Reviews Archive

Turbo, Take Me Away: Review of the Graco TurboBooster TakeAlong Booster Seat

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Once upon a time, traveling with child restraints was a bulky, heavy, complicated endeavor. In recent years, more lightweight travel options have appeared, especially in the realm of booster seats. The downside to some of these options is that while they’re highly portable, they tend to lack the structure and support kids are used to. Enter the new Graco TurboBooster TakeAlong, which might be the perfect marriage of portability and convention.

TurboBooster TakeAlong Specifications

  • Weight range: 40-100 lbs. (highback and backless)
  • Height range: 43-57 inches (highback and backless)
  • Age range: 4 years and older (highback and backless)
  • Lowest belt guide: 14″
  • Tallest belt guide: 19.25″
  • Measurements
    • Base, widest point without cup holders: 15.5″
    • Base, widest point with cup holders: 18.5″
    • Width of base at back of seat: 15.5″
    • Width at torso wings: 17.5″
    • Seat depth: 14″
    • Internal width at armrests: 11.5″

TurboBooster TakeAlong Features

  • Available in highback (converts to backless) or backless-only models
  • FastAction fold strap for easy disassembly
  • Six headrest/belt guide positions (highback use)
  • Two retractable cup holders
  • EPS foam in head portion
  • Detachable belt guide (backless use)
  • Carry bag for backless portion

  

Portability

Before we look at how the TurboBooster TakeAlong fits with cars and kids, let’s take a look at what makes this seat unique: It’s folding and portability.

Essentials by Britax Skyline Highback Belt-Positioning Booster

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2018 Essentials by Britax Skyline Highback Belt-Positioning Booster Review

In an effort to make more affordable and accessible products, earlier this year Britax introduced its Essentials by Britax line of carseats. The belt-positioning booster for this line is called the Skyline and is based on the Britax Highpoint booster seat, but with fewer features and a smaller price tag to show for it. A review on the Britax Highpoint can be found here, and here’s a top-down pic to show the basic differences between the two seats (Skyline is black, Highpoint is blue).

Weight and Height Limits

40-120 lbs.; 38-63”

Skyline Overview
  • 10 position headrest
  • Can be installed with lower LATCH connectors
  • Lined with EPP foam
  • Two removable, dishwasher-safe cup holders
  • MSRP $99
Measurements

Belt guide heights: 15 ¾”-23”
Inside shoulder width: 14”
Inside hip width: 11 ½”
Seat depth: 14”
External widest point: 19 ¼”
Seat weight: 12.1 lbs.

For more measurements, see our comparison database.

 

There are 2 fashions available, Dusk and Teal. Since this is Britax’s more affordable line, you’ll be able to find these boosters at stores like Target and Wal-Mart, and at local Brixy retailers as well.

The only assembly required for the Skyline is adding the cup holders, if desired. The booster comes out of the box in once piece and cannot be used backless, so there is no putting the back onto the bottom piece. The bonus to this is that it stays together when you carry it!

Fit to Child

Seat belt fit is very good; lap belt fit is aided by thick armrests that push the lap belt forward onto the thighs. Shoulder belt fit is adjusted by squeezing a handle on the back of the headrest and lifting up or pushing down. The Skyline is one of the tallest on the market, so it will be a good option for kids with tall torsos. Be sure to adjust the headrest so that the shoulder belt guides are above your child’s shoulders and his ears are inside the headrest. The label just above the shoulder belt guide helps you with placement. My model liked the Skyline and found it comfy. S is 5.5 years old, 40 lbs., and 44″ tall.

  

Fit to Vehicle

Check your vehicle owner’s manual to see if you can install the booster using the lower LATCH connectors. This is an optional feature that keeps the booster in place when the child is not in the seat; otherwise, the child should buckle the booster in when getting out of it so it doesn’t become a projectile in a crash.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Permitted only in designated LATCH positions

Inflatable Seat Belts:

Not allowed

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use

Essentials by Britax suggests hand washing the cover and hanging it to dry. It is fairly easy to remove and has a couple of elastics.

FAA/Lifespan/Crash

Because belt-positioning booster seats require the use of lap/shoulder belts, the Skyline cannot be used on an airplane.

The Skyline has a lifespan of 10 years. Britax follows NHTSA crash guidelines for replacement after a crash.

Advantages
  • 10 position headrest
  • Can be installed with lower LATCH connectors
  • Lined with EPP foam
  • Two removable, dishwasher-safe cup holders
  • Less expensive than the similar Britax Highpoint
  • Narrower by about 1.5″ than the Britax Highpoint because it lacks the side impact cushions at the shoulders
Disadvantages
  • Made in China
  • Does not convert to backless booster

Despite not converting to a backless booster, the Skyline scores as one of the tallest highback boosters on the market. It is less expensive than the Highpoint, but it also lacks the SecureGuard lap belt clip that helps some kids stay in position when transitioning from a harnessed seat. Not having the side impact cushions on the outside of the shoulder area means that it’s narrower than the Britax Highpoint, but the downside is the loss of a safety feature. When comparing boosters, though, it’s definitely worth consideration.

