In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

How We Tested Booster Seats

By Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and the BabyGearLab Review Team
Friday January 31, 2020
The graph shows a comparison of the head sensor (HIC results for the...
The graph shows a comparison of the head sensor (HIC results for the BubbleBum (in black) compared to the best results in the group earned by the Evenflo Spectrum (in green).
Credit: BabyGearLab, MGA Research

Crash Test


We contracted with the same crash test facility used by NHTSA and commissioned crash tests identical to those used by NHTSA for our booster tests in this review. Each seat was tested in the same manner and test results were collected using the same kind of crash test dummies and sensors. The crash test results were analyzed and compared to each other before a score form 1-10 was assigned, so the results could more easily be compared to one another. Data was collected from head and chest sensors and scores for each were used to calculate the overall crash test score.

The shoulder strap retainer on the Clek is difficult to use, and if...
The shoulder strap retainer on the Clek is difficult to use, and if you leave the strap in the retainer between uses, it sometimes gets stuck in the locked position making it harder to use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


We considered features and functionality related to everyday use. We tested installation, headrest adjustments, recline, and whether or not little ones could use the seat without help. This included buckling themselves in and using the shoulder strap retainer. Finally, we tested how easy the seats were to move from car to car and difficult they were to carry for parents who will be using their boosters for carpooling or travel.

Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weight/Size


We weighed each seat in its high-backed form if it had it. We used the same scale and the same tester to ensure consistency. We measured each seat at their widest point on the bottom so parents can determine if a specific seat will fit in the backseat of their car with other passengers or possible car seats.

It is easy to see that the depth and width of the Spectrum headrest...
It is easy to see that the depth and width of the Spectrum headrest would be supportive for napping and help avoid the dreaded floppy head.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


The boosters were compared side-by-side to see how each felt compared to the others. Little testers gave their feedback on how comfortable the boosters were in real life and everyday use. We considered their feedback and our impressions of the materials and how comfortable they will be for napping and longer trips.

The Britax is a high-quality option.
The Britax is a high-quality option.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Quality


The boosters were reviewed for the materials used and the overall construction of the seat. This included the foam, padding, fabric, and shell. We considered the connection points, stitching, how the fabric fits the frame, and the stability of the shell. The final considerations are the overall fit and finish of the seat, the attention to detail and how each option compared to the others in the review.