Booster cushions (group 3)

Minimal safety but light and convenient for children 22kg and upwards (approx. 6 years up)

There may be occasions when it's not convenient to use a highback booster

There may be occasions when it's not convenient to use a highback booster

If you have a child often picked up from school by other parents it may be better to send them with a small and light booster cushion - easily carried under the arm - rather than a large and more unwieldy high-back booster.

Most booster seats are approved for groups 2 and 3 and can be adjusted to provide effective side and frontal impact protection for children all the way from around 4 years up to 12 years or 135cm tall.

But there may be occasions when it's not convenient to use a 'highback booster' and this is where the simple booster cushion comes into its own.

A booster cushion is a good alternative to the adult belt alone as it will improve the fit of the diagonal belt on the child's shoulder and help make sure that the lap belt lies properly across the top of the child's thighs.

Side impact protection

Booster cushions don't give any protection against side impact and may even disappear from the market if future European safety standards impose minimum requirements for side impact protection.

The video from Britax includes footage of crash tests with child dummies showing the performance of a simple booster cushion and a high-back booster seat in a car struck from the side.


Comparing a booster cushion with a high back booster

Features

Keep your child in a seat with an integral back for as long as possible as these provide additional side impact protection.

Being small, easy to carry, and cheap, booster cushions are ideal as a spare for occasional journeys with friends or relatives where it's not practicable to transfer the child's main seat.

Booster cushions are designed to fit securely on a car seat and are held in place by the adult belt. An ordinary cushion must not be used as these can't be secured - in an accident the child is likely to slide under the seat belt.

Fitting tips

  • The child is restrained using adult belts that also hold the booster cushion in place by passing around moulded 'ears' at its rear.
  • Make sure that the diagonal belt passes across the child's shoulder rather than neck, and that the lap belt passes across the top of the child's thighs.
  • Some booster cushions have a strap and clip to improve the fit of the belt by lowering the over-shoulder height of the diagonal part of the seat belt.
  • Booster cushions must not be used in seats provided only with an adult lap-belt. (Some group 1 child seats can be installed using a lap belt alone - check the fitting instructions)

(25 June 2012)