it means to be awarded a Best Bet rating from the IIHS. The boosters are presented in the order of AJ’s favorite to least favorite (with some of mom’s input since in true 10-year-old boy fashion, he was less than cooperative sometimes). Keep in mind CSFTL doesn’t recommend full-time backless booster use until 7+ years old. The width was measured between the armrests from narrowest point to widest point between them. Reviews for many of the seats can be found on our recommended booster lists. 


Safety 1st Incognito
Read CSFTL Review

  • Minimum age: At least 6 years old
  • Weight range: 60-120 lb.
  • Height range: 47-60″
  • Width 12-16″
  • 16.5″ depth
  • “This is my favorite one. I like it because it’s small and easy to buckle.” ~AJ


Graco Connext with LATCH

  • Minimum age: At least 4 years old
  • Weight range: 40-100 lb.
  • Height range: 40-57″
  • 9-14″ width
  • 16″ depth
  • “It’s wide enough that I don’t feel squished.” ~AJ
  • 2013 IIHS Best Bet
  • This seat was discontinued


BubbleBum
Read CSFTL Review

  • Minimum age: At least 4 years old
  • Weight range: 40-100 lb.
  • Height range: Up to 57″
  • 13″ depth
  • 13″ width
  • “I like that there are no armrests, so it doesn’t feel like you’re in a booster. The red clips are hard to do though.” ~AJ
  • 2013 IIHS Best Bet


Harmony Cruz/Carpooler

  • Minimum age: At least 3 years old
  • Weight range: 30-110 lb.
  • Height range: 34-57″
  • 10-12″ width
  • 15″ depth
  • “AJ said this one was ‘uncomfortable’
    but gave no good reason and I thought it looked like a better fit than some of his
    more liked ones farther down the list.” ~Mom (It has since moved up the list under the Connext as of 3/2014)
  • 2013 IIHS Best Bet
  • This seat was discontinued


Eddie Bauer Backless

  • Minimum age: At least 4 years old
  • Weight range: 40-100 lb.
  • Height range: 43-57″
  • 10-14″ width
  • 14″ depth
  • “This too seemed to be nice and wide and a better fit than others AJ preferred, so it made it higher on the list than he would have put it.” ~Mom


Harmony Youth Booster
Read CSFTL Review

  • Minimum age: At least 3 years old
  • Weight range: 30-100 lb.
  • Height range: 34-57″
  • 10″-14″ width
  • 14.5″ depth
  • “It feels like I’m not in a booster at all!” ~AJ
  • 2013 IIHS Best Bet


Evenflo Amp Performance No Back Booster
Read CSFTL Review

  • Minimum age: At least 4 years old
  • Weight range: 40-110 lb.
  • Height range: 40-57″
  • 11.5″ width
  • 15″ depth
  • “I like the blue flames on this one.
    It’s comfortable and has the best pattern.” ~AJ
  • 2013 IIHS Best Bet


Diono Santa Fe Booster
Read CSFTL Review

  • Weight range: 30-120 lb.
  • Height range: 38-63″
  • 11.5-14″ width
  • 14″ depth
  • “AJ said he felt squished in this one,
    but I thought it looked like a good fit.”~Mom
  • This seat was discontinued


Graco Backless TurboBooster
Read CSFTL Review

  • Minimum age: At least 4 years old
  • Weight range: 40-100 lb.
  • Height range: 40-57″
  • Width 11″
  • Depth 14.5″
  • “I didn’t like this one at all, it was too tight.” ~AJ
  • 2013 IIHS Best Bet if manufactured after April 2, 2012


Britax Parkway SG Booster
CSFTL Closer Look

  • Weight range: 40-120 lb.
  • Height range: 38″-63″
  • 10″ width
  • 15″ depth
  • “I didn’t even want to sit in
    it because I remembered how
    tight it was last time I sat in it.” ~AJ


Evenflo RightFit Booster
Read CSFTL Review

  • Minimum age: At least 4 years old
  • Weight range: 40-110 lb.
  • Height range: 40″-57″
  • 11″ width
  • 15″ depth
  • “This one was really tight, there was no way to even get buckled.” ~AJ
  • 2013 IIHS Best Bet

Graco Affix Backless Youth Booster

  • Minimum age: At least 4 years old
  • Weight range: 40-100 lb.
  • Height range: 40-57″
  • 11″ width
  • 14.5″ depth
  • “I found it interesting that this seat seems to have the same dimensions as the Turbobooster, but was much smaller when he sat in it.” ~Mom
  • 2013 IIHS Best Bet

 

 

These are in no way exact measurements and you can see even with similar measurements the fit is often very different. Every booster on the market has a slightly different fit and slightly different dimensions. We hope this review helps give you a starting point though for choosing the best seat to fit the bigger booster-aged child in your world.

 

Originally written by Jennifer Penick. Edits maintained by CSFTL.