The tree has been put out for composting, the empty wine bottles stashed in the recycling bin, the lights on the house… well, they’ll probably stay up until April but that’s fine with me. The holidays are over, the kids are back in school and it’s time to get back to business here at carseatblog.com! For me, that means completing the review of the clek oobr that has been hanging out in my dining room for longer than I care to admit.
So, what exactly is an Oobr? It’s a dual mode (highback or backless) belt-positioning booster from Clek. It’s also currently a “Best Bet” pick according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
- Child Weight & Height Ratings: 33-100 lbs, 38″-57″ tall , at least 4 years old with back; 40-100 lbs, 40″-57″ tall, at least 4 years old when used backless
- Product Weight (according to my digital bathroom scale) is 20.4 lbs with the back and 10.0 lbs without the back. By comparison, the clek olli backless booster is only 5.4 lbs according to the same scale which makes the backless oobr almost twice the weight of the olli.
- Lowest Height Setting: 14″ to the opening for the shoulder belt guide (measured with back in the fully upright position)
- Tallest Height Setting: 20 1/2″ to the opening for the shoulder belt guide (measured the same way)
- Width: 11 1/2″ at narrowest point in the rear
- Depth: with back 13″, backless 15″ (you gain 2″ of depth when the back portion is removed)
- 7 year lifespan from date of manufacture
- Detachable “drink-thingy” (aka, the cupholder) can be placed on either side of the booster and is dishwasher-safe
What makes oobr so special?
True recline feature (but only when used with the back portion and attached to lower LATCH anchors in the vehicle)
Crypton® Super Fabrics are stain and spill-resistant
Magnesium back frame and steel headrest structure lined with energy-absorbing EPP foam
Unique layer of comfort foam helps to keep kids… well, comfortable!
Cute and funky fabrics that “speak” to older kids (and parents too!). Neutral covers also available if bright and colorful just aren’t your thing.
What advantages does oobr have over other high-end boosters?
While adding LATCH attachments to high-end boosters is currently all the rage, most other “Latchable” boosters currently on the market here in North America have flexible LATCH attachments. Rigid LATCH is a more secure attachment and may offer advantages in side-impact crashes. On the flip side, it does make the product heavier and more expensive.
Ability to recline a sleeping child safely (only when used as a highback booster and only if attached to lower LATCH anchors in your vehicle). While many highback boosters have so-called “recline positions”, that doesn’t mean what most consumers think it means. Almost all boosters with “recline” positions cannot actually be reclined for the comfort of a sleeping child. Parents tend to do this anyway because (usually) they didn’t read the instruction manual but this can be a very unsafe practice with dangerous consequences if the product isn’t intended to be used this way. The oobr was designed to allow you to safely recline a sleeping child (to a certain extent) if you follow the specific instructions in the manual.
Due to the unique recline feature – oobr might be your best booster option in rear seating positions with fixed, angled head restraints that are neither adjustable nor removable. Newer models of Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander, Wrangler and Dodge Avenger come to mind (there are probably others too – these are just the models I’ve encountered recently). To my knowledge, all vehicles with these types of problematic headrests in the rear seating positions are new enough to have LATCH in those positions so you should be able to take advantage of the recline on the oobr. Pics below of oobr installed in a 2008 Dodge Avenger. The lower LATCH anchors in this vehicle are situated above the bight and were considerably recessed. It took a few minutes to successfully get the rigid LATCH attachments onto the anchors bars (a plastic LATCH anchor guide would have helped) but it’s definitely doable with a little patience.
NOT made in China! Oobr is assembled in Mexico with 100% North American content (i.e., all of the components are made by North American suppliers, which breaks down roughly 35% Canadian, 55% USA and 10% Mexico).
No one else has Paul Frank fashions!
Disadvantages: Not major cons but I list them here to alert consumers to oobr-specific issues.
- Weight. This baby is heavy, even backless!
- Depth/leg support may be lacking for older, taller kids with long legs when used with the back. Removing the back adds about 2″ to the depth but then you lose all the side-impact protection (and sleep support) afforded by the back and headwings. You also lose the recline feature when you remove the back.
- The fabric cover on the back and headwings is not removable and can only be spot-cleaned. However, the fabric on the bottom cushion is removable and can be washed according to the care instructions on the fabric tag.
- The oobr is definitely not in every family’s budget and Paul Frank covers make this seat especially pricey. But Julius the Monkey doesn’t provide any additional crash protection so if you’re in love with the awesome features of this seat but are having a hard time justifying the expense – skip the monkey and the skulls and get a regular clek cover. Just don’t let your kids see the Paul Frank designs!
Overall, it appears that oobr does an excellent job of positioning the seatbelt properly on children who are appropriately old enough and big enough to use a belt-positioning booster. In other words, I didn’t bother trying any 3 year olds or kids under 40 lbs in this seat. I did test the belt fit in several different vehicles with my DS2 who is currently 6 years old, a little over 50 lbs and about 48″ tall. I also tried a thin 7 year old as well as a stocky 8 year old in the oobr and belt fit was very good in each case. Each of the kids also liked the seat and commented on how comfortable it was. I was pleasantly surprised by how tall oobr was. It offers more head support than the head restraints Ford put in this seating position!
Happy Noobr Year!!!
*More info regarding the oobr can be found on the Clek website here. The review sample shown in the photos was supplied by Clek, Inc. Beyond providing the retail sample, no money or other type of compensation was provided and no content was submitted for inclusion in this review.