Choosing a Backless Booster Car Seat

By April Sanders

Backless Booster Seats

A booster seat lifts your child up so that the car's lap and shoulder belt can restrain him safely. Seat belts in most vehicles are designed to rest at the chest and waist. For children, however, they usually rest at the stomach and neck. In a crash, the seat belt alone could actually cause your child great injury, which is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration currently recommends that children use a booster seat in a car until they are 4 feet, 9 inches tall and at least 8 years old.

For older children, backless booster seats are a great choice. They raise the child up, but allow him to rest against the car's seat and headrest, making him feel more like an adult and less like a baby in a car seat.


When choosing a backless booster seat, first make sure your car is equipped to install it. Backless booster seats should only be used in seats that have a high back and headrest because the child's head and neck need to be supported. In addition, make sure the seat area is roomy enough to fit a booster seat.

Also, consider the weight of your child. Some backless booster seats have a closure like a shield or T-bar. These are not safe for children over 40 lbs, so if your child is older, you should not choose one of these.

Seat Belts

A backless booster seat should automatically come with a belt-positioning clip. If it doesn't, don't buy that seat. It should also have handles or slots on the seat, near where your child's hips will be. This is for the lap belt and lower end of the shoulder belt. Backless booster seats should only be used with a combination lap and shoulder belt, never a lap belt alone.

You can also use the LATCH system to attach a backless booster car seat, if your car has it. Cars built after 2002 are required to come with this feature.

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