It’s not often that a car seat or booster seat is released in Canada only, but Maxi-Cosi has released a new backless booster exclusively for Canada. We were excited (and honoured) when they asked us to review it. One can never have too many backless boosters (at least, that’s what we tell ourselves) so we took them up on their offer and have added the Maxi-Cosi Züm to our collection. Let’s see how it stacks up!
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 40-100 pounds
- Height range: 40-57 inches
- Age range: Does not have a minimum age for use. CSFTL advocates that children be at least 5 years old before riding in a booster seat and closer to 7 or 8 before riding in a backless booster seat
- Follows NHTSA replacement criteria for replacement after a collision
- Optional cup holders with optional rubber Cup Holder Insert on select models (our model did not come with the insert)
- Flip up armrests (which are not mentioned in the manual, and all photos in the manual show them down, so we assume these are a fun feature that serve no functional purpose)
- Plush padding
- Width at widest point (armrests): 18.5 inches (20.5 inches wide when one cup holder is used and 22.5 inches wide when both are used)
- Depth: 15.5 inches
- Width at the child’s hips:12.5 inches
- Weight: 5.3 pounds
- Expiration: 10 years from date of manufacture. Note: our Züm has a different expiration date stamped on the bottom. Maxi-Cosi has confirmed that the mold on our seat was not updated, and that the manual’s 10 year useful life is correct.
- Easy to set up without (very much or any) adult assistance
- Easy to carry
- Consistent belt fit
The manual arrives attached to the bottom of the booster seat. At only 44 pages long — 22 English pages and 22 French pages — the manual is fairly short. Since backless booster seats don’t tend to have moving parts, this is to be expected.
As always, Maxi-Cosi has put a lot of time and thought into the Züm’s manual. We love that they have included this guidance in the manual early on (on Page 3)
“Measure your child’s weight and height (do not guess) before using this booster seat….
The American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations:
Infants and Toddlers: should ride in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the seat.
Toddlers and Preschoolers: Once they are facing-forward, children should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the height and weight limits for their seat.
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 slider vehicle seat belt fits 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.”
It’s great to see this wording in all of Maxi-Cosi’s manuals, even when some of these stages don’t apply to the specific seat. It’s a good reminder to parents and caregivers not to rush to the next stage of child restraint. This is a message we repeat often.
Shoulder Belt Guide Adjuster
The Züm does not include a shoulder belt guide adjuster. Though the fit on our models was quite good, caregivers who have a vehicle with a unique vehicle seat belt geometry that usually requires this type of adjuster for a proper belt fit may want to consider a different model of booster.
The Züm has two cupholders that fold in and out. Our models were fond of putting their small stuffed animals in them to bring them along for the car ride.
Fit to Child
We encourage younger booster riders to use a high back booster until they’ve outgrown it because the extra support can help serve as a reminder to the child to sit correctly. We tried some younger children in the Maxi-Cosi Züm Backless Booster Seat to check the fit and gather their thoughts.
5 Years Old
This model is newly 5 years old, and has not yet ridden in a booster seat. We measured her at 45 inches tall and weighed her at exactly 40 pounds today, but her weight regularly drops below 40 pounds so this booster seat would not be a safe option for her. Since she is in Canada, she MUST be consistently over 40 pounds to legally use a booster seat, so she will be riding harnessed for a while yet.
While we like to see younger booster riders use a high back booster seat until they outgrow the back, we were quite impressed with the way the vehicle seat belt fit our 5 year old model in the Züm. The lap belt is low on her thighs, touching her hips, and the shoulder belt is centered on her shoulder. Despite not being told that the arm rest lifts, this model quickly figured it out and raised the arm rest to help give her access to the seat belt buckle when we were done taking photos of her – clever kiddo!
7 Years Old
This model is newly 7 years old and regularly rides in a high back booster seat. This is only the second time she has ridden in a backless booster seat, but she agreed to test it out for our review. Our model weighs 58 pounds and is 52 inches tall, and she also fits the Maxi-Cosi Züm perfectly with the lap belt is low on her thighs, touching her hips, and the shoulder belt centered on her shoulder.
Likely because she is used to buckling and unbuckling a booster she did not notice that the Züm’s armrests raise up.
9 Years Old
Our final model in this review is 9 years old, 55 inches tall (4’7”) and weighs 82 pounds. He’s getting close to passing the 5 Step Test but isn’t *quite* there yet in this 2007 Honda Odyssey captain’s chair.
Once again, we see an ideal seat belt fit in the Maxi-Cosi Züm. We’ve said it twice already but will say it again: the lap belt is positioned low on his thighs, touching his hips, and the shoulder belt is centered on his shoulder.
The cover and armrest covers can be machine washed separately in cold water on a gentle cycle. NEVER use bleach. Tumble dry separately for 10-12 minutes on low heat and remove from the dryer immediately.
The base and cup holder can be wiped clean with mild soap and water.
Important Information: Where to Find
Date of manufacture: is located on the lower plastic shell on the child’s left hand side
Airplane approval: like all booster seats, the Maxi-Cosi Züm backless booster seat is not approved for use on aircraft. That’s because airplane seats have lap-only vehicle seat belts and booster seats require lap AND shoulder belts. The manual states that restriction clearly on Page 13.
National Safety Mark: is located on the child’s right hand side of the cover
Manual storage: the manual stores on the bottom of the booster seat for easy access.
We were very happy to see such a consistent vehicle seat belt fit on all of our models using the Maxi-Cosi Züm. While the Züm does not come with a shoulder belt guide (so it may not provide an ideal shoulder belt fit in some vehicles or seating positions), we didn’t run into any issues in our everyday vehicle. Weighing in at just slightly over 5 pounds, the Maxi-Cosi Züm may be a booster seat to consider if the child riding in it needs to carry it for any length of time (while carpooling or on vacation, for example). The only downside we wanted to mention, aside from the lack of shoulder belt guide, is that the Züm’s price point is fairly high for a backless booster seat.
We’re always happy when a new, solid booster enters the Canadian market, so we’re extending a warm welcome to the Maxi-Cosi Züm backless booster seat!
Our friends at Maxi-Cosi are giving away one Züm to a lucky reader in Canada! Enter here for your chance to win: