At the 2014 ABC Kids Expo, Diono unveiled their plans to team up with Little Tikes to release a booster seat. This reasonably-priced option is lightweight and fairly long-lasting. Let’s take a closer look at this booster.
Since that time, the Little Tykes version of this seat has been retired, but Diono has replaced it with the Diono Hip.
Key note about the Hip: there’s some discrepancy around the stated height and weight limits for the Hip. Some models list 63 inches as the top height, while others say 60. In addition, some models have a weight limit of 120 pounds while others say 110 pounds. Please confirm your particular seat’s height and weight limit by checking the label on the seat.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- High back booster weight range: 40-120 pounds
- High back booster height range: 38-60 inches
- Backless booster weight range: 40-120 pounds
- Backless booster height range: 38-60 inches
- Highest belt guide position: 21 inches
- Expiration: 6 years from date of purchase
- Requires head support from a vehicle head restraint behind it at all times
- 2015 IIHS Best Bet
Out of the box, the Little Tikes booster comes in two pieces. To assemble, simply line the pieces of the back of the booster up with the base and lift the back up to snap it into place. The first impression right out of the box is the seat is very light, which can be beneficial for caregivers who need to swap out seats frequently. Another thing to note, while not a safety concern, straight out of the box the seat has a pretty strong odor. This dissipated about a week after use though.
Fit to Car
Using the Little Tikes booster is pretty straightforward. The Little Tikes booster does not have lower anchor connectors. To keep the unoccupied seat from becoming a projectile in an accident, it should be buckled in with the vehicle seat belt at all times. The Little Tikes booster requires that the child have head support up to their ears from the vehicle head restraint. This means that if you have a tall child and a vehicle seat without adjustable head restraints, this seat may not be compatible. The belt guide on the seat is wide open and fairly easy to access. This is beneficial because it keeps the seat belt retracting freely, ensuring a correct fit to child at all times. This open access can lead to the vehicle belt coming out of the shoulder belt guide at times though. The booster is also required to have full contact with the vehicle seat back.
Fit to Child
High Back Mode
5 Years Old
This model recently turned 5 and is a new booster rider. She’s 5 years old, 46 lbs, and 45 inches tall. Getting any opinion about a car seat from her is difficult, because in her mind, if it isn’t Spiderman, it isn’t good enough. With some prying, and maybe a little bribing, I got her to tell me that she said it felt “tippy.” This is a pretty common feeling among newer booster riders. When the booster isn’t secured to the vehicle with lower anchors, it can slide around a bit until the child learns to move with the seat as the car makes turns.
When should your child make the switch to a booster? When they are a minimum of 5 years old, meet the limits of the seat, and have the maturity sit correctly.
6.5 Years Old
This model is also a new booster rider. She’s still learning how to sit properly on a consistent basis. At 6.5 years old, 51 lbs and 47 inches tall, she’s well within the limits of the seat so she’d have some room to grow. However, she found the seat hard to buckle — it’s so wide that it often covered the buckle stalk and she couldn’t quite reach without help. She’d prefer a booster with more padding on the back.
8 Years Old
This model is 8 years old, 50.5 inches tall, and weighs 58 lbs. She’s a seasoned booster rider, and knows what she likes in a booster. She made the comment that the booster was a little hard, but not uncomfortable. She liked that it had two cupholders for snacks and a drink. The booster provides a proper fit on her and with a high belt guide, will last her for at least another year.
Here we see our 8 years old model again. She’s still 50.5 inches tall, and weighs 58 lbs. When used in backless mode, the Little Tikes Booster comes with a seat belt adjuster. This model is tall enough and fits well enough that she does not need it. The adjuster can be helpful with certain seat belt types to provide a better fit for the child. This model will easily fit another 3-4 years until she passes the five step test.
9 Years Old
This model just turned 9 years old, is 53″, and wears a size 12/14 for clothes. The Little Tikes Booster is a wider seat, so while not the best choice for three across, it works well for bigger, older booster users. She had plenty of room and the dual cupholders work out great when eating on the go.
Important Information: Where to Find
Once the seat was out of the box, it took me a few minutes to locate the seat manual. The manual and seat belt adjuster are both tucked underneath the bottom of the seat.
Like all belt positioning boosters, the Little Tikes High Back booster is not FAA approved because it requires a lap-shoulder belt. Even though it cannot be used on the plane, it’s still okay to bring it on as a carryon item. The full seat is very light weight, but the backless portion is fairly wide, so might not be the easiest booster to travel with.
This booster has a 6 year expiration from the date of purchase. This is unique, generally expiration dates go from the date of manufacture. Because of this, it would be beneficial to note in your manual when you purchase the seat. If the date of purchase has been forgotten, Little Tikes has said to count from the date of manufacture instead. The date of manufacture can be found on a sticker on the bottom of the seat.
All CSFTL review seats make their rounds among different CSFTL admins and their families. This particular booster has visited a few families along the way and picked up some minor stains. Despite washing the cover per the manufacturer’s instructions, we’re unable to get these stains out. Since the seat is no longer being made, we were unable to order a replacement cover.
- 21″ top shoulder belt guide
- Converts to backless
- Requires vehicle head support at all times
- The seat’s width can restrict access to the buckle
The Little Tikes booster seat is well priced, lightweight, and provides an excellent belt fit on all of the models used in this review.
Diono/Little Tikes generously provided us with this seat to review. The reviewer received no compensation — as always, all opinions are our own!