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The Ultimate Car Seat Buying Guide -

Booster Seats for Older Kids

1

What is a Booster Group 3 Car Seat?

Booster seats are car seats you can use for older children, roughly 4 to 6 year olds, so that they are able to fit well into the seat belt’s embrace. They do not have as many harnesses or safety features as required for younger children who can’t sit still; they do however provide features to give your child a comfortable and safe ride.

Why should I choose a Booster Group 3 car seat?

Your child may have outgrown the toddler car seat, but is still not big enough to be safe in an adult seat belt. Booster seats lift the child to allow the seat belt to settle firmly across the body, providing the same stability and protection as seat belts do for adults, in the event of a collision.  
2

Which one will fit my Older Child?

On the basis of characteristics, Booster Group 3 car seats have been broadly categorized into two categories: Group 1 and Group2 Booster car seats are chiefly divided into two categories –
  • High-backed booster car seat
  • Backless booster car seat
Remember: Although the groups are generally divided based on age, you might want to choose the group depending on the weight of your child.
  • A High-Back Booster Group 3 Car Seat - Choose this if you want robust security for your child’s preteen phase.
  • Relatively taller and sturdier, a high-backed booster car seat does not use an integral harness to hold the child. Instead, the car’s seat belt is used across the child’s body on the seat. These seats also have side wings to prevent side impact and protect your child’s head from an injury during a collision. Most high-backed car seats offer head rests which act as a head restraint too. A new generation of booster seats also includes energy absorbing high-backed booster seats and seats with rigid ISOFIX connectors which cater towards robust safety by keeping the seat stable. All these features make high-backed car seats the safest and the most preferred for children during their preteens.
    Specifications
    Position Sitting, forward facing, no airbags
    Recommended Weight 22 to  36 kg (48 lbs to 76 lbs)
    Approximate Age 04 to 11 years (Few can accommodate older children too if the seat has not crossed weight limit.)
    Recommended Height As per seat construction
    Best Buy Period Buy it as soon as your child outgrows the toddler car seat
    Lasts About 07 to 10 years depending upon the growth rate of your child and size of the seat.
    *Standards vary for different manufacturers.
    Click the labels for more information.
    A High-Back Booster Group 3 Car Seat
    A High-Back Booster Group 3 Car Seat - View Products
    What should I look for in a High-Back Booster Group 3 Car Seat? In addition to the General features, below are tailored specifications for High-Back Booster Group 3 Car Seat?
    Expert's Recommendation
    • Wide and twist-free straps (C) (for accommodating wider dimensions and the needs of your growing child)
    • Built-in locking clips (for enhanced security)
    • Two-piece chest clips (C) (for enhanced security)
    • Seat belt routing path (C) (To ensure that the seatbelts are threaded through the seat so that your child is in the best possible position)
    • Head impact protection (C) (for protection of baby’s head. To maintain the alignment of the baby’s head and neck in case of a collision)
    • Tether straps (C) (for enhanced security during a sudden stop/crash)
    • Car seats with ISOFIX (C) (for overall stability of the car seat)
    • Multi-recline - 5 recline positions (for accommodating different positions of child e.g. sitting, lying etc.)
    • Deep side wings protection Compatibility with the LATCH system (C) (for providing protection from side impact)
    • EPS/EPP Foam (C) (for providing a strong base to the car seat in order to protect effectively)
    • Permanently fixable CHASSIS(C) (for optimum safety)
    • Deep internal padding plus harness pads (C) (for enhanced safety)
    • Detachable Back (for converting it to a backless booster car seat)
    • Multiple(usually 6) Positions of headrest
    • Aircraft Approved (for child’s safety during air travel)
    Good to have
    • Padded seat (for child’s comfort)
    • Removable cover (for convenient cleaning)
    • 3D Foam (for child’s comfort)
    • Cushier fabric (for child’s comfort)
    • Large canopy (for child’s comfort)
    • Lateral Headrest (for child’s head movement adjustment)
    • Detachable Base (for portability)
    • Foot Props (for comfort of the feet)
    • "Wings"  (for sleeping and protection)
    • Cup holders (for storage)
    Choose this if you want robust security for your child’s preteen phase.
    Shop Now
  • A Backless Booster Group 3 Car seat - Choose this if your child has already outgrown the standards of the high-backed booster car seat.
  • Backless booster car seats are designed to secure bigger children who are not tall enough to be secured by the car’s seatbelt system alone. Like the high-backed booster car seats, the backless booster car seat’s cushion base also raises the child to an adequate height for using the car’s seat belt and back support. These compact and lightweight seats are easy to handle and help ensure an accurate positioning of the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts on your child’s torso, for optimum protection. Although high-backed booster seats available nowadays offer removable backs, experts recommend not removing them unless absolutely necessary. While high-backs are the safest choice, backless boosters are still much better and safer than your child being unrestrained completely. Backless boosters are generally less expensive. They are also easier to carry. This can be important if you have an active child and you need to switch vehicles while carting your child to different places.
    Specifications
    Position Sitting, forward facing, no airbags
    Recommended Weight 22 to 36 kg (48 lbs to 76 lbs)
    Approximate Age 6 to 11 years (Few can accommodate older children too if the seat has not crossed weight limit.)
    Recommended Height As per seat construction
    Best Buy Period Buy it as soon as your child outgrows standards of toddler car seat
    Lasts About 07 to 10 years depending upon the growth rate of your child and size of the seat.
    *Standards vary for different manufacturers.
    Click the labels for more information.
    A Backless Booster Group 3 Car seat
    Padded arm rest
    Padded arm rest
    To rest your child’s arms comfortably.
    A Backless Booster Group 3 Car seat - View Products
    What should I look for in a Backless Booster Group 3 Car Seat? In addition to the General features, below are tailored specifications for Backless Booster Group 3 Car Seat?
    Expert's Recommendation
    • Adjustable height(C) (for accommodating varying heights)
    • Car seats with ISOFIX (C) (for overall stability of the car seat)
    • EPS/EPP Foam (C) (for providing a strong base to the car seat in order to protect effectively)
    • Permanently fixable CHASSIS(C) (for optimum safety)
    • Seat belt lock (for better stability)
    • Aircraft Approved (for child’s safety during air travel)
    Good to have
    • Padded arm rest (for child’s comfort)
    • Padded seat with 3D Foam (for child’s comfort)
    • Detachable seat (for portability)
    • Dual hide-away cup holders (for storage)
    • Removable cover (for convenient cleaning)
    • Cushier fabric (for child’s comfort)
    • Foot Props (for comfort of the feet)
    Choose this type only if you do not have access to a high-backed booster car seat or if your child has already outgrown the standards of the high-backed booster car seat.
    Shop Now
3

