When I first found out I was pregnant with my first child I wanted to be sure and have everything ready before the baby was born. This included buying a car seat. Seeing how expensive the car seats are I wanted to be sure I found one I could use through out most of the time the child is required to be in a car seat and not have to buy a new seat every year. The perfect solution to this at the time seemed to be a convertible car seat that would grow with the child from rear facing all through booster stage. I bought a Cosco Alpha Omega Elite which has a weight capacity up to 100lbs. However, now that my child is 4 years old, 42 inches tall and 43 lbs I began to wonder if a booster that has a back is the safest for her to be in or should I buy a backless booster?
To answer this question I searched all over the internet on yahoo and google and came up with practically nothing. There were tons of articles saying to buy this brand or that brand, or that this brand of high back booster did well in tests and this brand of backless booster did well in tests also. But none of the articles compared backless to high back to say which is safer or better.
Then I found CPSafety.com. This website explains what you need to know about which type of booster seat you should use for your child in your car.
The first most important thing you need to know is which booster seat is right for your car? Does your car have a low back on the back seat? Does it have headrests for the back passengers?
If your car has a low back of the seat in the back seat you will need to purchase a car seat with a back.
If your car has a tall back on the back seat or is equipped with head rests in the back seats then you can use the backless style of booster seat.
Next you will want to know which booster seat fits best on your seat. Most stores that sell car seats will let you take the floor model out to your vehicle to test fit it in your vehicle before you buy it. Ask a sales person for help. You will want to make sure the seat sits firmly on the seat of your car. You don’t want a booster seat that slips side to side or tips forward or slides forward off the seat.
Once you find a seat that fits your car’s seat properly you will want to have your child test the seat out. Make sure that the seat is comfortable for your child to sit in. Not too big or too small. Also make sure that when your child is sitting in the booster seat that their ears are not above the back of the seat. If they are you will want to use a different kind of booster seat such as a high back booster seat, or raise the head rest of your vehicle’s seat so that it sits behind your child’s head properly. The reason for this is to protect your child from whiplash in the event of an accident or sudden stopping.
Now that you have found the safest seat for your child and your car, you can take in consideration of what your child prefers. If your car can fit either the backless booster or a booster with a back, but your child doesn’t want to look like they are in a “baby” car seat, then go with a backless booster. If you find that the seats that fit your car best come in different colors, let your child pick the seat that they like the best (usually are based on color).
Remember to always follow your state’s laws when it comes to which type of seat your child needs to be in and until when. Some 8 year olds will probably not want to be in a car seat or on a booster anymore but if your law says that they should be, then no matter how upset they are you must make them sit in the booster seat. It is always best to be safe before being popular.
Hopefully my research on this topic will help other parents out there. I know that there are not many parents that know this information on which seat would be best for their vehicle, as I have asked some of my friends and pointed out to a couple of people that they have the wrong style of booster seat for their vehicle based on this information.