There are many considerations when choosing a folding booster seat. For safety considerations, the seat must be designed for the height and weight of the child. A car seat booster should be comfortable for the child and the restraining belts should fit properly; the booster also should fit properly in the car in which it is to be used. Ideally, the booster seat should be also be durable and easy to clean. Finally, because the seat is made to be portable, carrying weight and ease of installation are also important.
Weight and height limitations for a folding booster seat generally range from 30 to 100 pounds (13.6 to 45.3 kilograms) and from 33 to 57 inches (84 cm to 1.45 meters). The specific limitations can vary greatly between models but are generally noted on the packaging or product description. To guarantee safety, the child’s height and weight should fall within the manufacture’s specifications for the chosen model.
The comfort of the child is important when choosing a folding booster seat. Safety belts should fit snuggly but not so tightly that it is painful for the child. Shoulder belts should rest comfortably across the shoulder without rubbing against the child’s neck. The amount of padding is sometimes reduced to make the booster easier to carry, so care should be taken to ensure that the seat is sufficiently cushioned.
Assuring proper fit is often easier with a folding booster seat that has adjustable headrests, arm rests and belt placement. Adjustable belts help assure proper positioning of the restraints and can improve both comfort and safety. If a child is slumping or leaning to one side, the car seat may not protect as well in a crash. Headrests and armrests that are properly positioned let the child relax while maintaining the posture for which the car seat was designed.
Durability and ease of cleaning need to be considered, as well. The fabric of the seat should be sturdy and, when possible, any seams should be double-stitched to prevent tears. Many manufactures make folding booster seats with removable back and seat covers to make cleaning the seat easier. Crevices often trap dirt, so any exposed surfaces should be relatively smooth.
Folding booster seats are made to be portable and should be easily manageable by one person. The seat should fold effortlessly and latch to stay folded when carried. Boosters are used when traveling with children, so one should consider choosing a seat that has a handle and is light enough to be carried with one hand.
Parenting magazines and websites frequently review car seats, and browsing a few can provide an idea of what folding booster seats are available. Many websites that sell car seats also provide a section for consumer reviews. Several reviews of the seat in daily use can show patterns of problems that a single reviewer may have overlooked. Finally, when choosing a folding booster seat, make sure the seat complies with all local and regional safety requirements.