I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’ve had this booster for a year.
I’ve taken so long to review it for a few reasons. Mainly, I’m going to blame the new baby but a big part of it was that I wasn’t ready to admit that my first baby, who is 6.5 and not even remotely a baby, was big enough for a booster. And over the course of this review I came to the conclusion that he really isn’t ready to ride in a booster yet (another story for another time), but at least in the year-long process of discovering that, we got a good feel for this unique and eye-catching booster seat.
The Peg Perego Viaggio Flex 120 booster first caught my attention when I saw how narrow it was. I have a very tricky 3-across situation and I was hopeful that it would fit because of its narrow size and the lack of armrests (it did!). Once I got my hands on it, I was impressed with the narrow footprint, but I was more taken by other qualities. This booster is portable and easy to use and the quality is nothing short of outstanding, as you would expect from Peg Perego.
Flex 120 Overview:
- For kids 40-120 pounds, 39-63″ tall
- 4D Total Adjust Technology- adjusts in 4 ways: headrest, upper backrest, side wings and the recline of the seat
- Rigid LATCH attachments which stow when not in use
- Comfort Recline- 5 different recline positions that are not dependent upon the vehicle backrest position
- 8 height positions, increasing by 1 inch per adjustment
- Easy folding with carrying handle – folds with one quick motion
- All Side Impact Protection- protects child’s head, neck, and spine
- Aluminum reinforced backrest
- 2 integrated cup holders that can stow completely into the base
- Energy-absorbing EPS foam in headrest and side wings
- Made in Italy
- MSRP $279 – $299
- Width: 14”
- Depth: 12”
- External width of headrest: 15.5”
- Width of side wings 17.5” – 20.5”
- Shoulder belt guide heights 14” – 22”
Flex 120 Fashions:
Fit to Child:
I have tried the Flex 120 in a variety of vehicles and seating positions and with a variety of kids. I’ve found that as a whole, it provides proper belt fit in all vehicles we tried, for all the kids we tried. There was no vehicle or seating position where the fit was notably better or worse, but on some kids, I did like the fit a bit better than on others.
My first model is my 6.5-year-old, Elijah, who is 46 inches and 44 pounds.
I found that the lap belt fit was great, but sometimes it seemed like the shoulder belt sat a tiny bit forward of his shoulder. I could never find a pattern for why sometimes it seemed that way and other times it didn’t, and it was never so far off that I was uncomfortable with it, but it was just enough that I noticed it occasionally. I suspect part of the issue is that Elijah is pretty slim across his chest and that if he were a little more robust there, it wouldn’t be an issue. I also found that if I dropped the belt guide/headrest down a click it was slightly better, but then if he grew even a tiny bit he’d have outgrown that position.
Since the Flex 120 booster covers a wide array of sizes and my other kids are too small, I had to borrow some kids to test out the belt fit.
Raegan is 6 and she is a peanut. At 43.5” and 37 pounds, she is technically a few pounds too light to ride in this seat (she still uses a 5-point harness seat in her car), but she had perfect belt fit with the Flex. Any concerns I had about the lap belt fit without armrests were put to bed pretty fast.
Next up is Peyton. She is 8 years old, 48 inches and 46 pounds. We extended the headrest a few clicks but not the torso piece at all. If you look closely you can kind of see that the shoulder belt is a little forward on her, but it did lay flat across her chest as the manual specified and I was comfortable with the fit in person. I didn’t need to extend the side wings as she had plenty of room in the most compact lateral position.
Finally, Nathan is 10, and like his siblings, is on the smaller side at 54 inches and 58 pounds. I did expand the side wings for him, but he would’ve fit fine if I hadn’t. In hindsight, I wish I had moved the torso part up one click for a slightly better fit, but he got a good belt fit with just the headrest at its fully extended position, with tons of room left to grow. (See, even CPSTs make these mistakes).
