Booster seats (Group 2/3)

Car safety seats for children from 15kg upwards (from approx. 4 years)

Booster seats are popular with parents because they're light and easy to fit

CBooster seats are popular with parents because they're light and easy to fit

Booster seats are popular with parents because they're light and easy to fit. They're popular with children as well, which is important because a happy child is less likely to distract you on a journey.

The latest booster seats have features designed to give side impact protection as well as protect your child in a frontal crash. One in four crashes involves side impact so this is important.

Early booster seats had a shallow back which was often removeable to convert into a booster cushion for older children. Now the market is dominated by adjustable, highback boosters - seats with deep side wings that can be adjusted up and down to give side-impact protection until the child reaches 12 years or 135cm tall.

Features

  • The adult seat belt holds the child and the seat in place. There's no integral harness for the child.
  • Sometimes the seat back can be removed and the base used as a simple booster cushion.
  • Some booster seats include a removeable, integral five-point harness so that they can be used for the younger weight group (Group 1) too. Look for seats marked Groups 1, 2, and 3.
  • Look for seats with a wide range of adjustment in the head support and good protection against side impact.
Highback booster

Highback booster

Fitting tips

The diagonal part of the belt should lie across the child's shoulder, not the neck.

The lap part of the belt should lie across the top of the child's thighs, not around the abdomen.

Belts should lie flat. Avoid twists, which can increase injuries in a crash.

Never pass the diagonal part of the belt under the child's arm.

Static rather than inertia reel (automatic) seat belts must be used for children under three years (ie at the lower end of the weight range). Don't worry if you have automatic belts as many now have a so-called ALR/ELR facility that allows them to be changed to static operation. Check the car handbook.

Some seats come with a locking device that effectively converts the belt to static operation. The locking device is a belt guide too, allowing you to adjust the angle and height to suit your child.

Booster seats suffer less from car compatibility problems compared with group 1 seats restrained in the car using the adult belts. They are easier to fit and more likely to be fitted correctly.

(22 June 2012)