Sometimes good things come to those who wait. This is definitely the case with the Cruiserfix Pro highback booster from German manufacturer, Kiddy. We first previewed this exciting new product in the spring of 2011 and then we waited. We saw it again at the ABC Expo in the fall. Then we waited some more. Just when I was starting to think it had all been a dream we got the word – the Kiddy seats had landed on our shores! But would the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro live up to all the hype and anticipation? I had my fingers crossed!

 

Kiddy CFP Specs & Features:

  • Weight range: 33 – 100 lbs (15 – 45.3 kg)
  • Height range: 38 – 60″ (Child’s ears must be below top of seat back )
  • Age requirements: No minimum age requirement but product is recommended for children approximately 4 – 12 years of age
  • Highback booster only (cannot remove back and use as a backless booster)
  • Rigid LATCH “K-fix” connectors for lower anchors (optional funnel guides for lower anchors come with seat)
  • Adjustable in both height/shoulder width and leg depth (ht and width adjust simultaneously – not independently of each other)
  • Various types of  thick energy-absorbing foam (Honey Comb V2, EPP & EPS)
  • Additional comfort foam lines bottom and lower sides of shell
  • Kiddy Shock Absorber “crumple zone” technology in lap belt area
  • 8 year lifespan before expiration

    

 

Measurements:

  • Interior width at hip area: 10.5″ (armrests flare out which make it more comfortable for wider kids)
  • Height to bottom of shoulder belt guide: Adjustable (10 positions) 15 – 20.5″
  • Overall seated height to top of shell: 30″ max
  • Seat Depth: Adjustable 15-18″
  • Width of base at bottom of shell: 12.5″
  • Product weight: 16.2 lbs (according to my digital bathroom scale)

               

 

The fashion I have for this review is “Walnut” which is a nice taupe-y brown. Other available fashions include Phantom (gray/black), Lavender (black/purple) & Rumba (black/red) – pictured right.

 

Fit-to-Child Comments:

The Kiddy CFP  has not yet been rated by the IIHS for belt fit but it did an excellent job positioning the seatbelt properly on the various children I tried in it. As you can see in the pics below, it fits my 8 year old, 70 lbs, 52″ son really well.  It also fits a leggy 7 year old, 50 lbs, 50″ child equally well. Seat depth even without extending the leg extension is perfect for these older kids and the width is neither too wide nor too narrow.  I’ve included pics of how much growing room (height-wise) each kid has in this seat.

      

        

 

Fit-to-Vehicle Comments:

I tried the Cruiserfix Pro in several vehicles and did not encounter any incompatibility issues (even at its tallest height setting) but that doesn’t guarantee anything unless you happen to drive one of those vehicles. For the record, it fit fine in the captain’s chair of my 2005 Ford Freestar minivan (with LATCH); outboard in a 2004 Hyundai Accent (with LATCH) – pics below; outboard in the middle row of a 2006 Honda Pilot (with LATCH); outboard 3rd row in a 2008 Toyota Highlander (without LATCH) – pic below. I had no issues with the shoulder belt getting caught in the guides or anything along those lines. Actually the unique design of the shoulder belt guide is one of the best I’ve ever encountered.

    

In most cases I had to remove the vehicle’s head restraint to get the booster to be flush against the vehicle seat back – as required in the instruction manual. The instructions specifically state that you should remove the vehicle head restraint if it interferes with your ability to get the booster flush against the vehicle seatback.  Truthfully, there was a slight gap behind the seat in the’04 Accent because the head restraints in that vehicle are just little nubs that are integrated into the top of the vehicle seatback. The gap was insignificant so I wasn’t overly concerned but if you have a vehicle with head restraints that pitch forward and aren’t removable then there’s a good chance that this booster will be incompatible with your vehicle. Consider yourself warned.