For fun, I plopped all 64 inches of myself down into the seat, since the seat boasts a 63 inch height limit. The shoulder belt guide was just barely below my shoulder. Notably, I am the human torso, so a 63″ kid who isn’t all torso would probably fit, but it would likely be very snug.
Fit to Vehicle:
The seat is very narrow in its narrowest settings and is awesome as a 3-across booster. It does get pretty wide as you expand it so it won’t work in its widest position in all cars/car seating situations, but it should fit just about anywhere in its narrowest settings. The nice thing about it is that the torso expansion is a separate option from the height adjustments, so unlike some booster seats that get automatically wider as you increase the height, this one can stay narrow as long as you like.
The recline and rigid LATCH are both very easy to use, smooth gliding and well labeled. To connect the lower anchor attachments you first pull a lever to extend them from the back of the seat. After you connect to the lower LATCH anchors in your vehicle, you pull the lever and push the Flex into the vehicle seat, which stows the rigid stalks of the connectors. When you do this last step, the release mechanism for the lower anchors is hidden by the frame of the seat, which prevents an adjacent passenger from accidentally (or intentionally, in the case of my 4-year-old) releasing them. If you don’t want to or can’t use the lower anchors, they stow completely and won’t impede positioning.
One of the things I like most about the Flex is the fold. You simply pull a loop on the back and it collapses fully, and then it’s easy and pretty comfortable to carry by the carry handle. It’s probably too heavy for younger riders to carry themselves, but it would be easily managed by most elementary aged kids. To unfold you just pull it apart until it clicks into place. Since this doesn’t convert into a backless booster, you don’t have to worry about the back falling off, as with some other boosters on the market.
The cover can be removed in 3 separate parts and all parts can be washed with cold water and air dried. It is an undertaking to remove and replace the cover on this seat and in case I haven’t mentioned it lately, this is my least favorite part of car seat reviewing. Maybe just encourage your kids not to puke or pee on this one, though the cover can be removed and cleaned with enough persistence.
The Flex is usable for 12(!) years from the date of manufacture.
The manual states to call Peg Perego customer service (having called them about different seats, I can tell you they are absolutely top-notch) in the event of a crash to determine if the seat needs to be replaced.
This seat is NOT certified for use on an airplane, because airplanes are only equipped with lap belts. No dedicated booster seats are FAA approved because all booster seats require a lap/shoulder seatbelt.
Flex 120 Advantages:
- Extremely narrow, but with the ability to widen and grow with a child
- Cupholders that stow completely away when not in use
- Rigid lower LATCH connectors
- Can be reclined for sleeping comfort
- Easy to fold and unfold
- Portable with carrying handle
- Aluminum frame
- Separate height and width adjustments
- High-quality Italian fabrics with vibrant, mature looking fashions
- Pricey for a booster
- Can be a little tricky to remove the rigid LATCH connectors the first few times you do it
- Does not convert to a backless booster
Since my oldest child is only 6, I don’t have a ton of personal experience with boosters yet. However, as a CPS Technician, I’ve worked with dozens of different booster seats over the years – enough to know a good one when I see it. And this is a good one. Despite the conspicuous lack of armrests, the belt fit was consistently good in all the vehicles and seating positions I tested. The fit on children of various sizes was also good and there was ample room for growth in all directions – all while still fitting the smallest passengers allowed by the limits.
Additionally, the Peg Perego Flex 120 Booster boasts an aluminum frame, premium Italian fabrics, energy-absorbing EPS foam and deep head wings which are great for sleeping and also for side-impact protection. The rigid lower LATCH connectors provide additional stability and safety. Plus, you don’t need to remember to buckle this booster seat when your child isn’t it – the rigid LATCH attachments keep the seat from becoming a projectile when unoccupied.
If you’re looking for an ultra-premium booster to fit in a tight spot, or if you simply desire a gorgeous, eye-catching seat that will make your backseat Instagram-worthy, look no further than the Peg Perego Flex 120. Viaggiare con stile!