Easy to install. Easy to clean. Child loves it.
March 14, 2017
Summary of My Findings (4.75 out of 5):I'm really happy with this booster. My child, who can be quite particular now that she's four, was very comfortable and happy both with and without a winter coat on. It looks good, is easy to clean, and will grow with my child until she is able to sit in a seat without safety products. Side impact protection and a "Best Best" rating from IIHS is noteworthy. And because it's a snap to put in and take out, I don't worry about the hassle of sending her off with friends or family that don't have their own booster installed. One thing to keep in mind is whether the headrests in your car can tilt back or be removed completely. Some can't, and if this is the case, the booster back won't sit flush on the back of the car's seat because of how tall the booster back is (even in the lowest position).Core Functions and Safety (5 out of 5):The core function of the booster is to provide proper elevation for a child that has outgrown a convertible car seat or fixed 3-point harness forward-facing seat so that the child can be safely belted in using a standard seatbelt. The booster does this well, and offers an extra level of safety by incorporating side impact protection around the child's head and mid-section. I'm not a safety engineer, but I assume that the added safety features are effective as the seat did receive a "Best Bet" from IIHS.Setup and Installation (5 out of 5):After unpacking the box I installed the car seat without looking at the instructions to see how easy the process was. After finishing the installation in 12 minutes, I went back to the instructions to see that everything was done correctly (it was). LATCH connectors are hard to mess up these days, and these were easy to use, as expected. But the booster has a one-step tightening strap at the front/center that allows really easy cinching of the seat snug to the back of the car seat (I am referring to the actual bench seat of the car, not the booster). This was really an awesome feature that ensures a snug fit without effort.As the child grows, the back support/protection unit will slide up vertically as needed. This is a simple squeeze lever that allows you to adjust the height with one hand (listen for the clicks).I only had hiccup with the installation, which would have been avoided if I had read the instructions. The booster came with two sets of armrest covers, and one was already installed. I thought that the second set was actually supposed to slide over the entire armrest, and I wasted about 7 or 8 minutes before I realized that this wasn't the case. Had I avoided this step, installation would have been under 6 or 7 minutes I would guess.Features (4.5 out of 5):Features are a big success overall, but I'll start with the only mild downside of the entire product; how the seat belt is connected across the booster. Remembering that this process is all about safety, it's hardly even a sticking point for me, but I'll mention it nonetheless. The places where the seatbelt should be threaded across the booster are clearly marked by bright orange plastic guides, so you always know where you're headed when you strap your kid into the seat. The belt is to be pre-threaded into the top guide (shoulder height of the child) and does an OK job of keeping the belt in easy reach and untangled when not snapped in. But the problem is that when the belt is stretched across the child's lap, it must follow a path underneath the armrest before being put into the car's seat belt receptacle. This is a bit of a challenge due to the limited clearance between the booster seat and the armrest. Leaning across my child to secure her (further complicated if I have one free hand or she is acting up or kicking, etc.) can be tricky. Again, if this provides me the safest means of securing my child, then no worries. But sometimes speed can prevent a meltdown, and like a NASCAR pit crew, seconds count.The booster comes with two cup holders, and one of the holders allows you to insert an included tray with lid. My child likes that a lot, as she can triple the amount of stuff she can squirrel away without our knowledge.Lastly, this booster hit a home run when it designed its zip-off pads (both for the seat and backrest portions of the booster). I have washed our previous convertible car seat padding multiple times, and the disassembly/re-assembly time is easily at 45 minutes total. These pads came off in 10 seconds, and back on in about 90 seconds (it is a bit tricky getting the zipper started the first time after it's been taken off. But this is truly an awesome feature. This is where I can mention the second set of armrests again. To change/wash these, you'll need to remove the entire armrest assemble from the booster, then use a flathead screwdriver to depress a tab on the underside of the armrest. An insert will slide out and you can slide off/slide on new or washed covers.
* This product review was collected by the manufacturer.