Why You Must Have High Back Booster Car Seat with Harness?
Booster seats are an ideal approach to keep your little ones safe in the car after he or she exceeds a regular five point harness car seat. However, it is important not to do this too soon, as the seatbelt may still not fit across your child as it should. Odds are, the best option for a booster seat is the high-back, rather than the backless booster. (See our most recent booster car seat ratings.)
A booster seat's primary use is to position the vehicle safety belt over the child's mid-section, shoulder and hips appropriately. Studies have demonstrated that boosters lessen the chance of harm in case of an accident for children between four and five years old by 45% compared to those who use a vehicle seat belt alone.
There are many booster seats that have shown to have a better than average rating for safety and how they situate the lap belt on the child's hips. However, occasionally this does not mean that the upper belt falls where it should on the shoulders. With a high-back booster seat, you can reposition the shoulder belt as well, through guides, to fit in the right place across the child's shoulders and mid-section and holds it in place. For children that tend to move around a lot, this can be imperative.
Some backless booster seats have a clasp that help position the shoulder belt. After doing some assessments, we found that these clasps are only good if the child does not move at all. When children move around a lot, they still tend to slip out of place and the strap basically can't hold it up
A high-back booster additionally gives head support that regular backless boosters don't. This is particularly critical if your vehicle doesn't have headrests in the back seat, or if the headrests are not tall enough to secure your child's head when sitting in the booster. The guidelines included with most backless boosters do not take into count the fact that the child's ears or head can actually be over the vehicle seat back, with no protection. Most high-back boosters are able to help with this problem and give the safety and security that is needed.
High-back boosters also give head protection from the side, which can accommodate a sleeping child so they have a place to rest their head. Side reinforces, or "wings," as they are sometimes called help protect the child's head in the case of an accident. One study found that children in high-back boosters were 70 percent less likely to be harmed in a side-effect crash than children in safety belts alone. The same study found that in a side-effect crash, the danger of being harmed in a regular backless booster were not much different than children wearing regular safety belts alone.
There are some high-back boosters that allow you to remove the back and use it as a regular backless booster. However, before you do this, consider this: We found that vehicle seat belt straps fit much better on children using the high-back booster over the backless booster. This was true for both the shoulder and the lap belt.
While a high-back booster is definitely the better way to go, the backless booster is still better than no booster at all. We realize that the backless boosters are usually much more affordable, sometimes as low as $14. Also, backless boosters are easier to transport. This can be important when your child is having to exchange cars frequently for school or other events.
All boosters have a base weight requirement for children to utilize them. Be mindful that numerous backless boosters have higher weight limits than the high-back models. Make certain to check the weight requirements before purchasing one.
When to move forward: The 5-stage test
When you can reply "yes" to all of these questions, your child is ready to sit securely in a vehicle seat without a booster:
- Does your child sit all the way back against the vehicle's seat?
- Do your child's knees bend easily at the vehicle's seat edge?
- Does the vehicle belt cross your child's shoulder equally between the neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as it can go, close to the highest point of the thighs?
- Will your child stay securely situated like this for the entire ride?
- Does the belt stay in place as the child moves?
If you are confused as to which type of High Back Booster Car Seat with Harness you should choose, here are our top five recommendations to help you make an informed decision for your child.