It seems that everywhere we turn, there’s a new portable booster seat for us to check out. I’m not saying this like it’s a bad thing — we know that older kids who need to ride in booster seats aren’t riding in booster seats as often as they should and we’d love to see all of them riding safely. We welcome every well-fitting booster that helps this group of kiddos ride safely so we couldn’t wait to check out the budget-friendly (MSRP: $19.99!!) Graco Turbo Go folding backless booster seat! The Graco Turbo Go joins the much-loved Graco TurboBooster TakeAlong and the BubbleBum as carpool options that we know and love.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Age range: 4-10 years. CSFTL advocates that children ride in their harnessed car seats until they’re at least 5 years old and that children ride in a high back booster until they’re closer to 7 or 8 years old. So we’d recommend the Graco Turbo Go for this older group of kiddos on the go
- Weight range: 40-100 pounds
- Shoulder belt guide adjuster included
- Height range: 43-57 inches tall
- Expiration: 10 years
- Width at widest point (belt guides): 15.25 inches
- Seat pan depth: 12.5 inches
- Seating area width at widest point (child’s hips): 13.5 inches
- Seat weight: 3.5 pounds
- Size when folded: a very portable 5×14 inches
- Machine washable fabric
- Self-positioning belt guides
- Super extra portable and lightweight
- Easy to set up without (very much or any) adult assistance
- Easy to carry
- Consistent belt fit
Graco Turbo Go vs. Other Carpool Options
While more featured booster seats tend to include things like cupholders or armrests or lower anchors, a carpool booster seat has a very different purpose in life: it needs to be portable enough that the average 7-10 year old can carry it around. It also needs to be easy enough for that child to set up and use properly on every ride. In addition, it needs to fit that child correctly, placing the vehicle seat belt across the strongest points of the body: the child’s hips and the middle of their collar bone.
There’s another, smaller device on the market that boasts ultimate portability but falls short on the setup and proper fit portions of the program. We continue to advocate that families choose more consistent options for their carpooler, including the Graco Turbo Go!
Graco Turbo Go vs. the BubbleBum
We’ve been fans of the extremely portable BubbleBum inflatable booster for a long time and that hasn’t changed one bit. Families who need a very lightweight carpool option still have a great option in the BubbleBum. A deflated BubbleBum weighs about a pound and fits into a backpack with room to spare. The BubbleBum is also a bit smaller than the Graco Turbo Go.
Graco Turbo Go vs. the TurboBooster TakeAlong
Our family has been fans of the TurboBooster TakeAlong since the moment it was released. We’ve taken ours around the world on an epic trip and now, it is an integral part of our carpooling configuration.
My primary model is a 3rd grader. She loves the TurboBooster TakeAlong for its portability and how easy it is to set up. She also loves how well it fits in her backpack. Her exact words about the Graco Turbo Go are “It also fits in my backpack, but it weighs less!”
We found the vehicle seat belt fit to be very consistent with the Graco Turbo Go, the TurboBooster TakeAlong, and the always popular TurboBooster.
The Graco Turbo Go is a booster seat. That’s it. It boosts the rider into the correct position so the vehicle seat belt can lay across the strongest parts of their body: both of their hips and the middle of their shoulder.
It does not include cupholders or have lower anchors but it does have a shoulder belt guide adjuster that’s attached to the seat.
Setting up the Graco Turbo Go is pretty simple. Just flip it over, unfold it, and set it right side up on the vehicle seat. Make sure that the open portion of the belt guides are facing the front of the vehicle.
Note: The belt guides pop up from the sides of the seat so your carpooler can thread the vehicle seat belt through them. Avoid getting hands or fingers in the way of these guides as the Graco Turbo Go unfolds.
That’s right. Three sentences capture the entire setup process. That’s exactly the kind of simplicity we hope for, and the Graco Turbo Go delivers!
All of our models were able to unfold the Graco Turbo Go and set it up with a little practice. Once it’s unfolded, it’s the same size as a traditional booster seat like the Nuna AACE that posed with our Graco Turbo Go for this picture.
Carrying it Around
When tucked into a bag or backpack, carrying the Graco Turbo Go is painless. Our models also carried it around by itself and found themselves wishing it had a handle.
Note: the slightly larger and 2 pounds heavier TurboBooster TakeAlong does have a handle, so families who would prefer a handle may want to consider that seat instead.
When to Use
The manual includes a warning that mirrors the kind of best practice that we advocate for:
“The AAP recommends that children should use a built-in harness system car seat for as long as possible until they reach the maximum forward-facing weight or height for their car seat. After reaching the maximum forward-facing weight or height, they also recommend that children 4 feet 9 inches (145cm) tall or under should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat.”
Shoulder Belt Guide Adjuster
The Graco Turbo Go includes a shoulder belt guide adjuster that’s attached to the seat.
Three Carpoolers Across
We’ll never assert that any one car seat or booster seat is a perfect option for every tight space. There are just too many variables between vehicle seat size, vehicle seat shape, car seat shape, and booster seat shape. It’s just too difficult to predict how well any car seat or booster seat will work in tandem with another car seat or booster seat.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I’d suggest that the Graco Turbo Go would work well in a lot of three carpoolers across situations. It’s only 14 inches wide at the widest point so it could be a great option for tight spaces.
Fit to Child
8 Years Old
This model is mere moments away from her 9th birthday. She wears a size 10 clothes and is 52 inches tall. We’ve had a pretty dramatic change in our situation — these days, she’s relying on friends and family for rides after school quite a bit. A portable booster that fits her well has become a huge priority for us and the Turbo Go delivers! Like our other model, she’s able to tuck it into her backpack, set it up without adult assistance and her mom can rest easy knowing that she’s riding safely.
She’s possibly the world’s biggest TurboBooster TakeAlong fan so the Graco Turbo Go had a lot to live up to when it comes to this kiddo. I’m pleased to tell you that she likes it! The padding is different than the TurboBooster TakeAlong — the Graco Turbo Go’s padding is smooth and a bit lacking on the back half of the seat. This model didn’t seem to notice the slight change in elevation. That’s kind of a big deal because she notices EVERYTHING.
9 Years Old
This 9 year old model is also a kiddo on the go so she was pretty excited to try out the Graco Turbo Go! Her mom helped her unfold it one time, and from then on she was a pro at setting it up. She wears size 12 clothes and is 53 inches tall.
Care and Cleaning
The Graco Turbo Go’s cover removes for cleaning. Like so many car seat covers, it must hang to dry and can’t be put into the dryer.
Important Information: Where to Find
FAA Approval: The Graco Turbo Go cannot be used on airplanes because it’s a booster seat. Booster seats position the lap and shoulder belts in vehicles, so they cannot be used with a lap only belt like those found on airplanes.
However! Because it’s so small and lightweight, the TurboGo tucks conveniently into a carry-on bag so it’s a great option for travel!
Manual Storage: The manual stores on the underside of the seat in an easy-to-use compartment. We love that there’s a dedicated space — some other portable booster seats have very short manuals that hide under the cover instead of a dedicated space.
Date of Manufacture label: this label is located on the underside of the seat.
The Graco Turbo Go does what we’d expect a booster seat to do — it just works. The vehicle seat belt fit was spot on for all of our models. Each of our models was able to set it up themselves without help from adults. It lacks some of the bells and whistles that make more featured booster seats heavier but since this booster’s sole mission in life is to keep carpoolers safe, the Graco Turbo Go is absolutely is up to the task.
The only downside to this great carpooling option is that it’s currently only available via one retailer: Wal-Mart. We’d love to see it available in all the stores and in all the places!