5 Tips to Navigate the Booster Seat Phase


Navigating the booster seat phase can be hard and come with a mix of emotions. If you’re worried and looking for answers on how to navigate this new phase, you’ve come to the right place.

My child has recently entered the booster seat phase. Cue the scary music and the rise of my anxiety. Finding the right booster seat felt like a nightmare. (I’ll get more into that later). And I stumbled upon a crazy TikTok video of a crash dummy in a booster seat for my anxiety. Thanks, algorithm! And excuse me, what? My baby isn’t a baby anymore. Time, please slow down!

However, don’t fret. Our children will always be our babies and navigating the booster seat phase doesn’t have to be scary! You got this, mamas. Here is a list that has helped me.

5 Ways to Navigate the Booster Seat Phase

5 Ways to Navigate The Booster Seat Phase

1. Before you buy, keep your child’s age, weight, and height in mind.

With such a wide variety of car seats and booster seats on the market to choose from, it’s important to keep your child’s age, weight, and height in mind when searching for a new car seat or booster seat. Furthermore, it helps when deciding if they need a car seat still or if they can safely transition into a booster seat already.

2. Follow NHTSA booster seat guidelines.

NHTSA stands for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you check out their site, you’ll find a list of helpful tips and guidelines to finding the perfect booster seat for your child.

You can also find car seats and booster seats on other sites that are NHSA approved or just stay directly on their site and enter your child’s information such as their age, height, and weight. Then the website will provide a list of the top recommended car seats and boosters that are safe and suit your child’s needs.

3. Look at reviews.  

I’ll admit that sometimes looking at reviews online can feel overwhelming. Before I found out about the NHTSA site, I jumped down a rabbit hole of reviews on Amazon and got lost for hours digging through them. There were so many options! Yikes.

Take a deep breath. 

I had to take a step back and a deep breath before searching more. However, looking at reviews is always helpful. Just try not to get stuck reading them for hours like me.

If there are more negative reviews than positive ones, I go with the majority. Majority rules when reviews are mixed.

What also helps is filtering out your search on Amazon for booster seats that have a four-star and up rating. That weeds out a lot of them and gives you better options to choose from.

4. Always pick safety over price and looks.

I figured finding a safe booster seat should be easy considering my daughter’s age, weight, and height. Most of the car seats and boosters accommodate for what I’m looking for. I thought I just needed to find a cute one that’s comfy!

But it wasn’t that easy because even though options are available for the right age, height, and weight, it doesn’t mean that they are always safe. The manufacturer they come from might not be safe.

Different Types of Booster Seats and Options

Again, before I discovered the NHSA Site, I went on Amazon and saw that they offer car seats that turn into boosters, 3-point harness boosters with backs, boosters with backs that use the car’s seatbelt, and backless boosters that use the car seatbelt. So many options . . .

Don’t Let the Cuteness Fool You

I really wanted a cute character booster seat. Specifically, I wanted the Disney princess booster seat with a back, a 3-point harness, beautiful colors, and a cute cape attached to the back that can be used for a blanket. Sooo cute! It was perfect for my little princess! However, I couldn’t overlook the safety issues in the reviews as much as I wanted to.

A Better Price Doesn’t Always Mean Better

I also found a cute back booster with a Minnie Mouse theme and little ears sticking out the top at a price that was too good to be true! It seemed perfect. However, the reviews were bad for safety and comfort. It really was too good to be true, unfortunately.

Always Choose the Safer Option

Overall, I ended up picking a booster that was recommended on the NHSA Site with positive reviews that was comfy and safe with a basic color that my daughter also liked. Hallelujah!

5. Find a child passenger safety technician.

If you’re in the middle of transitioning to the booster seat phase, why not search for some extra help and safety tips from a local child passenger safety technician?

I always heard that you can go to a local police or fire department to see if your child’s car seat or booster seat is installed right and that they could provide some helpful tips. But not all stations or places have child passenger safety technicians who can help with that.

So I decided to do a little more research. And thanks to the NHTSA site, I found a list of local child passenger safety technicians that we can visit here in El Paso! You can find the link for a list of them and directions here. Just enter the city and state into the search engine.

For even more information, check out this post by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, Your Big Kid Still Needs a Booster Seat (Yes, Really!).

Originally published July 2022.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of El Paso Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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