Did you know that once a child has grown out of their car seat, they aren't actually ready to sit on their own in a car even with the added security of a seatbelt? A seatbelt could actually do more harm than good for a child who's too small to sit in a regular adult-sized seat in a car or van.
Even when adjusted to the tightest possible setting, a seatbelt designed for the average sized adult will be ill-fitting for a child, so a booster car seat ensures that the seatbelts in your car fit your child appropriately.
In addition to traveling by car, a booster seat is essential if you occasionally dine away from home. High chairs found in restaurants are limited and one-size-fits-all which might not be the best fit for your child. Having your own booster chair will make dining away easier because you won't need to wonder if high chairs are available or if they'll be a good fit for your child.
So let's take a look at the five best travel booster seats that will make traveling and dining a little more worry-free for you and your little ones.
Top 5: Travel Booster Seats Review
Product Image & Rating (Out Of 10)
This Brica GoBoost convenient travel booster seat is well priced. It only weighs about two and a half pounds and features traction pads that keep it in place, and a secure and durable internal frame that supports children who weigh up to fifty pounds.
It features a useful storage compartment for diapers, cups, or bottles, is made of easy to clean materials, and folds down into a ready to go lightweight bag. This product also allows you to adjust the height as your needs change with your growing child. Another handy thing about Brica GoGoost is that it fits onto most chairs as one reviewer commented.
This Mifold is well priced, and it is the grab-and-go car booster seat that actually is not a booster seat at all. Instead, Mifold is more of a seat belt adjustment device. It brings a car seatbelt down to a child's level instead of boosting a child up to fit into a seatbelt. The device has three seatbelt guides that adjust to three different sizes so a seatbelt will always fit snugly and comfortably.
There are two guides on both sides of a child's hips to make sure the seatbelt fits correctly in the child's waist area away from the stomach and a guide for the chest strap that keeps the strap over the bones of the shoulder and away from the face and neck. Mifold is designed for children age four and up. In terms of size, it's meant to be used for children 40-57 inches tall who weigh from 40-100 pounds.
This seatbelt adjuster is conveniently compact. At a glance, it looks like a slightly oversized checkbook, or a plastic case for a DVD. Since it's so small, it fits perfectly into backpacks, bags, glove compartments, and more. More importantly, Mifold has been safety tested and conforms to US standard FMVSS 213.
The Summer Infant Pop and Sit Portable Booster is at a low price and is available in a range of colors. This one is ideal for outdoor or indoor use because it is very lightweight at less than five pounds, made of easy to clean materials, has a sturdy frame, and folds up easily to fit in its carry bag.
Some other handy features of this product are its rear storage pocket and removable, dishwasher safe, BPA free tray. The Infant Pop and Sit Booter is designed for children who are six months old up to 37 pounds. It has a three-point safety harness and chair safety straps that keep it secure on an adult chair.
This Graco's TurboBooster is car booster seat is well priced as well. It features a FastAction Fold mechanism that folds it to half its size as soon as you lift the handle located in the middle of the booster seat, seat belt guides that keep a seatbelt shoulder strap positioned correctly and away from a child's neck and face, removable and washable seat pad, convenient cup holders that swivel in and out, and a carry bag.
It's designed for children from ages four through ten years old or 40-100 pounds and 43-57 inches tall. This one is also SafeSeat engineered and tested so that it meets or exceeds US safety standard FMVSS 213. It's fairly lightweight at around seven pounds.
This Hiccapop Inflatable Car Seat Booster only weighs a little over a pound. It is designed for children from ages four to eight years old or children who weigh 40-100 pounds. It's quick and easy to inflate, install, deflate, and roll up for easy storage in its carry bag.
This cushiony comfortable booster is designed to be used with any standard three-point seatbelt harness, and it positions seat belts over a child's lap instead of over the stomach which could be dangerous in car accidents.
The outer covering of this product is made of a non-skid base, the internal part is made of a thick and durable vinyl bladder is that will not rupture or burst. The makers of Hiccapop also offer a 100% lifetime guarantee. This one meets or exceeds the US safety standard FMVSS 213.
My pick is the Inflatable Hiccapop Uberboost. It's the ideal option because it's very lightweight, easy to install, deflate, and it could be useful with dining out and possibly air travel as well. It's not the most durable option, but it has a lifetime guarantee that means it can be replaced when necessary.
What's Best for You?
So which travel booster or car seat booster is best for you? Depending on how much you're out and about with your child, you will most likely want both types (booster for dining and car seat). Initially, if you dine away from home often, you might find you need a booster seat like the Summer Infant Pop and Sit or Brica GoBoost.
Whether you're having a picnic, going to the grandparents' house, visiting a friend or relative, or dining in a restaurant having your own booster chair that you're familiar with will give you some peace of mind. You'll know that your child will have a place to sit securely no matter where you go.
In my case, I'd like to try the Brica GoBoost. The storage compartment would eliminate the need to carry a separate diaper bag which would make outings a little easier with fewer things. Besides the storage compartment, it's handy that it folds down into a bag with a nice thick strap, is pretty lightweight, and easy to clean. The Summer Infant Pop and Sit is also an ideal option for anyone who frequently picnics or camps.
As mentioned above, in all likelihood you'll end up buying both types of boosters, one mostly for eating at a table and one for your car. Once your child has outgrown their car seat, they won't be able to sit in a regular adult seat of your car with only the help of a standard seatbelt. How do you know when your child should move into a backless option?
When a child outgrows the height limitations and internal harness of a forward-facing car seat, it is time to move on to a booster car seat. This could be at approximately age three or four years old, but it also really depends on the size of your child. A child needs to use a booster in a car when they're 40-80 pounds but under 4'9”.
If you'd like to think about using a booster car seat in terms of age, children within ages four through eight and under 35” tall are ideal candidates for an extra boost in the car. Although considering the age of your child is an effective general way of evaluating the necessity of a booster, always take into account the height and weight of your child as well.
A Booster Seat Is Necessary
According to Doctor Emily A. Thomas of Consumer Reports, there are five ways to know that your child should be using a booster seat. The ways to see that your child needs to use a booster are as follows:
Each of these factors are important to look out for as you consider the safety of your child in a car. I feel it's especially important to recognize the uncomfortable shoulder strap and lap strap. A shoulder strap that is constantly touching or grazing a child's face and neck will be annoying, they'll naturally want to move it behind their shoulder to keep it away from their face and neck and leave themselves unprotected.
So, a car booster seat is an absolute must-have item for the safety of the children under your care in your vehicle. Fortunately, there are great lightweight and affordable options like Mifold and Hiccapop Uberboost that effortlessly fit in any medium sized bag or backpack. Graco's TurboBoost is also a really handy option with its cupholders for those long car trips.
So how about you? What's the best option for your children? Consider all the ins and outs like your child's size, age, your vehicle or the chairs in your home, the ideal weight, your budget, and any special factors you can think of. Your child's needs may change as they grow so it's best to have a few alternative options in mind.