Baby Booster Seats
Baby and toddler booster seats provide an extra bit of height for your child when he's seated either in a car or on a chair at a dining table in your home or in a restaurant. The extra "boost" makes sitting at height safer, and lets you keep an eye on your child from your position at the table or from the front of your vehicle.
Of course, baby safety is a concern when using a booster seat, either because your child is sitting higher than he normally would, or because he's traveling in moving vehicle that could potentially be involved in an accident. So it's important to know what is required to make a booster seat safe.
There is a range of baby booster seats with different features and of course different price tags. Let's have a look at some them...
Baby Booster Car Seats
Booster car seats are for toddlers from the age of 2 to 2½ upwards. Once a child grows out of his baby car seat or infant seat, he graduates to a booster seat until he's big enough to properly fit an adult seat belt without needing to sit on something to increase his height.
Whereas infant car seats are generally rear facing, car booster seats are forward facing. Both types come with harnesses to hold your child in safely.
Booster chairs for the home become useful once your child has reached the toddler stage. Prior to that you should be using a baby high chair for feeding him, or for having him sit next to you at the table.
Toddler booster chairs come in versions for children who are grown up enough to be able to sit still and safely in an adult chair - they just need a little bit of height so they can see over the table. There are also versions for kids who are too big for a baby high chair, but who still need to be strapped into a booster chair to make it safe.
Using Your Toddler Booster Seat
You'll probably use your child's booster seat mostly at meal times, but it may also come in useful at play time or for any other activity that involves sitting at a table. Many booster seats fold away for convenient storage when not in use. Booster seats should have straps or other fasteners to secure them to the adult chair. Some booster chair styles have harnesses to prevent your toddler falling out.
Some booster chairs come with a detachable tray. This is a convenient (and easily cleanable) surface on which your child can learn feed himself more independently, and make a mess without causing a dining table catastrophe. It also has the added advantage of securing your child inside the chair.
Booster Seat Brands
Baby Bjorn is a trusted manufacturer of baby booster seats. It currently produces a very simple booster seat made of molded plastic. This booster chair clamps onto an adult car, and has rubber feet that grip the seat of the adult chair to prevent the booster chair moving around if your child kicks his legs. The chair is suitable for kids aged 2 ½ and older.
The Baby Bjorn booster seat also comes in a "safe seat," version for children who need a little bit of extra security at the table. These seats have a plastic bar that goes across your child's tummy to prevent him falling out, as well as a bar that goes between his legs.
Baby Love booster seats are also popular with many parents. This company produces booster seats for cars and for the home.
Booster Seat Safety
If you're using a car booster seat, booster chair or a high chair, the main question you need to ask yourself is: is there any way this seat can move, unless I move it myself?
- Check the seat's safety harness (in a car, it's especially important that the harness clips are at around armpit level, never on the stomach or neck)
- Check that the seat belt you're using to secure the car booster seat clicks easily and fully into its clip
- Check that your booster chair is secured and immobile on the adult chair you're using
- Check that your baby high chair, if collapsible, has a locking device (which is enabled) that prevents the legs collapsing suddenly
Booster Seat Recalls
From time to time, children's booster seat products are recalled because they're found to have a safety defect. For information on the latest car booster seat recalls, check the information on the website of the Office of Defects Investigation (in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). For other child booster chair recalls, check the website of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.