The Harmony Dreamtime, one of Harmony’s multiple belt positioning options, serves a niche market in that is one of the few high back boosters still available that may be an acceptable option in a three across, due to its narrow lines and plumb sides. While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of many of the market’s more showy options, it is affordable, and provides an excellent belt fit in high back and backless mode, and as such, does what it is needed to do.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- High back booster weight range, United States: 30-110 lbs.
- High back booster weight range, Canada: 40-110 lbs.
- High back booster height range: 34-57″
- Backless booster weight range: 30-110 lbs.
- Backless booster height range: 34-57″
- Highest booster guide position: 18.5″
- Expiration: 6 years
- IIHS Best Bet in both high back and backless mode
Assembly and Appearance
The booster comes in three pieces. The head rest is first snapped into the back rest, and then the entire back assembly into the bottom of booster. It is then rotated up and locked into place. The seat is made of blow-molded plastic. The head rest does not have a mechanism for moving it between positions. Rather, hand strength applied to the head rest moves it up and down to the desired position. Two retractable cup-holders are placed on either side. When retracted, they protrude about a half-inch from the side of the seat.
The wings surrounding the head and the torso are fairly deep, but not as wide as may be seen on other boosters, which is what makes it 3-across friendly. The cover is a combination of a soft, brushed material, and mesh. Fabric tabs at the belt paths feature red arrows indicating how the belt should lie.
The seat’s one real draw-back, even for the very reasonable price point, is that the high back mode is very short-lasting. The bottom position is a mere 14.5″ from the seat pan. This generally correlates to the average 3 or 4 year old’s torso height. At that age, children should be using a tethered, forward facing five point harness, or even a rear facing five point harness. The topmost position is 18.5″ from the seat pan, meaning that the overall height limit of 57″ far surpasses the reasonable expectation of torso longevity.
Here, our 7-year-old model is 49″, 52 lbs, and as you can see, has maxed out the high back capacity of the seat. However, he has an excellent lap and shoulder belt fit and declares it ‘comfy’.
Our 8-year-old model is 65 lbs and 53″ tall. Her torso is far too tall for the back on the Dreamtime, but she has a beautiful fit in backless mode. The seat provides a shoulder belt adjuster but, as you can see here, it’s clearly not needed. This seat excels in leg support; despite the narrow width, even a tall child has more than adequate support under her thighs.
Fit in Vehicle
At its widest flare (at the tips of the armrests), the seat measures 16″. The depth of the seat pan in backless mode is 16″ to where the seat begins to curve downward. Harmony requires that the entire base of its seats be supported by the vehicle seat.
Harmony recommends that when using this booster, the automatic locking feature be engaged effectively ‘locking’ the child in the seat. This may increase the risk that a child experiences a submarining ejection from the lap belt and increases the risk of ‘torso ejection’ from the shoulder belt.
Harmony may have placed this suggestion in the manual to avoid very young children getting out of position. With a bottom belt position of 14.5″, a bottom height restriction of 34″ and a bottom weight restriction of 30 lbs and no stated minimum age, most three-year olds, and in fact, some two-year olds, could ‘legally’ use this seat. Car Seats for the Littles strongly recommends that 2 and 3 year olds continue to use their rear facing harnessed seats as long as they fit by height and weight, and then transition to a forward facing 5 point harness with tether. A belt positioning booster is not an appropriate seat for this age group.
The good news is that if you keep your child restrained according to best practice standards, a child who might ‘wiggle’ out of position will still be restrained in a five point harness. A child in a booster should be fully mature and ready to sit upright without added assistance.
This is a basic, well-designed, low-cost option that definitely fills a niche need for narrower seats.
And now, following the directions below, our readers have the opportunity to win one of their own. Congrats to Heather J. on winning the Dreamtime! Harmony did not provide this booster for review and I received no compensation from them. These thoughts are all my own. The giveaway is open to our US friends only, sorry!