Benifits & Limitations

Here is a comparative analysis for forward facing and convertible child car seats. This will give you a bird’s eye view of all the pros and cons and help you with your buying decision.
Benefits High Backed Booster Backless Booster
Portable
Detachable back
Convertible to accommodate different stages
Convenient for multiple cars
Allows ideal positioning of shoulder belts
Capable of holding sleeping kids in place
Effective head protection
Effective side impact protection
Convenient for travelling in vehicles with low-back seats
Compact
Lightweight
Pocket Friendly
Limitations High Backed Booster Backless Booster
Bulky
Cumbersome
Expensive
Waned Security Levels
yes
no
positive
negative
4

How to Buy

Now that you know what to look for in a high-backed booster, backless booster child car seats, find out how to go about determining whether these features are tailor made for your child –
Check if your child fits well in the seat and if the seat fits well in your car.
Change the headrest positions and check the comfort in all mentioned positions.
Recline in all defined positions and check the comfort in all mentioned positions.
Find out how convenient or time consuming it is for you to lock and unlock using built in clips.
With the help of pillows, gauge the width of the seat to find out if it can accommodate the needs of your growing child.
Look for robust security features and a strong comfortable base.
Check how easy it is for you to install the car seat in a different vehicle if in case you have multiple vehicles.  
Look for recommended feature labels, safety instructions and a user manual.
Check how easy it is for you to detach the back.
A backless booster seat does not offer side impact protection. Therefore, you have to be extra cautious while looking for the rest of the safety standards.
Buying car seats online from a trusted website will save you the trouble of testing all these details yourselves, as the website will provide the images of all the necessary features and certify the product before putting it up for sale.
5

The truth about those Common Myths of Booster Seats

My child has grown up. Can I use the car’s seat belt instead?
An adult seat belt is engineered only for adults. Using an unfitted adult seat belt may make your child more prone to injuries in the event of an accident.
The most expensive car seats are the safest child car seats.
Most expensive child car seats usually have maximum features and optimum safety. These car seats will add significant advantage if they fit well with your lifestyle.  However, safety, compatibility with your vehicle, your budget and lifestyle are the prime factors you should keep in mind while choosing a child car seat.
I have an airbag installed in my car. Should I put my booster seat in front?
Using booster seats in the back of the car will be safer than using them in the front. Furthermore, if you have a passenger airbag installed in front, never use your booster seat in front.
Should my child wear bulky jackets, even in the car seat?  
Bulky clothes should be removed before you secure your child in a 5–point harness, to ensure that the harness fits perfectly. Once your child is fitted in the car seat, you can put the jacket loosely on him from the back and cover his front with a blanket to keep him warm.
6

FAQs

Q

How soon can I move my child to a booster seat?

Children should remain in a harnessed restraint for as long as they fall under the toddler seat’s standards.  Ideally, they should not transit before at least 4 years of age.
Q

What if my vehicle doesn't have a seat belt?

If your vehicle did not come with a factory-installed seatbelt, then it amounts to violating major road safety laws and procedures. This puts not just your child, but also you to great risk in case of an accident. To rectify this, check if seat belts can be installed in your car.
Q

Till what age should children travel with car seats?

Depending upon the growth rate of your child and the defined standards of your car seat, it can be up to 12 to 14 years of age. Move to a regular seatbelt only when they are tall enough and wide enough for the shoulder belt to cross their shoulder and chest and when their weight is more than the defined limit of the car seat. Never share a seatbelt between two or more children.
Q

Does my car seat have an expiration date too?

Yes, each car seat has an expiration date. It depends on the life of material used for the car seat. These limits involve degradation of the plastic shell and other parts. For this reason, it is recommended that you never buy a used car seat.   
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