Before I even began this blog post, I was intrigued by the name Olli so I had to Google it. What I learned is that the origin of the name is Finnish and it’s a short form of Olaf. Olaf is of Old Norse origin, and its meaning is “what remains of the ancestors”. Not sure what, if anything, that has to do with this product but I like the name Olli. It’s cute, memorable and easy to spell – which eliminates the need for yet another child restraint acronym. Plus, the Paul Frank Julius the Monkey designs are soooo cooool!
Basically, a backless booster is for older kids who rarely sleep in the vehicle and have outgrown a harnessed (5-point) child safety seat but don’t yet fit safely in the vehicle’s adult seatbelt. The only proper way to assess whether or not an older child still needs to use a booster is to have the child sit directly on the vehicle seat, buckle them up and then determine whether or not the child passes the 5-Step Test. If the child doesn’t pass all 5 steps (including the all-important 5th step) then the child still needs a booster to help the adult seatbelt fit properly. The “boost” is crucial because if the seatbelt doesn’t fit the child the way it’s designed to fit us adults then the child could actually be injured by the belts in a crash.
But the Clek Olli is way more than just a basic, backless booster with a quirky name. Olli is a well-designed, highly engineered product made by Magna which is a world-class automotive seat manufacturer. The first time you lay eyes on Olli it’s obvious that the people behind the product did their homework.
Most backless boosters consist of a sparse cover spread over a hard piece of plastic. While bare-bones booster seats will still do the job they’re designed to do – most are not exactly inviting to sit on for hours at a time. Granted, there are some kids who could sit on a rock all day long and never complain – but those kids sure don’t live in my house! I like to joke that both of my boys have “discerning bottoms”. If they’re not happy and comfortable in their seats – no one in the vehicle will be happy – guaranteed. LOL!
Besides being built like your vehicle seat which makes it super comfortable, the Olli has several other unique features. It’s one of the widest backless boosters on the market which makes it ideal for bigger/older kids who need more hip room. Even kids who are near the 120 lb weight limit will most likely have ample room in the Olli to be comfortable.
The rigid LATCH attachments and release mechanism are impressive. I’ve owned several seats with rigid-LATCH over the years but none are as easy to attach and detach as the ones on the Olli. Unless the lower LATCH anchors in your vehicle are deeply recessed into the seat bight, it really is easy enough for a child to do - as illustrated in the Clek installation video.
Securing the booster to the vehicle using the LATCH attachments increases its stability and makes it tip-proof. It also eliminates the need to buckle the booster when it’s unoccupied. This is a huge plus for me because I’m terrible at remembering to buckle the booster when my oldest isn’t riding with us. For those of you who may be new to the booster thing – it is recommended that booster seats be buckled when they aren’t occupied to keep them from becoming dangerous projectiles in a crash and hurting other occupants.
Each Olli comes with a cover that is removable and washable but you also have the option to purchase additional seat covers called clekjackets which are available in all the current Clek fabrics. So if have an Olli in a basic, no-nonsense color like blacktop or sandlot you can still jazz it up with a fun or funky clekjacket if you so desire. Cool bright solids in light green or blue, or big-kid prints like bubblegum or treehouse camo, leopard or zebra are sure to please older kids who are past the Disney Princess and Toy Story phase.
Overall, Olli is impressive. Even though I don’t think I’ve ever used that word to describe a backless booster before, Olli deserves it. For a more complete review of the Olli check out Heather’s thorough review here. And if it’s pics that you’re after, Ulrike has that covered pretty well here.
Currently Clek is working on a highback booster called “oobr”. We’re anxiously awaiting its arrival sometime this summer. You can bet we’ll have the scoop as soon as it’s shipping. Stay tuned for updates!