The name Rodi isn’t particularly new, we first met previous incarnations of this booster seat when it was the RodiFix and RodiAP, both of which were fan favorites in my house at the time. The Rodi AP won the popularity contest by a hair because it converted to a backless booster seat that worked well for us for a long time. The RodiSport is the latest version of this booster seat, like the Rodi AP before it, it converts to a backless booster, and like the RodiFix that we used to know (which did not convert to a backless booster seat), it has rigid lower anchors. Let us see how today’s RodiSport compares to the past and (more importantly) performs in the present!
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Height range, high back booster mode: 43-57 inches tall or until the tops of the child’s ears reach the top of the headrest
- Weight range, high back booster mode: 40-100 pounds
- Height range, backless booster mode: 43-57 inches tall or until the tops of the child’s ears reach the top of the vehicle headrest
- Weight range, backless booster mode: 40-100 pounds
- 2 recline positions — the reclined position should only be used to install the booster seat flush against the vehicle seat back. The vehicle seat back must be upright.
- Rigid lower anchors (to prevent the seat from becoming a projectile when unoccupied), referred to in the manual as LATCH Isofix
- Dishwasher-safe cupholder
The manual includes recommendations from the AAP about when to move a child to the next step in car seat or booster seats safely. For the purposes of this review:
School-Aged Children Once they have outgrown their forward-facing car seat, children should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt fi ts properly. This is often when they have reached at least 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 to 12 years old.
Older Children All children younger than 13 years should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
The seat arrives in two pieces. The manual comes through once again with some really clear instructions on how to assemble it. Just slide the hooks on the high back portion of the seat into the slots on the backless portion of the seat, then move the backrest to the upright position. You will hear a click when it is in the proper position.
Note: with the first RodiSport I met for this review, I had a bit of trouble hearing that click when the back was in place. I really had to get the hooks on the high back portion of the seat lined up exactly right with the holes on the backless portion of the seat and even then the click wasn’t very loud. I was somehow able to get my hands on two more RodiSports during this time and neither of those had that trouble!
While writing this review, I also had the opportunity to work with two different RodiSports. I’m pleased to tell you that this other RodiSport gave a resounding click during assembly. So maybe it’s just me.
I also had a bonus opportunity with a 3rd RodiSport, that one clicked into place without issue as well.
Installation/Setup: High Back Mode
Once the seat is assembled, it’s ready for use in the vehicle. With the front to the booster seat facing the front of the vehicle, set the booster seat on the vehicle seat. Extend the lower anchor connectors by pressing the button in and sliding the connector out of the booster seat’s shell. Repeat this process on both sides of the booster until both connectors are extended, then align the lower anchor connectors with the lower anchors in the vehicle and push until you hear a click.
Using the lower anchor connectors is optional, if you choose not to use them or are unable to, buckle the booster when it is unoccupied.
Shoulder Belt Guide
While many shoulder belt guides are sort of horizontal (which can make it pretty simple for a vehicle seat belt to slide through the guide in most second row seating positions), the RodiSport’s guide is oddly vertical.
I can’t think of a single reason why this is. We found that the shoulder belt did not retract well at all through this guide in any of the vehicles we tested it in — it routinely came out of the guide or got stuck. Very frustrating, and needlessly so.
However, all is not lost. We still have my 2009 Mazda 5 so I unfolded the third row and put the RodiSport back there. This oddly-angled belt guide made seat belt retraction in the third row quite easy. That’s no small feat, the seat belt geometry back there is inherently problematic. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Dodge Caravan to test this seat in but I’m willing to guess that because it works so well in the Mazda 5’s problematic third row, it might be a good option for the Town and Country’s third row as well.
If you have a RodiSport and a Town and Country, please let us know how the belt guide works in your third row!
Fit to Child
6 Year Old Doll
Our Huggable Images dolls continue to save the day in a time where finding actual humans is a challenge. The doll remains 48 inches tall and quite compliant with all of my requests. In high back mode, the RodiSport fit the doll well.
9 Years Old
We’re starting off small, with one fabulous model. He’s 9 years old, weighs 61 pounds, and is 54 inches tall. He mostly rides in a backless booster seat these days, he’s getting closer to passing the Five Step Test but isn’t quite there yet. This isn’t the first time he’s braved my backseat to model a booster seat for us, so he’s no stranger to my very recessed buckles. He didn’t need help buckling himself in, but he did need an extra few seconds to complete the task.
He’s at the top end of the RodiSport’s height range in high back mode — right here, it’s fully extended. He found the seat comfortable and we appreciated the excellent belt fit.
Converting to Backless Booster
To convert the RodiSport from a high back booster into a backless booster, rotate the backrest all the way (it will click twice during this process, once when it’s partially reclined and again when it’s fully reclined). Then, lift the backrest out of the seat and store it in a safe, dry location. Now, it is in two pieces and ready for new life in backless booster mode.
Fit to Child
6 Year Old Doll
Our 6 year old doll remains 48 inches tall. In backless mode, the RodiSport also fit the doll very well. Our doll had no complaints about getting buckled in.
9 Years Old
Once again, our model comes through. Though the seat fit him in high back mode, it also fits him in backless mode and he’s a bit more comfortable. The vehicle seat belt fits him well and he was able to buckle the seat without issue.
Important Information: Where to Find
Manual storage: the manual stores in the front of the backless portion of the seat. There’s no designated pocket, it just slides under the cover.
Date of manufacture label: this label is on the bottom of the backless portion of the seat.
FAA approval: like all booster seats, the RodiSport is not approved for use on aircraft. That’s because a booster seat requires a shoulder belt and airplanes only have lap belts.
The RodiSport is quite plush, that’s always a plus when it comes to booster seats (and car seats, too!). A well-padded, fairly lightweight booster seat with lower anchors is a terrific addition to the market. The RodiSport checks a lot of boxes — it’s plush, easy to assemble, not terribly heavy, and fairly long-lasting. We did struggle to assemble the very first RodiSport (though not the second and third!!) and found that the vehicle seat belt slide out of the shoulder belt guide quite a bit in high back mode. Our human model found the seat quite comfortable, but we worry a bit that families won’t be able to use the seat properly since the seat belt won’t stay in position. Because it seems to work well in a troublesome third row, we would definitely suggest that families who drive vehicles with third rows that have problematic seat belt positioning consider the RodiSport. We’d also suggest that families who intend to use it in the second row keep an on the shoulder belt placement if the seat is used in high back mode.