Our friends at Safe Traffic Systems are industry leaders when it comes to alternative options that allow children to ride safely in tight spaces, or when they’re on the go. The Gen5 Travel Vest is their main product, these days we find ourselves suggesting it quite often these days since the number of booster seats with less than a 40 pound minimum weight has dwindled, leaving smaller children who are ready to ride in a booster seat with far fewer options than they had a few years ago. The TravelSmarter Booster Seat is a stunningly lightweight backless booster seat that’s approved for use with the Gen5 Travel Vest (Note: it’s the ONLY booster seat approved for this scenario!) but it’s has one more claim to fame: it’s quite narrow and might be a great option for some tight spaces.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- Weight range: 40-100 pounds
- Age range: at least 4 years old CSFTL suggests that children be at least 5 years old before moving to a booster seat
- Height range: 40-57 inches tall
- Expiration: 7 years
- Seat weight: 1 pound
- Mesh cupholder for very tiny, lightweight cups or soft objects
Note: a very small number of these booster seats included a locking clip, which stored in the little pouch on the outside of the cover and had specific instructions for use. If your booster includes a locking clip and a shoulder belt guide adjuster, please consult the manual that came with your seat for instructions.
- Width at widest point: 15 inches
- Seat weight: 1 pound
- Seat pan depth: 13 inches
- Seat pan width: 11.5 inches
Okay, there’s really no assembly for this seat. Just take it out of the box, and make note of the absolutely adorable backpack that’s included with it. Unwrap the booster and the backpack and you’re ready to ride!
The booster includes an adorable backpack that makes carpooling a breeze. There’s a little bit of extra space in the backpack once the booster is in there, but not a lot.
Once the booster and adorable backpack are removed from the box, the setup is minimal. As my kiddo used to say, this type of booster is a “plopper,” meaning that you just plop it onto the vehicle seat and you’re ready to go!
Shoulder Belt Routing
The TravelSmarter has an unusual vehicle seat belt routing. The lap portion of the belt goes under the armrests on both sides of the booster seat while the shoulder portion of the vehicle seat belt goes behind the armrest on the same side as the vehicle seat belt buckle. Most booster seats don’t have this routing so it’s something to be aware of.
At just 15 inches wide (no, that’s not a typo or an error but we do always appreciate your tireless efforts at trying to find them in our articles), the TravelSmarter Booster Seat is the narrowest booster seat on the market, which makes it a great options for tight spaces. There are a couple of caveats: because it’s so narrow, it may not fit the widest of passengers and it’s a bit pricey for a standalone booster seat. For families who are struggling to make their current situation in their current vehicle work, the TravelSmarter could be the option that brings everything together.
Three Across for Larger Riders
Because the TravelSmarter is quite narrow, that means it’s quite narrow and may not be the best option for children who are on the higher end of the height and weight limits. Please test the fit on your kiddo before heading out for a ride!
Using it With the Ride Safer Gen5
The TravelSmarter Booster Seat is the only booster that’s approved for use with the Ride Safer Travel Vest Gen5. It’s also sold as part of a combo pack that includes both the vest and the booster seat. We’ve reviewed the vest separately so we’ll send you there for more information about that handy option.
The booster has a handy label that shows the belt routing and types of vehicle seat belts that are permitted. While this may seem like overkill to those of us who do car seats in the United States, this booster is sold and used throughout the world so this label covers almost every possible scenario.
Fit to Child
6 Year Old Doll
We hope to add more actual children to this review but for now, our 48 inch tall Huggable Images 6 year old doll was more than willing to show us how this seat fits. The doll fit well — the lap belt is over the top of the doll’s thighs, the shoulder belt is across the center of the doll’s shoulder. The unusual belt routing actually made a lot of sense when I was buckling the doll in.
RideSafer Gen5 + TravelSmarter
Many thanks to our friends at Safe Traffic Systems for this photo. Here we have a 6 year old model who is 50 inches tall displaying the vest and the booster together. Note: the TravelSmarter Booster is the ONLY booster approved for use with the vest.
Important Information: Where to Find
FAA Approval: The TravelSmarter Booster Seat is not approved for use on aircraft. That’s consistent with booster seats everywhere, since they require a lap/shoulder belt and airplane seat belts are only for laps. HOWEVER, since the TravelSmarter has its own adorable backpack and weighs almost nothing, it’s a great travel option for kiddos who can carry their own stuff. Store it under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin and you’re ready to ride when you arrive at your destination.
Date of manufacture label: the seat expires 7 years after the date of manufacture. The label is sewn into the inside of the seat’s cover.
Manual storage: the manual is actually a well-printed pamphlet that tucks into a little pocket on the outside of the seat.
I know that this booster’s primary mission in life is to work with the Gen5 travel vest for families who are on the go. It’s a great option for those scenarios already, it has shown up to work and does a fine job of boosting vest wearers into an even better position.
However…in a world where families need to transport multiple children safely in vehicles that seem to get smaller and smaller, this booster seat brings a lot of options to families who might have had to make hard choices about moving a child who didn’t pass the Five Step Test out of a booster seat. The TravelSmarter is a fantastic option for tight spaces that involve booster seat riders. It’s not the cheapest option on the market but it’s so narrow, it might make all the difference in the world when it comes to keeping every passenger safe.