The Graco TurboBooster has been around for quite some time now. We know the original version well, and we’ve also reviewed the TurboBooster Grow, TurboBooster TakeAlong, and other versions of this seat. We’ve found very consistently that the TurboBooster family of booster seats is well known for its fit and function. The newest addition to the family is the TurboBooster Stretch — named Stretch because it’s a bit taller than the other models and it has a bonus stretching section behind the child’s back.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range high back mode: 40-100 pounds
- Weight range backless mode: 40-110 pounds
- Height range high back and backless modes: 43-57 inches tall
- CSFTL recommends that children be at least 5 years old before moving to a booster seat.
- Expiration: 10 years from date of manufacture
- Top shoulder belt guide position: 21.5 inches
- TurboBooster Stretch width at widest point (cup holder to left side wing): 21 inches
- TurboBooster Stretch high back mode: 8 pounds
- TurboBooster Stretch backless mode: 6 pounds
- Turbobooster Stretch seat pan depth: 13 inches
- Easy to remove premium lower anchor connectors
- Hideaway storage compartment
- Dishwasher safe cupholder
- Vented side wings
The TurboBooster Stretch arrives in three pieces: The headrest, the side wings, and the backless booster. The manual first instructs you to insert the headrest into the side wings. To do this, squeeze the adjuster handle on the back of the headrest and slide the pieces together. There will be an audible click when they are firmly attached.
Next, place the backless booster on the floor and hook the u-shaped pieces over the bars on the backless booster. Rotate the back of the seat up until there is another audible click and the high back booster is in one piece.
Cupholders – A Required Component
This seat has a dishwasher safe cupholder that’s required for use. Translation: if the cupholder is in the wash, the seat isn’t ready for the road.
To install the cupholder, remove it from the lower anchor webbing at the front of the seat. Push the clips on the bottom of the cupholder into the base of the TurboBooster until the cupholder is firmly attached.
To remove the cup holder, turn the base over and pinch the tabs together, then slide the cupholder away from the seat.
The compartment is great for storing small toys and snacks. It does not have to be stored when the seat is in use. Be warned: this compartment does make the seat quite wide when it’s open.
The TurboBooster Stretch includes premium lower anchor connectors that are designed specifically for Graco’s booster seats. This push button style connector releases with one finger. This may sound like a small feature, but it makes removing the booster easier than it is with the j-hook style connectors, and easier even than the more traditional premium lower anchor connectors.
Installation with Lower Anchors
The lower anchor connectors aren’t required for use — they hold the unoccupied booster seat in place in the event of a crash the same way a vehicle seat belt does. To ready the seat for use, lift the lever just above the lower anchor webbing on the front of the booster, then pull the lower anchor connector from the back of the seat while holding the lever down. Attach the connector onto the lower anchors in the vehicle, then pull the webbing until it’s tight. Finally, thread the vehicle seat belt through the red belt guide at the child’s shoulder.
Setup without Lower Anchors
If you wish to use the seat without the lower anchors or prefer to buckle the empty booster when it’s not in use, the process takes even fewer steps. Simply set the seat on the vehicle seat and thread the vehicle seat belt through the red belt guide at the child’s shoulder.
Higher Top Shoulder Belt Guide Position
The TurboBooster Stretch has a 21.5 inch top shoulder belt guide. This is a bit taller than other TurboBoosters (and part of why it has the Stretch in the name!) so it could be longer-lasting than its cousins. However, the max height for the child is still 57 inches so this extra height in the shoulder belt guide may or may not be an advantage.
We’ve discovered another wonderful advantage to this the belt guide. It works well in the 3rd row, outboard seats of the notoriously difficult for booster seat vehicles: the Chrysler Town and Country, VW Routan, and Dodge Caravan. That is no easy feat!
The sidewings are vented to allow for air flow. We feel confident that hot-natured children will appreciate these vents! We were hoping that the name “Stretch” implied that the side wings stretched sideways to make the seat more comfortable for older/wider children. They do not.
