2021 Graco RightGuide Belt Positioner Review
It’s hard to call the Graco RightGuide a booster seat because it hardly “boosts” a child up—the RightGuide is a really low profile seat. Let’s call it more of a belt positioner since it ensures proper seat belt placement on the bigger child it is designed for rather than boosting the child up. Graco calls it a “Portable Seat Belt Trainer,” though I don’t think an inanimate object such as a seat belt needs training. I digress. Let’s get to the subject at hand: the RightGuide.
RightGuide Weight, Height, and Age Limits
50-120 lbs.; 43-60”
At least 5 years old
Right away you can see this is a belt positioner for big kids. It’s designed for older, larger kids.
- Requires lap/shoulder belt and head support up to child’s eyes
- Very low profile
- Machine washable soft goods
- Comes with discreet carrying bag
- 10 year expiration
- MSRP $39.99
Seat depth: about 12 inches
Seating width: 10” at narrowest (vehicle seat bight), 12” at child’s knees
Seat weight: 2 lbs.
This is where we usually talk about all the different fashions, but the RightGuide is available in only one: black. It would be great if it came in multiple colors to match vehicle seats like the Safety 1st Incognito did, but honestly, when your kid sits on the RightGuide, it’s small enough that it’s mostly hidden. And as a belt positioner that can be used in different vehicles as a child carpools with friends, black is a pretty sophisticated color.
The RightGuide is narrow, which makes it awesome for when you need to fit 3-across in your tiny car. The red belt guides move up and down depending on how the seat belt fits.
However, in some vehicles, the latchplate/buckle will sit right into the belt guides, which is a no-no. One thing you can try is to move the RightGuide over a bit and see if that eliminates the entanglement. The next thing you can do is try a different seating position (I have a vehicle that has 3 different buckle stalk lengths in the 2nd row!). You can always try contacting Graco to see if they are OK with your situation too.
Fit to Child
The IIHS hasn’t rated the RightGuide because it’s a belt positioner as opposed to a booster seat that raised a child up so the belt fits.
Here’s a ton of pics! Our models are:
Anna, who is 12, 55″ tall, and wears a size 12 shirt.
Oliver, who is 9, 54″ tall, 60 lbs., and wears a size 8 shirt.
You can see in Oliver’s pics how even an older kid who well meets the minimum requirements of the seat can have trouble sitting in the seat. He slouches down to bend his knees at the edge of the vehicle seats where it’s comfortable. Anna has slightly longer thighs, which makes a difference in how she sits.
Also, notice how slender kids can have the shoulder belt hover in front of them in some vehicles. The built-in shoulder belt positioner (see Oliver’s pic with the empty booster on the opposite seat) really helps with that.
So When Can My Child Stop Using the RightGuide and Use Only the Seat Belt?
Your kid can stop using the RightGuide, or any booster seat, when they fit the seat belt (or when they reach the max limits of the booster seat). This is when they are adult-sized, because seat belts are designed to fit adults. They will pass the 5-Step Test when this happens:
- Does the child sit all the way back on the vehicle seat?
- Are knees bent comfortably at the edge of the vehicle seat?
- Does seat belt cross the shoulder properly? (It should be centered over the collar bone.)
- Is the lap portion of the seat belt low—touching the thighs?
- Can the child stay seated this way for the entire ride, every ride (awake AND asleep)?
BONUS STEP—Feet planted firmly on the floor
RightGuide Comparison to Other Backless Belt-Positioning Boosters
Inevitably, you’re going to want to know how the Graco RightGuide compares to other backless boosters. Well, a picture is worth a 1000 words, as they say.
We also have a comparison of backless boosters under $25 and they’re all fairly narrow boosters. They don’t have the advantage of being low profile like the RightGuide, however.
RightGuide Ease of Use
The RightGuide is super easy to use. Pull it out of the carry bag, flip the red lap belt guides up, and go. If the shoulder belt guide is needed, pull it out of the storage area on the bottom of the seat and attach it to the shoulder belt.
The cover removes very easily by pulling it out from the channel it’s tucked into to make it snug and nice-looking. It’s machine-washable in a delicate cycle and drip dry and the instructions are right there on the tag if you lose your manual.
Putting the cover back on isn’t as easy as taking it off if you don’t have a blunt tool, like a flat-head screwdriver or butter knife to help you. I tried using just my fingers and nearly threw the cute little belt positioner across the room in frustration. Once I had my screwdriver, the cover was on in under 2 minutes. (OMG—I just saw the face in the seat! Do you see it? Am I the only one who sees faces in things? The Graco engineers surely did this on purpose 🤣!)
Like other belt-positioning boosters, the RightGuide is not approved for use on airplanes because it requires a shoulder belt. However, it’s so easily portable that it’s a great option for packing and carrying onto the plane for use at your destination.
The RightGuide’s lifespan is 10 years from the date of manufacture, and it must be replaced after any crash.
- Portable for travel–can easily fit in a backpack, a locker, under an airplane seat, in an overhead bin, etc.
- Fits easily in tight spaces
- Belt guides very easy to use
- Inexpensive, making it a great backup/emergency/travel seat
(In all fairness, these aren’t necessarily problems but I list them here to inform consumers of potential issues.)
- Latchplate and buckle may run right into the belt guide in some vehicles. Try moving the positioner over a bit to see if that helps.
What’s not to like about the Graco RightGuide? It’s small, easily portable in its own carry-bag, and helps position the seat belt on your kid properly so they’re safe in the car. The RightGuide’s 10 year lifespan means it can be used for multiple siblings, making it a great buy for families.
Where to Find the Graco RightGuide
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