The best Graco booster seat

Stephanie Jarrett

Kids should ride in booster seats, with or without backs, until they are 8 years of age and a minimum height of 4- foot-9.

Booster seats are the final type of car seat your child will ride in before they graduate to using just the car’s seat belt for proper restraint. A booster seat lifts your child up to the appropriate height so that the car’s seat belt correctly fits across and secures your child. 

Car seats and booster seats can be expensive, but if you buy a versatile car seat such as the Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, it’s the only one you’ll ever need.

What to know before you buy a Graco booster seat

Child’s age and size

The type of car seat your child needs to ride in to be safe in the car depends on their age, height and weight. Generally speaking, a child younger than 4 years of age should not be in a booster seat. Once a child reaches 4 years of age, they can use a booster seat, but a booster seat with a high back and a five-point harness is considered a better bet than a backless booster for a child that age.

Your child should remain in a booster seat until they reach the age of 8 and are at least 4-foot-9, the height at which a car’s seat belt will correctly fit them.

Car seat size

All booster seats are not created equal in terms of size. Some are much wider than others. If you only need one booster seat, size may not be an issue. However, if you have a smaller vehicle or need to accommodate several car seats for multiple children at once, you will need to consider the booster seat’s size. A backless booster seat will take up the least amount of room in your vehicle and enable you to fit multiple booster seats for multiple kids. If you decide to purchase a high-back Graco booster seat, be sure to check the width measurements. 

Portability of a Graco booster seat

Booster seats can be quite cumbersome to move between vehicles. High-back booster seats or convertible car seats often require tethering to a car seat in order to be considered correctly installed. This process can be frustrating if you need to regularly move your booster seat from one car to another. A backless booster seat, which just sits in a car seat and utilizes the car’s seat belt to restrain your child, is the easiest to move from car to car. If you only plan to purchase one booster seat but will need to frequently move it between cars, you might want to consider the booster seat’s portability.

Graco booster seat features

Graco booster seats with cup holders

When carting around kids, it can be nice to have a space for them to place the items they frequently have with them, such as water bottles and snacks. Cup holders on a booster seat are a nice feature that give your child a spot to place their water bottle but still have it nearby for easy access.

Removable covers for a Graco booster seat

Kids are messy and, inevitably, their booster seats will get dirty despite your best efforts to keep them clean. Most Graco booster seats include removable seat pads that can be tossed in the washing machine for easy clean-up when accidents happen.

Graco booster seats with adjustable headrests

Graco knows that not all children who are the same age are the same height. Graco booster seats come with adjustable headrests to grow with your child and keep your child comfortable in their booster seat. 

Graco booster seat cost 

Graco booster seats vary in cost depending upon which type of booster seat you purchase. A backless Graco booster seat starts around $25. A Graco convertible car seat can cost as much as $250, depending on the features you want to have.

Graco booster seat FAQ

Where in my car should my child’s booster seat be?

A. A child who requires a booster seat should always ride in the back seat. According to the CDC, any child under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat of a car. A car seat or booster seat should not be used in the front seat of a vehicle. In terms of which back seat you choose for your child, that is a personal choice.

You may find it easier to get a child in and out of a seat next to the door of the vehicle, especially if your child needs help with buckling. The back middle seat is the safest in the vehicle, but not all rear middle seats have shoulder harnesses. If your back middle seat doesn’t have a shoulder strap and your child is in a backless booster seat, your child should move to a seat with a shoulder harness.

When can my child stop using a booster seat?

A. Your child should ride in a booster seat until they reach at least 8 years of age, but can ride in a booster seat until age 12. They should remain in a booster seat until they are also 4-foot-9, at which point they are tall enough for the car’s seat belt to properly restrain them in the event of an accident. A child should be, minimally, 8 years of age and 4-foot-9 before they stop using a booster seat. An exceptionally tall child who is 4-foot-9 but not yet 8 years old should be in a booster seat.  

Which Graco booster seat should I get?

Best of the best Graco booster seat

Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat: available at Amazon and Buy Buy Baby 

Our take: This versatile Graco car seat can be used rear-facing to take your newborn home from the hospital and then as a forward-facing booster to eventually take your baby to kindergarten!

What we like: With a slim design to save space in your back seat and Graco ProtectPlus safety engineering, this Graco car seat is the only one you will need for your child from day one.

What we dislike: When used as a rear-facing car seat, this Graco booster seat doesn’t recline as far as other comparable car seats.

Best bang for your buck Graco booster seat

Graco Affix Backless Booster Car Seat: available at Amazon and Buy Buy Baby 

Our take: At less than $40, this Graco backless booster seat, which has top-notch safety ratings, will help position your child properly in their seat so they can use the car’s seat belt for safety.

What we like: Retractable cup holders and removable seat covers make this Graco booster seat comfortable and functional. The lightweight design makes the booster seat easy to transfer from one car to another.

What we dislike: This device can sometimes shift when the car is moving, and it can feel narrow to some children.

Honorable mention Graco booster seat

Graco Nautilus Three-in-One Harness Booster Car Seat: available at Amazon and Buy Buy Baby 

Our take: This Graco car seat, which can accommodate kids up to 100 pounds, is both comfortable and long-lasting. Your child can ride in this seat for years.

What we like: Coming in at less than $200, this car seat is affordable and will accommodate your growing child until they reach 100 pounds. The car seat has several machine-washable components, should the car seat get dirty.

What we dislike: This booster seat is wider than others on the market and might not be a great fit for you if you have multiple kids in car seats.

Stephanie Jarrett is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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