In accordance with federal and state laws and guidelines, booster seats are made to ensure the proper fit of vehicle safety belts on children still too small to fit in them properly without modification. Generally, all children under the age of 12 years old should be sitting in the back seat. The safety belt is supposed to fit snugly over the uppermost part of the thighs and across the shoulder and chest.
Rapidly evolving legislation on the state and federal level has spurred a wide variety of styles and designs in car booster seats. The variables distinguishing the designs are usually most important in the area of specifications relating to the size and weight that can be accommodated as well as the flexibility to grow with the child.
Other factors that weigh positively or negatively in booster seat choices are convenience of installation, cleaning and comfort. While there are very few superficial aspects worth consideration, the child’s preference and the likability of booster seats dies play a role in the success of many styles.
The biggest difference in models of booster seats is whether they are backless or not. The benefit of booster seats that are equipped the removable backs are that younger children are more snuggly protected. These seats can accommodate smaller children than the ones without backs and therefore have a longer life of use for the consumer. The child also gets the feel of accomplishment when graduating to the point of the back being removed.
The booster seats with backs are also more comfortable for long distance travel. If a child falls asleep in this type of seat, there is cushioning for the head to rest all the way around. Most booster seats with backs come with the five-point safety harness that is recommended for children under 40 pounds.
The only real drawbacks to the booster seats with backs are that they are a bit unwieldy. They are much like car seats for babies, except that they don’t have to be left stationary for best performance and security. They are heavier than the backless booster seats but once the child graduates to the height and weight recommended by the manufacturer for use without the back, most of these issues are moot.
The positive aspects of the backless booster seats are the ease of use and portability. Most children can carry the booster seat themselves once they have achieved the minimum required height and weight for backless boosters. Children get to feel more of a sense of ownership and look forward to using the backless seats more than the ones with backs. The backless booster seats can also be removed from and placed in the car easier.