The car seat market is full of no back boosters whose entire purpose is to position the belt properly on children who are not ready to use the adult seat belt. They are available in every price range, from under $14 to close to $100. Finding one that meets your needs and budget is rather easy.
There are a few no back boosters that have unique qualities. The Safety 1st Incognito provides a low profile and discreet booster for bigger and older kids; while the BubbleBum provides a niche seat for traveling. You can inflate and deflate the BubbleBum as needed.
About a year ago, Safety 1st got together with Trunki and brought another unique niche seat into the market. The BoostApak is a booster seat and backpack combined into one. This provides the ability to keep your child’s trinkets and treasures or books and papers along with their booster seat in one bag. There are some features about the seat aside from the backpack portion that make it a little bit different from most of the no-back boosters currently on the market, first, let us get down to the nitty-gritty.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 40-80 lbs.
- Height range: 43-52″
- Expiration: 6 years
- Belt guide required
- IIHS Best Bet
Unboxing the BoostApak is very straightforward — it arrives in a compact box and no assembly is required. An information sheet is attached to the seat and the manual is located in the backpack portion of the seat, inside a mesh pocket.
The manual itself is easy to read with large text that’s printed on glossy paper. It is short and to the point, and contains all the information you need.
|The booster portion of the seat is covered with a piece of fabric that is held into place with velcro. Undoing the velcro, exposes the arms of the booster and the shoulder belt adjuster. The piece of fabric also doubles as a back to the booster and contains information about how to position the child in the booster.|
|The arms that are under the fabric are easy to fold up for when the seat is being used in booster mode and easy to fold back down when using the booster as a backpack. Once the arms are up, simply press the red buttons to fold them back down for storage.|
The shoulder belt adjuster strap comes attached to a fabric loop located by one of the “ears” on the backpack. The other end is attached to one of two metal loops on the seat itself.
The seat also has a spot to write your child’s information down on in it ever gets lost or forgotten somewhere. This is also on one of the “ears.”
Before the seat arrived, I was very curious to see just how much stuff would be able to fit in the backpack portion. I was also curious to see how heavy how the backpack would be with stuff in it because it’s a booster as well.
The backpack portion contains a mesh pocket to keep smaller items separated and a fairly big compartment for stuff. My oldest daughter was very excited to have her own seat AND a backpack to take stuff with when she goes to a sitter’s house or for a sleepover at Grammie’s house.
What exactly does a 7 year old put in her BoostApak for a day away? Her blankie, a comb, detangling spray, some ponies, a stethoscope and some crocheting supplies of course! All of this fit quite nicely inside the BoostApak.
Even with all of these necessities inside the BoostApak, it was not too heavy for her
to carry. At 7 years old, she is a tall, but slender child with low muscle tone, so the weight was a real concern for me.
Discreet Place for Special Items
While reviewing the seat, we made the trek to a friend’s farm to celebrate a birthday. It is summer, and my daughter has some unique medical needs so it is hit or miss whether or not the temperature will be too much for her to handle. She was thrilled to discover that the BoostApak was the perfect size to fit her cooling vest.
Another friend of CSFTL has the BoostApak and loves that he’s able to go overnight with friends while keeping his feeding tube supplies tucked away in a safe place. For children with special needs that may require unique equipment, the BoostApak can offer a bit of independence while keeping those special items in a safe, discreet location.
Fit to Child
Using the BoostApak is pretty straightforward. However, there are two requirements for positioning the child in the seat that are different from other no back boosters.
1. The belt positioning clip that comes with the seat must be used with the seat. It must be attached to the metal loop on the booster that is closest to the vehicle buckle.
2. The shoulder belt must go OVER the arm rest. The lap belt still goes under both of the arm rests.
So far, I’ve tried the seat in a PT Cruiser, a 2006 Saturn Ion and a Chrysler Town and Country in multiple positions. In all of these vehicles, the fit of the lap belt was spectacular. The shoulder belt was a little iffy in the PT Cruiser and the Town and Country. The problem is not with the seat in these vehicles. The problem lies within the vehicles and the geometry of the belts. In the Town and Country in the third row, the shoulder belts come out from in front of the seat. The same thing occurs in the PT Cruiser. The belt fit was acceptable in the captain’s chair of the Town and Country, the middle of the PT Cruiser and in the Saturn Ion. Another problem occurred with the middle seat of the PT cruiser and with the Saturn Ion. These seating positions do not offer adjustable head support. With the height of the BoostApak combined with my daughters lanky stature, she did not have adequate head support in those positions.
- Armrest Height: 9 inches
- Seat Height: 6 inches
- Front to Back Length: 13.5
- Hip Width: 11.5 inches
- Thigh Width: 11.5 inches
- Bottom Width: 14 inches
- Bottom Length: 15.5 Inches
Overall, this is a fantastic seat that would work wonderfully for a number of specific situations. My daughter has grown rather fond of this seat and its hidden qualities of storage possibilities. This works great for traveling or transporting items needed for a day out. Perfect for a playdate, or a day with a relative. It would even be perfect to keep in the car for carpooling or for use on your summer getaway!
Follow Safety 1st on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and search #oursummerjourney for more ways the BoostApak can be used!
Originally written by Kim Robinson. Edits maintained by CSFTL.