The Britax Highpoint/Skyline has been a great high back booster option in both Canada and the United States since 2018. It has had a solid spot on our recommended seats list in both countries since the release, and we were very excited when Britax announced a revamp of the seat that provides a backless booster option for older kiddos. Join us as we take a look at the 2-stage Britax Highpoint and Skyline booster seats!
CSFTL Quick Stats
- High Back Booster Weight range: 40 to 120 pounds
- High Back Booster Height range: 44 to 63 inches
- Backless booster weight range: 40 to 120 pounds
- Backless booster height range: 46 to 63 inches
- Age: Booster readiness, no younger than age 5
- Expiration: 10 years from the date of manufacture
- Requires replacement after a moderate or severe crash
- Width at widest point of back: 19 inches
- Width at widest point of base: 19.5 inches at cup holders
- Width at armrests: 16.5 inches
- Weight: 10.9 pounds in high back mode
- Weight: 6.2 pounds in backless mode
- Internal width at the child’s hips: 12 inches
- Internal width at the child’s knees: 15 inches
- Seat pan depth: 15 inches in backless mode
- Seat pan depth: 13 inches in high back mode
- Lowest shoulder belt guide: 16 inches
- Highest shoulder belt guide: 23 inches
- Dual cup holders
- Lower anchor connectors
- SG belt clip
- Generous height limit
- Tall top belt guide position in high back mode
Assembling the 2-stage Highpoint/Skyline is a quick and easy process.
The brightly colored “Quick Assembly Guide” attached to the manual and registration card indicates a three-step process for attaching the back: simply put the bottom flat on the ground, attach the back, then pull the back upright until you hear an audible “click. Once assembled, the booster stays upright on its own. We suspect that anyone who has owned a high back booster that falls apart when left unattended will understand why this is a bonus!
The cup holders snap in easily (don’t forget this step!).
Adjusting the Headrest (and shoulder belt guide)
The headrest height (and shoulder belt guide in high back booster mode) adjusts up and down with a simple squeeze of the red plastic adjuster on the back of the headrest. The correct position for this headrest is the one that places the red shoulder belt guide above the child’s shoulder. We found that raising the headrest one extra click brings the child’s shoulders out of the headrest. This was a more comfortable position for our models.
The 2-stage Highpoint/Skyline feature premium lower anchors. To loosen the anchors: press on the red release button on the left side of the seat and pull on the anchors to steal webbing from the adjuster straps which is also located on the left side of the seat.
To tighten the lower anchors after attaching them to the vehicle: pull on the adjuster strap.
Note: if the booster shifts on the vehicle seat, tightening the lower anchors may be difficult. If you encounter resistance when tightening, double check that the lower anchor connectors are lined up with the gaps in the back of the vehicle seat and try again.
SecureGuard Clip (Highpoint only)
The SecureGuard clip is designed to position the lap portion of the vehicle belt low on the child’s lap, touching the thighs. Britax identifies the SecureGuard Clip as a system meant to prevent a child from submarining, or sliding under, the lap portion of the belt.
The SecureGuard clip is attached to the bottom portion of the Highpoint, and slips into the shell using a system parents and caregivers should be familiar with if they’ve ever used a harnessed seat with an adjustable crotch buckle strap. There is a metal plate on the end of an adjustable strap; with instructions in the manual stating to make sure that the clip positions the belt on the child’s lap. The generous padding on the SecureGuard Clip keeps it more upright, which seemed to help our 6 year old model to use the clip.
Fit to Child
High Back Booster Mode
6 Year Old
This 6 year old model is 47 inches tall and weighs 45 pounds. She typically rides in a high back booster, but sometimes prefers a harnessed seat and is very involved with car seat usage. A big fan of “I can do it myself!”, she was frustrated with the SG clip on the Highpoint because it was new and not something she could master immediately.
Some kids will definitely need help to position the belt in the clip properly, however this is absolutely a task that most kids will manage on their own eventually, though this may take some patience.
6 Year Old
Our 6 year old model is 52 inches tall and weighs 56 pounds. One of her favorite boosters is the one-stage Britax Skyline, so she was more than willing to test out the two-stage Skyline for our review.
Not surprisingly, the Skyline fits her very well – the shoulder belt is centered on her shoulder and the lap belt is low on her hips, touching her thighs.
