Top-rated booster seats: Keeping your big kid safe in the car
Published Friday, June 1, 2018 6:00AM PDT Last Updated Friday, June 1, 2018 7:27PM PDT
Most people know that car seats are important for babies and toddlers, but big kids need a boost to keep them safe in the car too.
Even after children outgrow the weight or height limit of a forward-facing car seat, using a seatbelt still won't do for most kids. The solution is a booster seat.
“Boosters are the best way to protect these big kids in a car crash. It helps positions the belt over the strong bony part of their body, rather than their internal organs,” explained Emily Thomas with Consumer Reports.
Boosters raise children up, so that the seat belt fits correctly over the sternum and the center of the collarbone, not the neck or arm, and low across the upper thighs, rather than their abdomen.
They come in two main styles: high-back and backless.
While using a backless one is better than not using one at all, Consumer Reports recommends a high-back booster, because these do a better job of positioning the shoulder belt, and the side wings provide some side impact protection in a crash.
The Evenflo Big Kid Amp High-back for around $70 and the Graco High-back Turbobooster for around $80 are among Consumer Reports top rated booster seats.
In B.C., children under nine must use a booster seat, or until they are at least 145 centimetres tall or 4-9.
“Typically, this is when the vehicle seat belt will fit them correctly and they are more comfortable on the larger vehicle seats. It’s also when their bones will be stronger and can better handle the pressure from a seat belt during sudden braking or in a crash,” said Thomas.
Even when kids outgrow the need for a booster, remember, the safest place for all kids under 13 is still in the back seat.
And remember, while it may tempting to save money and buy a booster or car seat in the U.S., it is illegal to import and use a seat that does not comply with Canadian standards. So make sure you buy it here and it has the national safety mark on it.