One of the many benefits of driving is that it makes it much easier to travel with young children. You can take them wherever they need to go without worrying about waiting around for cabs or the hassle of public transport. However, it is important that young children are safe when they travel in your vehicle and the best way to ensure this, is for them to have a properly fitted car booster seat. Most drivers recognize the need for a car seat for babies and toddlers but may not realize that they are just as important for other young children. Once your child has outgrown their original car seat, it is time to move onto a high back booster seat. With so many different makes, models, and designs on the market it can be difficult to know where to start looking for the right booster seat for your child. Our panel of automotive experts has compiled a list of the best high back booster seats to point you in the right direction.
The Best High Back Booster Seat
If you are looking for a booster seat that will grow with your child, then the Evenflo Big Kid High Back Booster Car Seat might be just what you are looking for. The 2-in-1 design means that the seat back can be removed, and the seat used for older children who still need the height but no longer require the extra head, neck, and side support provided by the back. The height of the car seat can be easily adjusted to one of six positions so that it can be fitted specifically to your child. The Evenflo high back booster car seat includes an energy-absorbing foam liner for extra comfort and safety. The seat pad is machine washable, so keeping it clean is quick and easy; the car seat frame can be easily wiped with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust. The two elastic cup holders reduce spillage and mean that your child always knows where their drink is.
- 2-in-1 car booster seat with removable back
- Adjustable height with 6 different positions
- Machine washable seat pad
- Energy absorbing foam liner
- 2 elastic cup holders
- Brand Evenflo
- Model 31911718
- Weight 8.45 pounds
The Graco Affix Youth High Back Booster Car Seat with LATCH System securely fits to your vehicle to make it safer and steadier than some other high back booster seats. This additional sturdiness makes it easier for your child to buckle themselves in; increasing their independence without compromising their safety. The front adjustment makes it easier to fit the booster seat to your vehicle and the seat itself is side-impact tested. The Graco high back booster seat has a weight capacity of up to 60lbs and includes a cup holder in the side.
- Suitable for children from 3 to 10 years and up to 60lbs
- Exceeds US Standard FMVSS 213
- Side-impact tested
- Includes secure LATCH system
- Includes single cup holder
- Brand Graco
- Model 1875291
- Weight 9.6 pounds
The Britax Frontier ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat is designed to grow with your child. It includes a quick-adjust 9-position harness that is simple to adjust from full harness to belt-position when your child is ready. The height of the car booster seat can be changed at the push of a button. The Britax high back booster seat is easy to install and is designed with a secure and comfortable headrest. The seat also includes two layers of side impact protection, an impact absorbing base, steel frame, and forward movement reducing v-shaped tether. The seat is suitable for children up to 120lbs and can be used in harness mode from 25lbs.
- Suitable for children up to 120lbs and from 25lbs in harness mode
- Adjustable seat back height
- Quick-adjust 9-position harness
- Two layers of side impact protection
- Forward movement reducing v-shaped tether
- Brand Britax
- Model E9LY76L
- Weight 24.9 pounds
The Evenflo Maestro Booster Car Seat is a lightweight car seat that is designed to grow with your child. The car seat converts from a 5-point harness car seat to a belt-positioning booster, allowing it to be suitable for children from 22lbs to 110lbs. The seat includes a LATCH installation system, making it easy to fit and move between vehicles. It has been tested for structural and side impact integrity at levels that exceed the Federal Crash Test Standards. The integrated cup holders add to the usefulness of the car seat without adding to its width.
- Suitable for children up to 110lbs and from 22lbs in harness mode
- Easily converts from 5-point harness car seat to belt-positioning booster
- Exceeds recommendations for structural and side impact integrity
- 2 integrated cup holders
- LATCH fitting system
- Brand Evenflo
- Model 31011703
- Weight 11.02 pounds
If you are looking for a high back booster that can be converted into a backless booster when your child is old enough, then the Graco Highback Turbobooster Car Seat might be just what you need. The car seat is designed to be easy to carry, with the seat bottom and back staying connected when out of the vehicle. It includes a multi-layer headrest to increase your child’s comfort and open-loop belt guides to ensure that your child’s seatbelt is always in the correct position. The headrest is fully adjustable to maintain your child’s safety as they grow. The seat cushion is machine washable; adding to the versatility of the seat.
