Written By Julie Monson
Occupational Therapist &
Certified Car Seat Technician
Booster seats are essential to keep older children, aged between 4 to 12 years, as safe as possible in the event of a collision. Data shows that correct booster use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged 4-8 years, compared with seatbelt use alone (CDC).
Sadly, it is not (yet!) common practice for older children to use a booster until they are tall enough for the adult seatbelt to fit them safely. It is recommended that children use highback boosters until they reach 150cm, which is when they are tall enough for the seatbelt to fit them safely.
A booster seat positions the seatbelt safely across your child's torso in order to get a safer seatbelt fit. The cushion of a booster raises a child up on the vehicle seat, in order to guide the lapbelt over the child's hard hip bones, rather than over their soft tummy (where their viral organs are!).
The red/green seatbelt guides on highback boosters' headrests position the shoulder belt into a safer position across your child's shoulder and ribcage rather than close to the neck.
In a highback booster, your child is restrained by the seatbelt. Their torso is protected by the side wings of the booster. Their head & neck are protected by the headrest of the booster. Highback boosters offer better protection than backless boosters.
In this article, we will give you all the facts so that you can make an informed decision when buying the safest booster seat to suit your budget and lifestyle. We have also written individual, more comprehensive reviews on all our booster seats, which are linked in this article.
1. IS A HIGHBACK OR BACKLESS BOOSTER SAFER?
Children between 105cm to 150cm are best protected by a highback booster. Backless boosters provide absolutely no side impact protection, and never ever score well for safety. Highback boosters are proven to provide much better protection than backless boosters. For this reason, it is safest to buy a booster that will last all the way to 150cm.
2. WHAT WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS SHOULD THE BOOSTER SEAT HAVE?
As mentioned, children require highback boosters until they reach 150cm, so be sure to buy a booster that will last. Some boosters only last to 135cm, so be sure to check the limits.
Until very recently, highback boosters were only approved to 36kg. For average sized children, this should last them until they reach 10cm and outgrow their booster seat. However, if your child is heavier than average, it would be best to buy an approved booster to 50kg.
3. HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND ON A BOOSTER SEAT?
Unfortunately the safest booster seats are usually expensive, although expensive does not always mean safest! Before you start looking for a booster seat, decide what is a realistic budget that your family can afford.
All the booster seats that we sell get the highest safety ratings.
We do offer credit via Mobicred.
4. IS THE BOOSTER SEAT COMPATIBLE WITH MY CAR?
Each booster seat will have a car compatibility list. It is a good idea to check if your car is compatible with the booster seat you are interested in. Car seat manufacturers may highlight issues such as low roofs, which won't allow the booster height to be raised all the way to 150cm as there is not enough space. It is worth mentioning that many of our cars sold in South Africa do not appear on the car seat fit lists, if they are not sold in Europe.
All booster seats require a full 3-point seatbelt. NO booster should ever be installed with a 2-point/ lapbelt seatbelt, as the child's torso would not be restrained. Most vehicle manuals DO NOT permit the installation of a booster seat on the front seat, due to the high risk of injury that could be caused to a child from an airbag.
Some boosters have isofix attachments. On a booster seat, isofix secures the booster to the vehicle. If your car has isofix brackets, it is best to use the isofix of the booster. If your car does not have isofix, a booster seat can still be used with just the seatbelt restraining your child and the booster seat.
It is important to remember to buckle a loose booster seat in when not in use, to prevent it from becoming a potential projectile in a crash,
5. WHICH ARE THE HIGHEST SAFETY RATED BOOSTERS?
Car seats that are sold on the South African market are imported from Europe and Asia. The seats that are sold legally, will have an orange sticker on the seat to show its ECE number to prove that it has passed the mandatory European ECE R44/04 or R129 crash testing. These results are not published, and the public are not able to find out how the seats performed in the crash tests.
In order to obtain an ECE certificate, a car seat must pass a frontal collision test at a speed of 50km/h for ECE R44/04 testing or 55km/hour for R129 testing, and pass a rear impact collision test at 30km/hr.
In reality, we travel much faster speeds on our roads, with the speed limit in most urban areas being 60km or more.
