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
Tuesday April 16, 2024
We commissioned third-party testing through MGA Research to crash-test each booster so we could compare results side-by-side.
Credit: GearLab & MGA Research

Crash Test

We contracted with the same crash test facility used by NHTSA and commissioned crash tests somewhat faster than those used by NHTSA and on a sled that more closely mimics a modern vehicle seat design 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 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. Every seat in this review meets federal guidelines and is considered safe; our tests are designed to identify those that stand out from the pack and might offer an additional margin of safety. We run a slightly faster test using a crash sled that better mimics modern vehicle seats than those used in federal guideline testing.

booster seat - we tested each booster for ease of use for daily activities like...
We tested each booster for ease of use for daily activities like buckling and less frequent functions like installation.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use

We considered features and functionality related to everyday use. We tested the 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 how difficult they were to carry for parents who would be using their boosters for carpooling or travel.

Each booster was measured and weighed to better demonstrate the differences between each booster using the same tools for an apples-to-apples comparison.
Credit: Natalie Nealan


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 its widest point on the bottom so parents could determine if a specific seat would fit in the backseat of their car with other passengers or possible car seats.

booster seat - some of the boosters were significantly more comfortable than others...
Some of the boosters were significantly more comfortable than others with more adjustability and supportive comfort padding.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


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, our impressions of the materials, and how comfortable they would be for napping and longer trips.

booster seat - the britax grow with you offers better quality than most of the...
The Britax Grow with You offers better quality than most of the competition.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


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 is compared to the others in the review.