8 Year Old
This 8 year old model is 52 inches tall and weighs 55 pounds. She prefers a high back booster in the car for support and for resting during long car rides, and enjoyed using the Highpoint as her primary booster seat. The shoulder belt sat comfortably across her shoulder and the lap belt is placed nicely on her hips, touching the tops of her thighs. She liked the padding of the Highpoint and how smooth the fabric is to the touch.
8 Year Old
Our other 8 year old model is 56 inches tall and weighs 80 pounds. He is a big fan of high back boosters for the support, and the Skyline fits him with room to grow. The shoulder belt is centered on his shoulder and the lap belt is low on his hips, touching his thighs. This model has approximately 1.5 inches of growth left before his shoulders touch the bottom of the headrest and the seat is outgrown in high back mode, but that could be another year and would potentially last until he passes the 5 Step Test.
10 Year Old
Our 10 year old model is 55 inches tall and weighs 75 pounds. She typically prefers backless booster seats, but she still fits with room to grow in the Highpoint. She felt a bit enclosed by the seat and pushed forward slightly, however her belt fit was ideal. The headrest positioned the shoulder portion of the vehicle seat belt across her collarbone, and the lap belt touched the tops of her thighs. She did not find the high back mode as comfortable as a backless booster. That’s not terribly surprising since she’s at the upper end of the height range for this seat.
12 Year Old
This 12 year old model is 60 inches tall, weighs 98 pounds, and typically passes the 5 Step Test in the back seat of the vehicles his caregivers drive. While he fit in high back booster mode at the very top setting, his shoulders were touching the bottom of the headrest. In addition to this, the seat pan was a little too shallow for his comfort, leaving much of his upper leg unsupported.
At his size and age, typically a backless booster would be all he needs if he needed a booster at all, so it is unsurprising that he has essentially outgrown high back booster mode in the Highpoint regarding comfort. The fit in backless booster mode was definitely more comfortable for him.
Converting to Backless Booster
The manual indicates converting the booster from high back mode to backless mode is quick and easy. We didn’t quite find that to be the case. First, set the booster in high back mode down on a flat surface, then place one hand in the booster seat and push the backrest down until it lies flat. A click confirms the backrest is in the flat position, then continue pushing the backrest until it separates from the base.
While this sounds like the process is simple, that is not the experience either of our reviewers had. Both of them worried that they were going to break the seat when attempting to convert the booster to backless mode. Not only does the seat require what seems like excessive force to push the backrest down until it lies flat, the rotation beyond 180 degrees required two people and a LOT of force — to the point where it felt like the plastic would snap any second.
Both reviewers WERE able to convert the seat to backless mode, but the process doesn’t get any easier after multiple attempts (and always feels like the seat is about to break).
Backless Back Booster Mode
We want to start our summary of the backless booster mode of the 2-stage Skyline/Highpoint with an explanation of what an ideal booster vehicle seat belt fit looks like.
IIHS rates booster seats annually on their shoulder belt and lap belt fit. Their booster rating guidelines are the “gold standard” for booster seat fit, and one that the Child Passenger Safety community takes very seriously.
Figure 1 is directly from IIHS’s “Booster Seat Belt Fit Evaluation Guidelines for Ratings” and the measurements are shown in millimeters (the range of a correct belt fit per this criteria is very small). Per this document: “An effective lap belt position allows the belt to engage the bony pelvis during a frontal crash… If the belt is too far forward on the thighs, the body will undergo excessive excursion, and the pelvis may begin to rotate and increase the likelihood of submarining (lap belt passing above the pelvis and loading the abdominal organs).”
We are looking for a booster seat to place the lap belt low on the child’s thighs, touching their hips. Let’s see how effectively the 2-Stage Highpoint/Skyline does this.
Fit to Child
6 Year Old
This 6 year old model is 47 inches tall and still weighs in at 45 pounds. This kiddo has recently graduated from a harnessed car seat to a high back booster almost full time. Ideally, we’d continue to use a high back booster for a while before moving onto a no back option for her. However, she meets the minimum height and weight for the Highpoint, so we wanted to show how that would fit her.
While the shoulder belt fit is squarely across her chest, the lap portion of the belt is positioned pretty far down her thighs. Referring back to the graphic above, the fit provided by the Highpoint does not appear to be a good one. Luckily, this kiddo can continue to use the Highpoint in high back mode for some time.