- Suitable for children from 30lbs up to 100lbs
- Adjustable, multi-layered headrest
- Open-loop belt guides
- Machine washable seat cover
- Converts into a backless booster seat
- Brand Graco
- Model 1893811
- Weight 9 pounds
The Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat provides superb support for your child with its contoured seat design and ErgoBoost double foam padding. The seat gives combined head and shoulder side-impact protection and has 10 different positions to ensure support regardless of the height of your child. The high back booster seat incorporates a SuperCinch LATCH attachment system, complete with one-pull tightener to help keep the seat in place and to make it easier to get your child in and out of the seat. The armrest and seat pad covers are both removable and machine washable and the two drink cup holders can be folded away when not in use and removed for cleaning. Once your child is old enough the back of the booster can be removed, and the seat pad used as a backless booster seat.
- Suitable for children from 30lbs to 110lbs
- The back can be removed, creating a backless booster seat
- Head and shoulder side-impact protection
- LATCH attachment system, complete with one-pull tightener
- Removable and machine washable armrest and seat pad covers
- Brand Chicco
- Model 05079014570070
- Weight 10.2 pounds
The Diono Cambria Booster 2-in-1 Car Seat can be used as either a high back booster or a backless booster seat for older children. The seat is designed to be safe for children from 40lbs to 120lbs and can be used with children from 38 inches tall. The headrest on the seat has six different positions, while the seat itself includes multi-recline positions and plenty of hip, leg, and shoulder space so that your child is always comfortable. The car seat is lined with EPE energy absorbing foam side walls for additional protection. It is easy to fit and includes LATCH connection system. The car seat can be easily transformed into a backless booster when your child is ready.
- Suitable for children from 40lbs to 120lbs and from 38” to 63” tall
- Multi-recline positions, with multi-position headrest
- EPE energy absorbing foam side walls
- Transforms into a backless booster seat
- LATCH connection system
- Brand Diono
- Model 31010
- Weight 9.4 pounds
The Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat is easy to install and extremely stable thanks to its rigid LATCH system. The seat is built on a complete metal substructure and includes a structural headrest and absorbing foam layers to provide additional protection. It also includes belt guides to ensure your child’s seat belt is correctly placed and deep side wings for added side impact protection. The seat can be reclined for comfort on long journeys without losing any of its protection. Once grown, your children can continue to benefit from the seat by using it as a backless booster seat.
- Suitable for children from 33lbs to 100lbs
- Reclining seat with LATCH attachment system
- Structural headrest, deep side wings, and belt guides
- Complete metal substructure covered with absorbing foam layers
- Can be transformed into a backless booster seat
- Brand Clek
- Model OB11U1-BK2B
- Weight 20 pounds
The Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat can be used as either a five-point harness seat for younger children or as a belt-positioning booster car seat for older children. The seat can safely accommodate children from 30lbs and is easy to move between vehicles. Its slim design means that more than one can be easily fitted across most back seats. The seat meets all Federal, JPMA, and ASTM safety standards and includes a dishwasher safe, removable cup holder. The seat pad can easily be removed and is both washing machine and dryer safe.
- Suitable for children from 30lbs to 100lbs
- The 2-in-1 design includes 5-point harness and belt-positioning modes
- Slim design
- Meets JPMA, ASTM, and Federal safety standards
- Machine washable and dryer safe removable seat pad
- Brand Cosco
- Model BC121EPQ
- Weight 11.5 pounds
If your child loves Spiderman, then the KidsEmbrace High-Back Booster Car Seat, Marvel Spiderman might be the booster seat for them. The seat exceeds FMVSS 213 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and is suitable for children aged over three and weighing 30lbs or more. The seat easily converts into a backless booster seat when your child reaches 40lbs or at least 40 inches in height. The base is contoured for comfort and the seat cover is machine washable. A plastic cup holder is included and attaches easily to either side of the booster seat.
