4 Best High Back Booster Seats

Choosing the best booster seat to replace a 5-point harness car seat.

So many milestones mark our lives as parents: sleeping through the night, first teeth, first steps, first day of preschool, and the list goes on. And it seems the pace at which our children reach those memorable moments goes faster and faster.

Does it feel as if you were just doing research on the safest car seat for your little passenger? And yet now you’ve determined he is about to outgrow the 5-point harness and you’re looking to buy a booster seat.

Boosters are a necessary next step for a young child to ride safely in a seat belt because their bodies are not yet large enough for the seat belt to fit securely. Car seat experts prefer a high back booster seat that has the feel of a 5-point harness and helps guide the child to sit properly with a seat belt.

Through my own research, I hope to offer you some of the best options in booster seats. All five options have a removable back to be used in backless mode as well. Refer to How to Know When Your Child is Ready for a Booster Seat in addition to the booster seat instruction manual to assist with proper booster seat usage.

Top 4 High Back Boosters

1. Chicco KidFit ($)
• Combined head and shoulder side-impact protection with 10 height positions
• LATCH attachment helps keep booster in place
• Double foam padding and contoured seat design provide support
• 2-position backrest
• Easy-to-use vehicle belt guides
• Removable backrest for use as backless booster
• IIHS Best Bet rating in backless and high back mode

2. Clek Oobr ($$$) 
• Magnesium back frame better contains the torso during a side impact collision
• Structural headrest with deep side sings connects to the magnesium frame using steel rods to reduce twisting movements and improve head protection in a collision
• Energy-absorbing foam layer
• Rigid LATCH System locks the booster seat into place
• Child height 38-57” (full back) 40-57” (backless)
• Child weight 33-100 lbs. (full back) 40-100 lbs. (backless)
• IIHS Best Bet rating in high back mode only

3. Diono Cambria ($) 
• Six position headrest
• Deep headrest and sidewall with energy absorbing foam
• LATCH system easily attaches to vehicle seat
• Two recline position to fit vehicle seat
• Child height 38-63”
• Child weight 40-120 lbs.
• IIHS Best Bet rating in backless and high back

4. Nuna Aace ($$) 
• Nine position headrest
• Shoulder system expands with growing child
• Seat supports three depths
• Energy absorbing foam
• Lower anchors connectors allow for 8 position recline and connect booster to vehicle seat
• Child height 38-60” (both full back and backless)
• Child weight 40-110 lbs. (full back), 50-120 lbs. (backless)

Price Key
$ - $100 or under
$$ - $100-299
$$$ - $300 & higher

As with any recommendations, I am not an expert, and I rely on the expertise of others (for example, Carseatblog.com) with hands-on knowledge of the booster seats. Neither is this list exhaustive. Graco Affix, Graco TurboBooster and Maxi-Cosi RodiFix are all good options and have IIHS Best Bet ratings.

Just like car seats, all boosters meet safety standards. And like car seats, booster seats need to be used properly. But not all boosters fit the same in every car so it’s always a good idea to try the booster in your car (or have the ability to return it easily).

Identify your family’s needs and find a booster that works for you. I hope this article helps assist you in that search.

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Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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