6 Year Old
Our other 6 year old model remains 52 inches tall and weighs 56 pounds. She does not yet ride in a backless booster because she fits in all of the high back boosters at home, but she agreed to try out the Skyline in backless booster mode for us.
We had some challenges with the belt fit in this mode for this model as well. Without the back on, her bum is positioned much farther back on the seat. This in turn positions the lap belt on her thighs, well away from her hips (and in the IIHS red zone). This is not a good belt fit on this kiddo, so we are thankful that she has quite a bit of growing room in high back mode.
8 Year Old
Our 8 year old model remains 56 inches tall and weighs 80 pounds. He ran into the same lap belt fit issues as his 6 year old sister in the Skyline.
The lack of back forces his bum (and hips) away from the lap portion of the seatbelt, which in turn positions the seat belt on his thighs and not his hips. Again, we are glad that he fits in the Skyline in high back mode, because we are not comfortable with the way this seat fits him in this mode.
8 Year Old
This 8 year old model is 52 inches tall and weighs 55 pounds. She has used backless boosters both for travel and also for occasional use at home. Without the back on the Highpoint, her shoulder belt fit was still very good, placing the belt across her chest. However, like the children previously mentioned, the Highpoint in backless mode positioned the lap belt fairly far forward on her thighs, away from her hips.
Since she prefers to use the Highpoint in high back mode, and the fit is good for her in that mode, we can continue to use the seat. However, her fit in backless mode is not one that we would be comfortable with.
10 Year Old
Our 10 year old model remains 55 inches tall and 75 pounds, and typically uses backless boosters full time. Even though she is 10, she does not yet pass the 5 Step Test and will continue to use a booster seat until the adult belt fits properly without it. Even though she is close to the height limit of most boosters on the market, which is 57 inches tall, she may continue to need a booster seat after that point. Thankfully, there are some options for continued use, including the Highpoint.
Unfortunately, the belt fit in backless mode was similar to what the other children in this review experienced — the lap belt was positioned very low on her thighs. We’d be hard-pressed to use the Highpoint for this child in backless mode at this point because of this lap belt fit.
12 Year Old
Even though our 12 year old model is 60 inches tall and weighs 98 pounds, in some vehicles he could require a belt positioning booster so that the adult belt fits him properly. In this 2014 Dodge Durango, the passes the 5 Step Test without a belt positioning booster, however he still fits within the limits of the Highpoint, so we gave it a go.
Using the Highpoint, this child still has vehicle headrest coverage well past his ears at this point. For a safe fit, we’d need to have the vehicle seat provide coverage behind him until at least the tops of his ears, so while this works for now it will probably be outgrown shortly. In this 2014 Dodge Durango, the shoulder belt was still across his shoulder, but was off center and closer to sliding off his shoulders. While this model’s belt fit was better than the fit on our other models, the lap belt was still rather low on his legs.
Important Information: Where to Find
Like all booster seats, the Britax Highpoint/Skyline requires a lap/shoulder belt to use, so it is not FAA approved for use on aircraft.
Manual Storage: The manual stores in the bottom of the seat.
Date of Manufacture: The Date of Manufacture label is located on the bottom of the seat.
National Safety Mark for Canadian users: The National Safety Mark is located on the child’s left of the seat, on the side of the shell.
The high back booster mode of the Britax Highpoint/Skyline has been a solid option since it was first released. While we were excited to see this seat available in a 2-stage mode, unfortunately for us the backless booster mode fell a little flat.
With none of our models fitting the backless booster mode well, we can’t see a time where the backless booster mode would actually be useable (but are very thankful that, due to the high shoulder belt guide and high height and weight limits of the high back booster mode, it may never need to be used).
All in all, if a caregiver is looking for a solid high back booster option that fits a wide range of children and vehicles, we would still recommend the 2-stage Britax Highpoint/Skyline – but with the caveat that we would not expect that they would not be able to use the backless booster mode.
Our friends at Britax have agreed to give away one Highpoint/Skyline 2-stage booster seat to one lucky reader from the US and one from Canada. Enter below (and be sure to enter for the correct country of residence!)
Review originally written by Katie Charette and Laurel Frock