Some European car seats are selected for additional, independent crash testing that is done at higher speeds and the test criteria are more stringent. Unfortunately, rebranded seats that are not sold in Europe will not undergo additional testing:
All the booster seats below have been independently crash tested by ADAC in Germany and get the highest safety ratings. The lower the score, the higher its safety. Read our blog explaining the mandatory vs independent crash testing.
|Booster seat.||Weight & Height Limits||Isofix||Recline||ADAC Safety Score (Lower=Better)|
|Cybex Solution T i-Fix||100 to 150cm
15 to 50kgs
|Cybex Solution S2 i-Fix||100 to 150cm 15 to 50kgs||Yes||Yes||1.8 (same model as Solution S i-fix)|
|BeSafe iZi Flex i-Size||100 to 150cm
15 to 36kg
|BeSafe iZi Up Fix||100 to 150cm 15 to 36kg||Yes||Yes||2.2|
|Cybex Solution B2fix||100 to 150cm 15 to 36kg||Yes||Yes||2.3|
|Maxi Cosi Kore Pro||100 to 150cm 15 to 36kg||Yes||No||2.5|
REVIEWING THE highest SAFETY RATED BOOSTER SEATS:
We have compiled a list of our best booster seats available in South Africa, reviewing each seat and why it has made our top 6 list.
WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF CYBEX SOLUTION T i-FIX
The Cybex Solution T i-Fix is iSize approved from 100 to 150cm. It is one of the only two boosters that are approved to 50kg. This makes it ideal for heavier than average children.
HOW IS CYBEX SOLUTION T I-FIX INSTALLED
Cybex Solution T i-Fix must be installed with a 3-point seatbelt. It has isofix attachments for additional stability. It can also be installed in cars without isofix.
SAFETY FEATURES OF CYBEX SOLUTION t I-FIX
The Solution T i-Fix is built with an energy- absorbing shell to absorb the forces of an impact. Additionally, the Solution T i-Fix contains Linear Side-impact protection system which enhances the safety and protection during a side collision up to 25%.
The Solution T i-Fix was given a score of 2.1 for safety by ADAC with a very low risk of injury in a side collision and average risk of injury in a frontal collision.
COMFORT FEATURES OF CYBEX SOLUTION T I-FIXThe Solution T i-Fix contains good padding all round for the best protection and comfort. The headrest has 12 height adjustable positions which ensures that the vehicle’s seat belt fits safely and comfortably over your child as they grow. The Solution T i-Fix has an automatic width adjustable backrest that widens as the headrest is raised higher. This accommodates your growing child’s height and width. This is especially useful for children with broader shoulders or wider torsos.
The Solution T i-Fix has also been made with air vents on the side of the seat to increase airflow and breathability.
Unlike most boosters, the sides of the Solution T i-Fix move upwards with the headrest to ensure the child’s shoulders, neck, and torso are protected within the shell at all times no matter how tall they are.
The Solution T i-Fix has a reclining headrest to ensure your child’s head doesn’t fall forward if they fall asleep and therefore increasing safety because your child’s head is protected at all times inside the protective shell of the seats headrest.
WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF CYBEX SOLUTION S2 I-FIX
HOW THE CYBEX SOLUTION S2 I-FIX INSTALLED?
Cybex Solution Z-iFix must be installed with a 3-point seatbelt. It has isofix attachments for additional stability. It can also be installed in cars without isofix.
SAFETY FEATURES OF THE CYBEX SOLUTION S2 I-FIX
The Solution S2 i-Fix is built with an energy- absorbing shell which works to absorb the forces of an impact and therefore provides excellent protection to the child. Additionally, the Solution S i-Fix contains Linear Side-impact protection system which enhances the safety and protection during a side collision.
The Solution S i-Fix was given a score of 1.8 for safety by ADAC with a low risk of injury in a frontal collision and a very low risk of injury in a side collision. It was given an overall ADAC score of 1.8 which is "good". Solution S-iFix and S2-iFix have the same shell and ECE certification number
COMFORT FEATURES OF THE CYBEX SOLUTION S2 I-FIX
The Solution S2 i-Fix contains sufficient padding all round for protection and comfort. The headrest has 12 height adjustable positions which ensures that the vehicle’s seat belt fits safely and comfortably over your child as they grow. The Solution S2 i-Fix contains a built in ventilation system which ensures the seat is always at an optimal temperature to prevent your child from overheating on hotter days.
