So, your little one isn't a baby anymore, which is why they now need one of these high-backed booster seats. Gone are the days they could be transported to and from the house snuggled up in their baby car seat. Now, they are an independent self-acclaimed big kid who wants to be treated as such.
Probably by now, they have grown out of their toddler car seat, and you may be wondering what the next step is. After all, children in the UK are legally required to sit in a car or booster seat until they are 12 years old. Fear not, we are here to help.
The best high-backed booster seats at a glance:
Best high-backed booster seat: Joie Baby i-Trillo Children's Car Seat - Buy now from John Lewis
Best for older children: Maxi-Cosi Rodifix AirProtect Children's Car Seat - Buy now from Maxi Cosi
Best lightweight car seat: Graco Junior Maxi Lightweight High Back Booster Car Seat - Buy now from Halfords
Best for Disney fans: Nania High Back Booster Seat BEFIX Group 2/3 - Buy now from Amazon
High-backed booster seats are perfect for school-aged children and beyond - most will last until your child no longer requires one. Some have side impact protection, and others have 5-point harnesses to keep them safe. We've put together a list of the very best options for you to peruse; check them out below.
The best high-backed booster seats 2023
Best high-backed booster seat
The i-Trillo is a brilliant booster seat which can be used once your child reaches 15kg. It has
- Added protection
- Can be installed into all cars via the seat belt
- Only one colour available
Best for design
We love Cosatto car seats because of their fabulous designs. Regardless of your kid's style, there
- Brilliant patterns
- Side-impact protection
- Wide car seats might not be the best fit for smaller cars
Best for colour options
The Cybex Silver Solution X-Fix Child's Car Seat has received rave reviews from Amazon buyers. The
- Multiple colour choices
- Seat belt can become twisted
Best for older children
One of the best high-backed booster seats, Maxi-Cosi RodiFix AirProtect, will fit any car that has
- Easy-to-follow belt guide
- Grows with the child
- Only two positions
Best for comfort
Britax Kidfix III S Car Seat has a shock-absorbing foam pad that offers unique protection for the
- Added stomach protection
- Super comfy
- Seatbelt gets twisted easily
Best lightweight car seat
The Graco Junior Maxi has a one-hand, adjustable headrest, which allows parents to quickly and
- Only available in two colours
Best for grandparents
As the name suggests, this car seat is easy to store and transport, making it a fabulous car seat
- Designed to keep the belt in the right position
- Removable side safety system
- Quite bulky
Best bargain car seat
If you are looking to bag a bargain with one of the best high-backed booster seats, this car seat
- Washable cover
- Comfort isn't as good as others on this list
Best for Disney fans
Now that your little one is a little older, they are likely to have some firm favourite film
- Toddler-friendly design
- Tested to ECE R44/04 standard
- Not as padded as others
Best multi-stage without ISOFIX
The Elevate from Joie grows with your child. It can be used from as young as one year old until
- Easy to install
- Looks smart
- Harness can be a tight fit
Car seat guide
To help determine which of the best high-backed booster seats your little one needs, you should be looking for their 'stage group' based on their weight rather than their age. The stage groups for little ones are broken down as follows under ECE R44 regulations with different seat designs as a result.
It's recommended that you should try to keep your child in the lowest stage group for as long as possible to give them the optimal safety features.
Group 0+/1 car seats: Suitable from birth to 18kg, approx. four-years-old.
Group 1 car seats: Suitable for children 9-18kg, approx. nine months to four years old.
Group 0+/1/2 car seats: Suitable from birth to 25kg, approx. six-years-old.
Group 1/2/3 car seats: Suitable for children 9-36kg, approx. nine months to 12 years.
2/3 car seats: Suitable for children 15-36kg, approx. three to 12 years old.
i-Size car seats: Expected to eventually be adopted across all new car seats sold, i-Size was introduced in 2013 as safety regulation ECE R129 with rigorous testing through impact crash trials and new state-of-the-art Q dummies to test impact.
Using a height-based system, i-Size car seats have been designed to take the guesswork out of choosing the right fit, provide better protection from side impacts, and keep children rearward-facing for longer, until at least 15 months or 75cm to protect their fragile heads and necks.
When should a child be in a high-back booster seat?
High-back booster seats, also known as Group 2/3 car seats, are suitable from 15kg. Most high-back boosters state that they are suitable from the age of four. However, you should always go by a child's weight rather than age.
Unlike baby and toddler car seats, these booster seats do not have an internal harness and are instead secured by the car's seat belt. So, it is a good idea to try and keep them in an infant car seat until they meet the maximum weight. Scroll down for our full car seat size guide.
Is a high-back booster safer than a backless booster?
A high-back booster seat is safer than a backless booster or a booster cushion. And there are three main reasons why.
Firstly, a high-back booster has potentially life-saving protection for your child's torso and head against side impacts. In this way, it is more similar to a car seat than a backless booster that just ensures your child is seated at the correct height for a car seat belt.
Speaking of which, high-backed boosters have guides that ensure that the belt is in the correct position for your child's height. Also, a high-back booster can recline, whereas backless seats cannot. As we all know, little ones love sleeping in the car. High-back booster seats stop your little one from slouching forward and causing injuries.
It's also worth knowing that based on new safety regulations launched in 2017, Group 3 car seats, i.e. new backless booster seats on the market, are limited to children who are taller than 125cm and weigh more than 22kg. Previously, these car seats were approved for use by children weighing between 15-36kg, but they've been deemed by the UN as being unsuitable for protecting smaller children from side-on collisions as they have fewer safety features.
Does a five-year-old need a five-point harness?
A five-point harness offers the maximum protection in a car seat. However, once your child weighs 18kg, the harness should be replaced by the seatbelt to ensure optimal safety. If you are unsure, always check the manufacturer's guides on the car seat.
What is ISOFIX?
For a car seat that's seamless to install, ISOFIX is a must. ISOFIX-compatible car seats have two arms that lock onto small metal bars located in the seat of your vehicle to anchor the car seat into place. Plus, they're accompanied by install indicators, so you can be sure it's correctly connected.
Most new cars since 2013 have a pair of ISOFIX anchor points. But it's something worth checking in your car if you want to reap the benefits.
Hannah James is a Parenting and Lifestyle Writer working across Mother&Baby, Yours and Grazia. As a mother of three, Hannah lives, breathes and consumes all things family orientated.