The Chicco trifecta is now complete with the addition of the KidFit booster! We have always loved the KeyFit infant seat, we adore the NextFit convertible and now we have the KidFit booster to complete the series.
The Chicco KidFit Booster is a dual mode product which means that it can be used as a highback booster until the back portion is outgrown and then you can continue to use the bottom portion as a backless booster until your child can pass the 5-Step Test and safely transition to using the adult seatbelt. There is also a KidFit Zip version that has easy to remove zip-off panels for easier cleaning.
KidFit Specs & Features
- Highback: 30-100 lbs.; 38-57” tall; at least 4 years old and can sit relatively still and properly in a seatbelt at all times
- Backless: 40-110 lbs. and all other requirements listed for highback mode
- 10 height positions
- Lower LATCH anchor attachments
- 2-position backrest to match vehicle seat position/contour
- Headrest fully lined with thick EPS foam
- Dual cupholders made of flexible rubber material
- Unique shoulder belt guide design
- 8 year lifespan before expiration
Lower LATCH anchor connectors – premium push-on LATCH connectors attach quickly and easily and you tighten both sides of the strap simultaneously by pulling on the central adjuster strap at the front of the base. They refer to this feature as “SuperCinch” but it does NOT have the force-multiplying system found on the NextFit convertible. In this case “SuperCinch” is purely a marketing term being used to describe Chicco’s patented center-pull LATCH adjustment.
Using the lower LATCH connectors is optional. If you’re not LATCHing the KidFit, pull the strap to retract the connectors as much as possible so they don’t get in the way.
Shoulder Belt Guide – the opening to place the shoulder belt into the guide is situated at the top, so the belt won’t slip out of the guide unintentionally as your child is trying to buckle. It’s the little things like this that you really appreciate, especially if you’ve ever had a booster where the seatbelt constantly came out of the guide.
Cupholders – the flexible rubber sides can be pushed in if you need the space more than your child needs the cupholder. This is such a great feature if you need to place another carseat or booster next to the KidFit! And they are easily removeable so you can toss them in the dishwasher! This is a major bonus – if you’ve ever had a carseat or booster with cupholders you know what nasty little germ pots they quickly turn into!
- 10 height positions: lowest 13.5″; tallest 19.5″ (measured to bottom of shoulder belt guide)
- Depth of seating area: 15″
- Width of seating area: 11″ wide at back; 12″ wide near the cupholders
Always adjust the height of the booster so the shoulder belt guide is positioned at or slightly above the child’s shoulders. Once your child’s shoulders are above the shoulder belt guide in the top height setting – the back has been outgrown and you should remove it and use just the bottom portion. The KidFit isn’t the tallest booster so it might not be the best choice if you have a very tall or long-torsoed child who needs to use a highback booster for a long time.
I found excellent belt fit on all of my models in both highback and backless mode. In each case the lap belt was low – touching the tops of the thighs. In highback mode, the shoulder belt crossed the center of the child’s shoulder when the headrest was in the correct height setting. For older, taller kids (who are too tall to use the back), the shoulder belt also fit perfectly.
7 years old, 50″ tall, 56 lbs.
8.5 years old, 53″ tall, 50 lb.
The KidFit does come with a shoulder belt positioning strap/clip that can be used if necessary when using the seat in backless mode. The strap/clip is neatly stored on the underside of the base. In my experience you will rarely, if ever, need to use this strap because most kids are tall enough not to need it by the time they transition to backless mode. Still, it’s nice to have – just in case.
The KidFit booster is not particularly wide or narrow. The LATCH connectors are easy to attach and tighten so the seat doesn’t move around when your child is getting in and out. Chicco requires standard LATCH spacing with this booster so using the KidFit in the center seating position of most vehicles will mean not being able to take advantage of this feature – unless you are lucky enough to have a dedicated set of lower anchors for the center position. Fortunately, LATCHing the booster is optional so you can still use it even if you can’t take advantage of this feature. The shoulder belt guide is wide open and ideally situated where it should work well with the belt geometry in many different vehicles and seating positions.
Interference with the vehicle head restraint – no gap allowed.
Check that the head restraint of the vehicle seat does not interfere with the Headrest of the Booster. If the vehicle head restraint pushes the Booster Headrest forward, raise or remove the vehicle head restraint, if possible. If it is not possible to move the vehicle head restraint out of the way, try a different seating position or use the booster in the Backless mode. Ensure the child is the proper size to use the Backless Booster.
I want to mention that Chicco states in the KidFit manual that if the booster is being used in highback mode, secured with the LATCH connectors and unoccupied – that they still recommend that you buckle the seatbelt over the booster [when no child is sitting in it] to keep the back of the booster from rotating forward in a crash. The back portion won’t break off and become a projectile but it will move forward if the shoulder belt isn’t buckled across it to prevent that. If you’re using it in backless mode then the lower LATCH connectors will be enough to keep it in place when unoccupied. I know that most of us parents with kids in boosters would rather not have to worry about remembering to do that. We just want to set it and forget it. However, I would imagine that this potential movement of the back portion when unoccupied in a crash would happen with any 2-piece (dual mode) dedicated booster that had lower anchor attachments but no tether strap.
Cover & Comfort
The cover is well padded and the fabric is neatly tucked into the shell which gives the KidFit a very polished appearance. There is an additional piece of comfort foam that is secured in a pocket underneath the bottom cover. Tuck the extra flap attached to the bottom pad under the cover when using the seat without the back. The cover is somewhat difficult to remove and replace. Actually, getting the bottom portion of the cover off and reattached is easy. The back portion is more difficult but that part of the cover rarely needs to be removed for washing so that isn’t a big disadvantage. The cover can be machine washed in cold water on delicate cycle using mild detergent or hand washed using mild soap and water.
- Proper belt fit on children of different ages and sizes
- Relatively easy for older kids to buckle themselves in
- Easy-to-use lower LATCH anchor attachments keep the booster stable as your child gets in and out
- Converts to backless booster when back is outgrown
- Premium fabrics with extra padding for comfort
- Thick energy-absorbing EPS foam in the headwings
- Two recline positions for better fit to vehicle
- Shoulder belt guide design makes it difficult for seatbelt to slip out of guide unintentionally
- Doesn’t require support from a vehicle head restraint
- Cover is machine washable
- Cupholders are removable and dishwasher safe
- Smooth bottom base won’t damage vehicle upholstery
- Instruction manual is clear and very well-written
(In fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform potential consumers of specific KidFit issues)
- Not as tall as other highback boosters currently on the market
- Can’t use LATCH attachments in center seating positions with non-standard LATCH spacing
- When unoccupied it is recommended to still secure booster with seatbelt (even if LATCHed) when used in highback mode
- May not be compatible with vehicles that have head restraints that cannot be adjusted or removed
- Minor assembly required
- Made in China
The Chicco KidFit Booster is a welcome addition to the current booster market. It’s sturdy, well-made, comfortable, easy to use correctly and has great features. It also won’t break the bank – or your budget – with a $99 price tag. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not as tall in highback mode as some of the competition but it’s tall enough to be competitive and it does turn into a backless booster once your child outgrows the back portion. While all carseats and boosters have specific advantages and disadvantages, overall the Chicco KidFit is a keeper and I have no reservations about recommending it!
Thank you to Chicco USA for providing the KidFit sample used in this review. No other compensation was provided and the opinions and comments are entirely those of CarseatBlog.
For more info please see the Chicco webpage: http://www.chiccoshop.com/KidFit/KidFit.html