The seat of the Solution S2 i-Fix is extra wide and deep which gives your child adequate space and comfort from the padding. Furthermore, the Solution S i-Fix has a reclining headrest and adjustable back rest which will ensure the backrest is flat against the vehicle backrest of any vehicle making it usable in any vehicle.
WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE BESAFE IZI FLEX?
Besafe iZi Flex is approved for use from 100cm and 15kgs until 150cm. As the iZi Flex is an i-size approved booster, it no longer has a dedicated weight limit. This is from approximately age 4 until age 12 for the average sized child.
HOW IS THE BESAFE IZI FLEX INSTALLED?
The Besafe iZi Flex is installed with either just the vehicle’s 3-point seatbelt or with isofix in combination with the vehicle’s 3-point seatbelt. Either installation is safe, however the isofix does limit movement of the seat. Therefore, if you do not use the isofix on the seat, you should always strap the seatbelt around the seat when not in use to prevent it from becoming a projectile in an accident.
SAFETY FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI FLEX
The iZi Flex has the PAD+ for additional chin and chest protection during a collision. The iZi Flex has a lapbelt guide that is used to keep the lapbelt over the child’s lap and not over the child’s internal organs. Additionally, the iZi Flex contains normal SIP (Side Impact Protection) bumpers as well as a detachable additional SIP+ bumpers that absorb the additional impact of a collision by warping like a car’s crumple zone and therefore reduces side movement in an accident.
The detachable bumpers can be removed to make the seat narrower if space is limited. It is especially good for fitting 3 car seats across.
The iZi Flex was given a score of 1.9 for safety by ADAC with a very low risk of injury in a side collision and an average risk of injury in a frontal collision. The use or non-use of the isofix does not make a difference in the safety of the seat.
COMFORT FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI FLEX
The iZi Flex has good padding all round for comfort and protection. The headrest has been designed to assist with sleeping support but at the same time, the design allows for a better view for your child to see out the window. The PAD+ chin support helps to soften the vehicle shoulder belt against the chest and shoulder to minimize belt indentations and friction. Sleeping in the iZi Flex is comfortable as it has a good recline position. The headrest of the iZi Flex is easily height adjustable from either side of the seat.
WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE BESAFE IZI UP X3 FIX
Besafe iZi Up X3 FIX is approved for use from 100cm and 15kgs until 150cm or 36kgs. This is from approximately age 4 until age 12 for the average sized child.
HOW IS THE BESAFE IZI UP X3 FIX INSTALLED?The iZi Up X3 must be installed with the vehicle's 3-point seatbelt, and it has the added option that it can be fitted using the car’s ISOfix points. Isofix ensures that the car seat always is fixed in the car and will not move around in the event of a collision.
SAFETY FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI UP X3 FIX
The iZi Up X3 Fix includes SIR – Side Impact Rotation. This means that when installed with isofix, the booster seat will rotate inwards towards the centre of the car in the event of an impact from the side ,so that the child is turned away from the point of impact instead of being thrown forwards against the door.
ADAC awarded the Izi Up X3 Fix a score of 2.2 for safety, which is classified as "good". It achieved "low load values in a side crash" and "average load values in a front crash"
COMFORT FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI UP X3 FIX
The iZi Up X3 Fix can be used in 2 different sleeping/recline positions during journey and your child can make their own adjustments safely by using the handles. The iZi Up X3 Fix has good padding for comfort.
5) MAXI COSI RODIFIX AIRPROTECT (NOW DISCONTINUED)
WEIGHT LIMITS OF MAXI COSI RODIFIX AIRPROTECT
The Maxi Cosi Rodifix Airprotect for use from 100cm and 15kgs until 150cm or 36kgs. This is from approximately age 4 until age 12 for the average sized child.
HOW IS THE MAXI COSI RODIFIX AIRPROTECT INSTALLED?
The easy ISOFIX installation ensures optimal stability, even when your child is not in it. It can be installed without isofix in cars that are not equipped with isofix brackets.