Using the “K-fix” Rigid LATCH connectors is recommended but not required. If you have a vehicle or seating position that doesn’t have lower LATCH anchors then you can retract the K-fix attachments and ignore them. Also, don’t try to use the lower LATCH anchors if they don’t align with the positioning of the seatbelt. In some vehicles the lower anchors are offset. If this is the case in your vehicle – you won’t be able to take advantage of the LATCH feature on this booster.  Also, since these are Rigid LATCH attachments – they will only work with standard LATCH spacing of 280 mm (approx 11″).

 

 

Cruiserfix Pro Advantages:

  • Good belt fit on a range of children of different sizes
  • Design of head wings and side wings promote alignment of head, neck & torso during a side-impact crash
  • Rigid LATCH “K-fix” attachments add stability and may provide additional benefits during certain types of crashes
  • If the K-fix attachments are used to secure the booster, you don’t need to remember to buckle it when it’s unoccupied to keep it from becoming a projectile in a crash (the manual didn’t specify this but I confirmed with Kiddy).
  • Several different types of thick, energy-absorbing foam
  • Shock Absorber technology in the lap belt portion of the belt guide
  • Innovative shoulder belt guides work well with various seatbelt geometry
  • Unique leg extension feature offers best-in-class leg support for older kids with long legs
  • Highly adjustable and comfortable
  • Fabric has a special treatment which resists spills so the comfort foam underneath stays dry (liquid will pool but will not soak through)
  • Machine washable cover (cold water, mild soap, delicate cycle – drip dry)
  • Kiddy has a crash replacement program if your Kiddy seat is involved in a crash that exceeds 10 mph (police accident report required)
  • Sturdy and solid (nothing on this seat feels cheap or flimsy)
  • 8 year lifespan before expiration

  

 

Disadvantages:  (In fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific Cruiserfix Pro issues)

  • Heavy and somewhat bulky
  • Wide (not a good option for 3-across situations or for situations where you need to fit this booster next to another CR).
  • Seat depth may be too much for younger kids with shorter legs, which could potentially promote slouching.
  • Depth of headwings is average. Should be deep enough to provide sufficient SIP and head support while sleeping (especially if you’re able to recline your vehicle seat a notch or two) but it’s definitely not as deep as some other BPBs currently on the market.
  • Upper portion of cover is difficult to remove and very difficult to replace. You really don’t want to remove the upper portion of the cover unless it’s absolutely necessary (luckily the upper portion rarely, if ever, needs to be washed).
  • Comfort foam under bottom cover is glued to shell and therefore not removable for washing if it does happen to get saturated by urine or vomit. The spill-resistant cover passed my test with 1 oz of water but if your kid pees a river in this seat – I offer no guarantees. Lol!
  • Mesh cover is made from breathable Thermotex material which is great for hot weather but is also a mecca for crumbs that can be seen but not removed (at least not easily). Mesh fabrics also tend to snag very easily.
  • Made in China (to be fair, so are many other carseats and boosters).

 

Summary:

Overall, the Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro has a lot going for it and deserves to be on the short list for anyone searching for that elusive perfect booster.  It’s highly adjustable, comfortable and it does a great job positioning the seatbelt properly on the older kids that I tried in the seat.  If you’re able to take advantage of the Rigid LATCH feature that is certainly the icing on the cake. The 60″ stated height limit is probably unrealistic since it’s just not that tall at its max height setting. However, at 20.5″ to the bottom of the belt guide it’s tall enough to be competitive in the current highback booster market. Although it’s currently one of the more expensive dedicated boosters – the quality, construction and unique, innovative features definitely justify the price tag in my opinion.  The downsides all seem relatively minor unless you want a booster with really deep headwings, you’re OCD about crumbs or just hate mesh covers in general. We’ve been using this booster on a daily basis for the last few weeks and it’s working out nicely for us. Both the kiddo and I give it a solid two thumbs up!  :)

Thank you Kiddy for providing the Cruiserfix Pro used in this review!