Resources

Boosters for Wider Kids

Posted in: Booster Seats

All kids need a booster until they pass the 5 step test – which doesn’t usually happen until they are very close to 5 feet tall. A child’s weight does not factor into readiness to ride without a booster. In fact, a larger abdomen can make it harder to keep the lap belt where it needs to be (on the lap) and away from where it can cause harm (on the belly). 

While a lot of boosters say that they can accommodate kids to 100 or even 120 pounds, if you have a wider kid you may have found that some kids simply can’t fit between the arm rests of many boosters. We have a list of the highback and backless boosters currently on the market that fit the widest kids best. We recommend kids use a high back booster for as long as possible and whenever possible – as kids tend to sit better in them (less slouching, leaning over, messing with the seat belt) which means the seat belt is more likely to be in the proper place should you get in a crash.

High Back boosters:

  • Maxi Cosi RodiFix (shop family-owned / shop Amazon) 
    • To say we love this booster, would be an understatement. It is the most versatile booster we’ve found (and we’ve tried them all). It has the narrowest footprint – making it more likely to fit in narrow seating positions where others won’t – yet accommodates the wider kids fabulously due to flexible sides and an absence of arm rests. If space is at a premium in the spot where your child will be riding, then this is the seat to consider.
    • By design, it has eliminated the most common, and most serious, misuse of all boosters which is where someone accidentally puts the lap belt over one or both of the arm rests (which then puts the lap belt across the child’s belly which is super dangerous) – so by designing this booster without arm rests, you can’t make this mistake when buckling up. The lack of arm rests also makes it easier for a child to see the buckle and to get their hand in to buckle and unbuckle themselves independently.
    • The head rest is so well designed on this we’d love to use it on planes for ourselves! It captures the head perfectly so your kid’s head won’t be bobbing around during sleep. Keeping the head well positioned during sleep is an important part of keeping the whole body properly positioned in the seat belt – because if the head falls, sometimes the torso starts to fall forward or slump sideways, both of which are dangerous as the seat belt won’t be on the proper part of the child’s body.
    • This seat is only a high back booster
    • The back of this booster is rigid enough to support the child’s head and does not need the vehicle seat back to come up to the child’s ears for whiplash protection.
    • This booster can be secured to the vehicle using rigid lower anchor connectors (rigid LATCH).

  • Diono Monterey XT (shop family-owned / shop Amazon)
    • This seat has a generous bottom in both width and seat depth to fit the larger kids. In addition to the height of the back rest being adjustable, the side panels are also adjustable in width.
    • This booster has the largest exterior dimensions of any on our list – and so it is going to need a spot in the car with a lot of room. It will fit best in a position where no other car seats or boosters or adults need to sit next to it. is the most affordable of the high back booster options for bigger kids.
    • The back of this booster is NOT rigid enough to support the child’s head and therefore needs the vehicle seat back to come up to at least the top of the child’s ears at all times (whether in high back or backless mode) in order to protect the child against whiplash injuries.
    • The back can be removed to turn this into a backless booster
    • This booster can be secured to the vehicle using a lower anchor strap (flexible LATCH).

  • Peg Perego Shuttle Plus 120 ( shop family-owned/ shopAmazon)
    • This booster has the highest capacity for both height and weight of any high back booster in the US. If you have a child with a very tall torso, they will fit in this high back booster longer than any other.
    • In addition to the height of the back rest being adjustable, the side panels are also adjustable in width.
    • While there are arm rests on this booster, they are spaced far enough apart that many wider kids should be comfortable.
    • The back of this booster is rigid enough to support the child’s head and does not need the vehicle seat back to come up to the child’s ears for whiplash protection.
    • The back can be removed to turn this into a backless booster
    • This booster can be secured to the vehicle using rigid lower anchor connectors (rigid LATCH).

Backless boosters:

  • Graco Rightguide (shop Walmart)
    • No exaggeration, the RightGuide is the best thing we’ve ever seen in the category of backless boosters.
    • The Rightguide fits both skinny and wider kids very well due to the lateral flexibility in the red belt guides. It has a slight upwards slant at the knees which not only enhances the comfort, but also the safety as it helps prevent kids from wanting to slouch (slouching puts the lap belt on the belly, which is dangerous!).
    • This is also a fabulous booster seat for travel, playdates, etc as it weighs just 1.8 pounds and easily slides into a child’s backpack and many purses, diaper bags, etc. The red belt guides tuck flush with the underside of the booster to make it super compact for carrying around when you aren’t in a car.
    • This is also the narrowest footprint of any booster (highback or backless) – meaning it is great for fitting in narrow centers or next to another car seat where other boosters didn’t fit.
    • This booster has not yet been evaluated by IIHS… but in our informal testing of it with a variety of kids it offers great belt fit for small and large kids in a variety of cars.

  • Graco Turbo Go (shop Amazon /shop Walmart)
    • This booster has two design features that make it ideal for wider kids.
      • First, it is generous in width and has a longer-than-average seat depth for the longer legs. However, the longer seat depth is a problem for the younger kids as their knees may not bend naturally over the edge without slouching. 
      • Second, the lap belt guides are very high and completely vertical – rather than tapered in like many others – which allows them to be higher than the child’s thighs and not pushing into the thighs compared to many other booster designs.
    • This booster weighs 4 pounds and folds to allow it to fit in a large backpack.
    • This seat boosts the child up a fair amount (more so than the RightGuide) which is great for shorter kids but can be an issue for taller kids if their head starts getting too close to the roof of the car or their head is not supported by the vehicle seat back or vehicle head restraint.

We are a reader supported site. We earn an affiliate commission when you buy through our links.

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this page. No monetary compensation was provided, however, some of the reviewed products were supplied by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate the review. All opinions are those of The Car Seat Lady LLC. 

Comments are closed.