SAFETY FEATURES OF THE MAXI COSI RODIFIX AIRPROTECT
RodiFix AirProtect®’s patented AirProtect® technology reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 20%! In a crash, AirProtect® diverts the force of the impact away from your little one’s head, absorbing them into the headrest. This instantaneously reduces the risk of head injury and protects your child.
The Maxi Cosi Rodifix Airprotect in 2016, and awarded it 2.3 for safety, which is classified as "good". It achieved "Low risk of injury in front and side crashes".
COMFORT FEATURES OF MAXI COSI RODIFIX AIRPROTECT
The Rodifix Airprotect has 2 recline settings, to allow your child to nap comfortably without falling forwards. The headrest’s height is adjustable so it can adapt to your little one as they grow, all the way up to when they’re 12 years old!
WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE CYBEX SOLUTION B2-FIX LUX
The Cybex Solution B2-Fix Lux is approved from 100cm and 15kg until 150cm and 36kg, which is approximately 4 to 12 years.
HOW IS THE CYBEX SOLUTION B2-FIX LUX?
The Solution B2-Fix Lux requires a 3-point seatbelt over your child's torso. It is equipped with ISOFIX for easy installation and extra stability. It can also be used in vehicles without ISOFIX.
SAFETY FEATURES OF THE CYBEX SOLUTION B2-FIX LUX
The patented reclining headrest prevents your child's head from tipping forward while sleeping. It ensures that the child's head remains in the safety zone at all times, which is especially important in the event of a side-impact collision.
The energy-absorbing shell of the Solution B2-Fix Lux absorbs the forces of an impact and protectively covers the child. The improved Linear Side-impact Protection System of the Solution B2-Fix Lux offers enhanced safety during a side-impact. The L.S.P. System reduces the forces of an impact in the event of a side-impact collision by approximately 25% when compared to the same car seat without L.S.P. extended.
ADAC gave it a safety rating of 2.3, which is classified as "good". It achieved "low risk of injury in a side crash Average risk of injury in a front crash"
COMFORT FEATURES OF THE CYBEX SOLUTION B2-FIX LUX
The 12-position height-adjustment allows the seat to grow with the child and offers long usability. The head protectors grow with the personal space requirements of the child. The smart one-hand operation makes it quick and easy for the parent to adjust.
The extra wide and deep seat cushion ensures a comfortable ride for your child throughout the years.
The integrated ventilation system of the Solution B2-Fix provides a comfortable seat temperature for your child even on hot days.
The adjustable backrest of the Solution B2-Fix perfectly adjusts to any vehicle seat. This is our lightest and most affordable booster seat, making it ideal for moving between cars and travel.
WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE MAXI COSI KORE PRO I-SIZE
The Kore Pro is an iSize approved booster seat. It is approved for used from at least 100cm and 15kgs until 150cm. It is an i-size approved booster so does not have a dedicated weight limit. This is from approximately age 4 until age 12 for the average sized child.
HOW IS THE MAXI COSI KORE PRO ISIZE INSTALLED?
The Kore Pro can be installed with either just the vehicle’s 3-point seatbelt or with isofix in combination with the vehicle’s 3-point seatbelt. Either installation is safe, however, use of the isofix will minimise the movement of the seat, especially when unoccupied.
SAFETY FEATURES OF THE MAXI COSI KORE PRO ISIZE
To achieve this, the SPS reduces the risk of injury by absorbing the force of the impact with built-in glass fibre shock absorbers and impact absorbing materials. Along with the cocoon-like shell, the Kore Pro offers full body side protection.
When tested by ADAC, the Kore Pro displayed a low risk of injury in a side impact collision and an average risk of injury in a front impact collision. The overall safety score was 2.5 which is classified as “good"
COMFORT FEATURES OF THE MAXI COSI KORE PRO ISIZE
The Kore Pro has adequate padding on the booster seat for comfort while travelling. The Kore Pro is the first ever booster to come with a unique built-in ClickAssist light that illuminates the area surrounding the seatbelt buckle in order for your child to buckle themselves in during the day but especially at night when it isn’t easy to see the buckle. The light is activated automatically by your child's weight when they get into the Kore Pro. The Kore Pro does not recline.
The best and safest BOOSTER seats
Please click on the button below to view the highest safety rated booster seats that we sell. Feel free to contact us if you require any further information or would like to book a consultation.