This Stretch part of this booster seat’s name comes from a unique feature — the torso portion of the back expands upwards in two places.
The first expansion happens between the side wings and the base of the booster.
The next expansion is between the side wings and the headrest. This means that the side wings move with the child as they grow. Our models found this made the seat more comfortable!
Fit to Child
6 Years Old
High Back Mode
Our 6 year old model is 49 pounds and 47 inches tall. This seat provides the belt fit we expect to see from the original TurboBooster and all of its relatives. The lap belt sits low on the hips and the shoulder belt lays centered across the collarbone. The belt guide is just above the child’s shoulder. This child still has plenty of growing room in high back mode.
9 Years Old
High Back Mode
We are excited to see that this 58 pound, 52 inch tall 9 year old still has room to grow in the TurboBooster Stretch in high back mode. He has nearly outgrown all of the other high back boosters in our stash. In this particular seat, the 21.5 inch top shoulder belt guide means he still has two clicks of the headrest left before he’s outgrown the seat in this mode. The vehicle seat belt fits as well on him as it does his brother.
Converting to Backless Mode
To convert this seat to backless booster mode, I found it easiest to place the seat on the floor, push down on the base of the seat with one hand, and push the back to rotate it downwards to the floor. Once the back is removed from the seat, unsnap the snaps at the back of the backless booster. Then, flip the extra flap under the cover and snap the cover back into place.
Fit to Child
6 Years Old
This model hasn’t grown any since he modeled this seat in high back mode. He’s still 6 years old, 49 pounds and 47 inches tall. He normally rides in a high back booster. He came back very excited (and slightly more dirty) to test out this seat in backless mode. The belt still sits low on the hips and the shoulder belt rests centered on the collarbone.
9 Years Old
This 58 pound, 52 inch tall 9 year old is used to riding in a backless booster. He was happy to announce that he did not need the shoulder belt guide adjuster that comes with the seat. The TurboBooster Stretch boosts him into a position where the belt fits him nice and low on the hips and the shoulder belt is centered on the collarbone.
Buckling the TurboBooster Stretch
The Chevy Traverse that was used to model this seat has low-set, rigid buckle stalks in the captain’s chairs. This makes buckling the seat rather difficult. The 3rd row, with the flexible buckle stalk, was a much easier seating location for the children to buckle themselves.
As the headrest was moved to higher positions, we noticed some belt retraction issues — the shoulder belt got stuck in the belt guide and needed some extra help to go back into the retractor.
Extra Height – or Not?
We are loving the 21.5 inch belt guide on this seat. However,we were unable to extend the headrest fully in the 3rd row of the Chevy Traverse. There were two clicks left when the headrest hit the ceiling. We were very excited to see that it was able to reach full height potential in the 2nd row captains chairs. This is not an uncommon scenario with the 3rd row in many vehicles since the roof may slope down a bit back there.
The snaps on the TurboBooster Stretch are a bit different than snaps we’ve seen on other Graco booster seats. This cover contains a metal snap. The shell has a hole where the snap goes. This may be an area of concern if the seat needs to be washed frequently.
Important Information: Where to Find
FAA Approval: The TurboBooster Stretch is not approved for use on an aircraft. Like all booster seats, the seat requires a lap and shoulder belt. The label prohibiting use on an aircraft is located on the bottom of the booster.
Date of Manufacture: The date of manufacture label is located on the bottom of the booster. The TurboBooster Stretch has a 10 year expiration.
Manual Storage: The manual stores nicely on the bottom of the booster.
Shoulder Belt Guide Adjuster: The shoulder belt guide does not have a dedicated storage spot on the seat. The glove box, center console, or a filing cabinet are all great places to store it for future use.
The TurboBooster Stretch delivers on vehicle belt fit and ease of use, just like the other variations of the TurboBooster do. It is lightweight and easy to adjust. The extra height makes it a longer-lasting option in high back mode than the other members of the TurboBooster family. The fact that the booster seat doesn’t “stretch” any way but up is a bit disappointing. Our models said their favorite part was the hideaway compartment and the cup holder!