- Suitable for children from 30lbs to 100lbs, and from 38” to 57”
- Converts into a backless booster seat
- Exceeds FMVSS213 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
- Contoured base with machine washable cover
- Includes plastic cup holder that attaches to either side of the seat
- Brand KidsEmbrace
- Model 4601SPD
- Weight 10.9 pounds
When choosing a high back booster seat for your child safety and comfort will, of course, be your primary concerns. However, there are a number of other features that can make the difference between a serviceable booster seat and a great booster seat. In this section of the buying guide, we look at these features and explore those that are a must have in any high back booster seat that you are considering. We also look at the benefits of using a high back booster seat and how to ensure that the booster seat you have is properly installed. Finally, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about high back booster seats.
What to Look for in a High Back Booster Seat
There are several key elements that you need to look for when considering a high back booster seat for your child. One of the key elements is ensuring that it meets, if not exceeds, minimal Federal safety standards. If the seat does not, then there is a risk that it will not adequately protect your child in the event of a collision. Other considerations include:
- A solid frame
The best car seats include a metal frame with a plastic molded seat. This is then covered in foam for added protection. The solid frame is a must to ensure that the seat holds its shape in the event of a collision.
- Side protection
One of the benefits of a high back car booster seat is that it has sides or wings that offer additional protection. These sides should be solid, foam padded and offer protection at the neck, shoulders, and hips.
- Adjustable headrest
All high back car seats should provide support and protection for your child’s head and neck. An adjustable headrest allows you to ensure that the support is tailored specifically to your child’s needs. It also increases the lifespan of the seat; allowing it to grow with your child.
- Seat belt guides
It is crucial that your child’s seat belt is properly situated so that it offers full protection and does not cause further injury in the event of a collision. Seatbelt guides or loops allow you to position the belt in the right place and keep it there for the entirety of the journey.
- LATCH attachment system
This keeps the car seat firmly in place, making it sturdier and steadier while your child gets in and out of it. It can also aid in seatbelt placement, making it easier for your child to be independent without increasing the risk to their safety.
Other elements of a car booster seat are not essential but do make traveling with children more comfortable and less stressful. These include:
- 2-in-1 car seats
These seats convert either from harness car seats to high back booster seats or from high back booster seats to backless car seats. The main benefit of such a seat is that it saves you money. Such a seat grows with your child, allowing you to keep them safe without needing to purchase a new seat that fits your and their needs when they outgrow their original one.
- Washable covers
Machine washable seat pad covers make it easier to keep your car booster seat clean. This reduces this risk of mold and odor build up, keeping the seat more comfortable and inviting for your child.
- Cup holders
If your child has their drink or snack within easy reach, they are less likely to move around in their booster seat or to lean forward. This makes the journey safer for them and means much less worry for you.
- Reclining seats
These are perfect for longer journeys where your child is likely to sleep. They allow your child to rest and recline without affecting seatbelt placement or reducing the protection of the seat.
Benefits of Using High Back Booster Seats
One of the key benefits of using a high back booster seat over a backless seat is that it offers additional side impact, head, and neck protection for your child. This is certainly beneficial where the back seat of your car has a low back, no headrests, or the headrests cannot be adjusted to fit your child.
It also helps to keep your child’s seat belt in the correct position. This ensures that their seatbelt works correctly; reducing the risk of injury in the event of a collision and ensuring that they are held in place in their seat.
A high back booster seat can also be more comfortable for a child than a backless car booster seat, especially if they are just transitioning from a full harness forward facing car seat. High back are seats provide side support that they can lean on to rest or sleep as well as better head and neck support.
