Best Booster Seats for Kids From Consumer Reports' Tests

Emily A. Thomas, Ph.D.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Children pass many milestones on their road to adulthood, such as going from an infant car seat to sitting independently with a seat belt.

The next-to-final step on that journey is a booster seat, which gives the child enough height to be secured with the car’s seat belt.

All boosters might seem alike, but our extensive testing of 51 models shows that there are significant differences among models and types (see our full booster ratings).

Proper belt fit is crucial. That’s why at Consumer Reports, we evaluate the structural integrity of booster car seats in our simulated crash tests and how the seat belt fits on a test dummy representing an average-sized 6-year-old.

We check belt fit in five different vehicles of different types and with different seating and belt geometries. (The shoulder belt should cross the middle of the collarbone and sternum, and the lap belt should sit across the upper thighs.)

We also rate each booster for how easy it is to use, which includes an evaluation of its labels and instructions. In our fit-to-vehicle evaluations, we simulate typical child movement by moving the dummy around to determine whether the belt remains in place.

The booster seats are subjected to a simulated 35-mph frontal crash to ensure that load-bearing components and key positioning features remain intact. All booster models we rated faired well in our crash structural integrity tests.

Below, we present our top booster seat picks, meaning those models that stood out in their categories. A few are designated as CR Best Buys for their combination of performance and price.

Highback-to-Backless Boosters

Highback-Only Boosters

Backless-Only Boosters

Check out our full booster ratings.  

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