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Carseat booster for 8yo?


Tohru
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A booster is a belt positioner, not protective like a car seat (except maybe in the hip area).  So, the highbacks are for positioning the child relative to the seatbelt and keeping them up straight.  A neurotypical 8yo can sit properly in a booster without a high back, generally speaking, so it wouldn't be necessary unless you have a child that can't sit properly in their seat for some reason.  Sometimes kids have trouble with sleeping in the car and being "out of position", so a high back can be helpful for that.  But the booster seat itself without the back is just designed to "boost" the kid high enough to be properly positioned for the seatbelt.

 

Basically any booster sold on the market in the US has passed NHTSA tests and is safe to use.  Expensive or cheap is just going to depend on bells and whistles.  Some people like boosters with LATCH because it means they don't have to secure them with the seatbelt when a child isn't in them.

Edited by JodiSue
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I have my 9 year old in a Safety First Incognito: as my daughter has friends out of boosters already, she appreciates a more discreet booster. It's definitely a booster for tweens, though: the weight minimum is 60 lbs and the height minimum is 47ft. My six year old is in a Graco Nautilus, which can be a 5 pt seat, high back booster, or backless booster. Unlike the Incognito and the convertible I have for the baby, the Nautilus is wide and will not fit three across with pretty much anything, so I can never use a car with only two rows of seats. I regret it as a result.

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My son is in this one: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-813706/safety-1st-boost-air-protect-booster-car-seat.jsp?ci_mcc=ci&utm_campaign=EC%20BABY%20NON-APPAREL&utm_medium=CSE&utm_source=google&utm_product=91748226&CID=shopping15&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=91748226&gclid=CMypkNC908sCFQktaQodEQELXA&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CPKTptC908sCFUmqaQoduKcE1A

 

He will be 8 this summer. We got the tall seat because he falls asleep in the car a lot and when we're in the car it's usually a fairly long drive. There are slots to keep the belt in position. I prefer that to the other type though we own one of each.

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Years ago I read a consumer reports article indicating that backless boosters performed better than high back boosters in their tests. I have stuck with basic backless boosters once my children graduate from five point harness seats ever since.

 

I'd be interested to know if that data still holds true.

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Well I have hung out on the car-seats.org website and am a member of Carseats for Littles on FB and they (techs) pretty much all say one is not better than the other as long as it's used properly /shrug.

 

That is what I recall, anyway.

 

A tiny part of me worries about flying debris and thinks the wings on the head part might be better than nothing, but eh, who's to say what would happen in a car crash.

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My 8 year old finds the high back boosters uncomfortable. He is on the slightly tall side for his age though. Really, in the back seat of our vehicle the seatbelt fits him properly without a booster but our state law requires one until 9.

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Which.co.uk used to have a great video that showed the difference in side and front impact crashes in high back/no back/SIP seats.  The SIP(side impact protection rated) seats came out ahead in keeping the belt on the child in the right places.

 

We have a Chicco Kidfit as our back up.  I really like it.  It's sturdy, easy to buckle, and has a sort of memory foam seat which is great for long distances.  I couldn't get my dh to go for the Clek, lol, or I might have gotten that.

 

That said, our spare travel seat right now is a BubbleBum, used in the middle of a vehicle bench rather than a side.  It's compact and discreet.  When that expires at the end of this year it'll be replaced with a Mifold.

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My kids both have Britax Frontiers as boosters in my van. Love them! Used them with the 5pt harness for several years before we switched to booster mode. 

Dd is petite and the seat belts in the captains's chairs do not hit her right without a booster. Also the smaller boosters are smaller than the van seat itself, which is uncomfortable.  

 

 

We have the backless Gracos in Dh's car and my mom's. Kids ride there much less often. 

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I recall reading somewhere that you really want a high back booster in a vehicle that doesn't have head support built into the seats, but that either one is fine for a bigger child otherwise, as long as the booster you choose (in combination with whatever adjustment features are built into your vehicle) positions the shoulder belt correctly. For most 8yos, based on that criteria, a backless is going to work fine.

 

This article is pretty good re: high back vs. backless booster:

 

http://carseatblog.com/8243/to-backless-or-not-to-backless-that-is-the-question/

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The pedi nurse at our Dr's office is a certified car seat tech and told us that the backless vs. high back doesn't matter as far as safety as long as the child is sitting properly. DS hasn't taken a nap in the car since before he was 2 (very prone to carsickness), so he's been fine with the backless booster this past year. He's also good about sitting properly. We have Graco backless boosters we purchased on Amazon and they're great. Cupholders are nice and sturdy, the padding is soft enough and he's comfy in them. Of course now he's asking to sit in the regular seat without a booster, but he needs to wait until he's bigger for that. He won't be able to pass the 5 pt test for a bit yet.

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By 8, my older kids were almost out of boosters. We used the Evenflo backless because the high back had a thing to thread the seatbelt through that would catch and make it hard to buckle the seatbelt. You can't pause pulling out the Odyssey belts in the back and they freeze, then you have to completely release and start over and... The Evenflo were also the widest I could find at the time for my kiddos and fit their bums better. Some of the others were tight at the hips and uncomfortable for them. We just went down the aisle at Target and held them up. They sat up and didn't slump over at that age, so it worked for us. If your child is on the smaller side and will be in a booster for a potentially long period into the future, I might look at the Incognito if you are concerned about them feeling out of place for continuing to use a booster. It blends into the seat and doesn't scream I AM A BOOSTER. A friend whose child is very, very petite is still using hers at 11 and it has minimized her feeling awkward with peers. :)

 

The general safety research (at the time I did it) said that the booster itself really didn't matter as long as it raised your child up to correctly position the seatbelt on his person. It's not providing the same type of protection as a harnessed carseat. The car's seatbelt is doing the work. The booster is just lifting the child up to fit into the car's seatbelt correctly. (I'm one of the extended-RF as long as possible types, and my older kids were in a harnessed Britax seat until they outgrew it. Same for boosters.)

Edited by zoobie
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