How to Install a High Back Booster Seat
Installing a high back booster seat in your vehicle is relatively straight forward and easy to do; However, it is important that you always read the manufacturer’s manual to ensure that the seat is suitable for your vehicle and that it is fitted correctly and safely.
If your high back car booster seat has a LATCH system, then you need to identify the anchor or tether points in your vehicle before installing the seat. Pay attention to the weight restrictions for using the different anchors or tethers on the car seat. For most high back booster car seats where the combined weight of the child and the seat exceeds 65lbs, you need to use the car seat tether and the car’s seat belt to secure your child.
Once you have determined the appropriate action with the LATCH system, place the high back booster seat in the vehicle in the correct position. Ensure that the seat fits flush to the seat of the vehicle. Sit your child on the high back booster seat and pull the seat belt across. Use the seatbelt guides or loops to correctly position the seatbelt. The seatbelt should cross between the neck and shoulder and go across the chest. The lap belt should sit across the top of the thighs, not across the stomach, and should hold the child securely but comfortably in place.
Once the seatbelt is connected, check the fit and placement of the belt and ensure that your child is sat correctly in the seat. Check the placement of the headrest and belt every time you place your child in the booster seat to ensure that they are fully protected.
Best High Back Booster Seats FAQ:
Q: What is a high back booster seat?
A: A high back booster seat is a booster seat that provides additional support and protection for your child’s head, neck, and back. It raises your child to the correct height for using the seatbelt installed in your vehicle. A high back booster seat is ideal for use in vehicles that do not provide neck and head support in the rear seats.
Q: What’s the difference between a high back booster seat and a backless booster seat?
A: A backless booster seat raises your child to the correct height for using the seatbelt installed in your vehicle bust does not offer added protection. A high back booster seat, as the name suggests, includes a solid back as well as booster cushion. This allows it to include neck, head, and back protection, as well as side impact protection and seatbelt guides to ensure the seatbelt is in the optimal position across your child.
Q: Do they come with seat belts?
A: A high back booster seat does not come with a seat belt. It is designed to be used with the rear seat belt that is installed with your vehicle. However, many high back booster seats are convertible. This means that they come complete with a harness system for use with younger children that are below the height and weight requirements for a booster seat. Once converted into a high back booster however, the harness is no longer needed, and the vehicle’s seatbelt should be used.
Q: What is the law for booster seats?
A: All vehicle booster seats must meet basic Federal safety standards. If it fails to meet these standards, then it is illegal to use and puts your child at risk.
All children should be placed in an appropriate car seat or booster seat until they are tall enough to sit safely in the back seat of a vehicle. This generally means that they can sit upright with their knees reaching the edge of the seat and their feet on the floor. Additionally, they must be able to sit with the seatbelt across them in the correct position to avoid injury in the event of a collision.
However, different states have their own specific laws related to at what age children can be safely removed from booster seats. So, it is important to check the laws in your state and adhere to them. In addition, there are age, weight, and height restrictions on each high back car booster seat. These too need to be adhered to so that your child is safe and fully protected.
In general, it is recommended that a child stays in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least two years old and then remains in a forward facing 5-point harness car seat or high back booster with harness for as long as possible. The upper weight limit for most harness car seats is 40lbs, at which point your child should transfer to a high back belt-positioning booster seat.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the Evenflo Big Kid High Back Booster Car Seat. If you are looking for a booster seat that will grow with your child, then this booster seat might be just what you are looking for. The 2-in-1 design means that the seat back can be removed, and the seat used for older children who still need the height but no longer require the extra head, neck, and side support provided by the high back. The height of the car seat can be easily adjusted to one of six positions so that it can be fitted specifically to your child. The car seat includes an energy-absorbing foam liner for extra comfort and safety. The seat pad is machine washable, so keeping it clean is quick and easy; the car seat frame can be easily wiped with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust. The two elastic cup holders reduce spillage and mean that your child always knows where their drink is.