The Skyline sample used in this review was provided by Essentials by Britax. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

This post and others at CarseatBlog contain affiliate links. Please read About CarseatBlog for our affiliate policy and see our Marketing Disclosure.

 

 

Britax Highpoint Highback Belt-Positioning Booster Review: The Next Generation

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2018 Britax Highback Highpoint Belt-Positioning Booster Review

Comfy fabric and smart features mark the redesign of Britax’s popular Parkway SGL booster. The new Highpoint has new fabrics and better cup holders, but does not convert to a backless booster. The LATCH attachment design is also different, with the tensioning adjuster strap on the left side only. In a new twist, Britax has also introduced a new line of seats under the Essentials by Britax name. The Essentials by Britax Skyline highback booster is similar to the Highpoint booster being reviewed here, but has fewer features and fashions available. Our review on that seat can be found here, but here’s a top-down pic to show the basic differences between the two seats.

Weight and Height Limits

40-120 lbs.; 38-63”

Highpoint Overview
  • 10 position headrest
  • Can be installed with lower LATCH connectors
  • Lined with EPP foam
  • External side impact cushions
  • Adjustable SecureGuard™ Belt Positioning Clip helps position lap belt properly
  • Two removable, dishwasher-safe cup holders
  • MSRP $149
Measurements

Belt guide heights: 15 ¾”-23”
Inside shoulder width: 14”
Inside hip width: 11 ½”
Seat depth: 14”
External widest point: 20 ¾”
Seat weight: 12.1 lbs.

For more measurements, see our comparison database.

     

There are 2 fashions generally available, Asher (gray) and Seaglass (blue), while Mulberry (purple) is an Amazon exclusive. The Nanotex fashion (black with gray) is available only at Brixy local retailers. The Cool Flow fashions, Teal and Grey, will be available soon; Teal is a BuyBuyBaby exclusive. Cool Flow is a mesh fabric designed to improve air flow and be cooler than standard fabrics.

The only assembly required for the Highpoint is adding the cup holders, if desired. The booster comes out of the box in once piece and cannot be used backless, so there is no putting the back onto the bottom piece. The bonus to this is that it stays together when you carry it!

Fit to Child

Seat belt fit is very good; lap belt fit is aided by thick armrests that push the lap belt forward onto the thighs. Shoulder belt fit is adjusted by squeezing a handle on the back of the headrest and lifting up or pushing down. The Highpoint is one of the tallest on the market, so it will be a good option for kids with tall torsos. Be sure to adjust the headrest so that the shoulder belt guides are above your child’s shoulders and his ears are inside the headrest. The label just above the shoulder belt guide helps you with placement. My model liked the Highpoint and found it comfy. Just for kicks, I’m throwing in a pic to show why he needs a booster for a very long time! S is 5.5 years old, 40 lbs., and 44″ tall.

   

Fit to Vehicle

Check your vehicle owner’s manual to see if you can install the booster using the lower LATCH connectors. This is an optional feature that keeps the booster in place when the child is not in the seat; otherwise, the child should buckle the booster in when getting out of it so it doesn’t become a projectile in a crash.

Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:

Permitted only in designated LATCH positions

Inflatable Seat Belts:

Not allowed

Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use

Britax suggests hand washing the cover and hanging it to dry. It is fairly easy to remove and has a couple of elastics.

FAA/Lifespan/Crash

Because belt-positioning booster seats require the use of lap/shoulder belts, the Highpoint cannot be used on an airplane.

The Highpoint has a lifespan of 10 years. Britax follows NHTSA crash guidelines for replacement after a crash.

Advantages
  • 10 position headrest
  • Can be installed with lower LATCH connectors
  • Lined with EPP foam
  • External side impact cushions
  • Adjustable SecureGuard™ Belt Positioning Clip helps position lap belt properly
  • Two removable, dishwasher-safe cup holders
Disadvantages
  • Made in China
  • Does not convert to backless booster

Despite not converting to a backless booster, the Highpoint scores as one of the tallest highback boosters on the market. It does a good job of positioning both the shoulder and lap belts on my model and the optional unique SecureGuard™ belt clip helps keep the lap belt low on kids who need that extra bit of help. The cover is comfy and colors are contemporary and ageless.

The Britax Highpoint sample used in this update was provided by Britax. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

This post and others at CarseatBlog contain affiliate links. Please read About CarseatBlog for our affiliate policy and see our Marketing Disclosure.

 

 

2018 Essentials by Britax Emblem Review

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2018 Essentials by Britax Emblem Convertible Carseat: Bye-Bye Britax Boulevard G4.1!

Britax has always been a premium carseat brand with luxe padding, push-on LATCH connectors, innovative safety features, and more. Late last year, Britax retired their G4.1 line of convertible carseats and focused solely on their ClickTight convertibles. Rather than abandon a solid platform altogether, they shifted it over to a new company: Essentials by Britax, a line of more affordable and accessible carseats for parents and caregivers who want the Britax ease-of-use and safety features without the top-of-the-line Britax price tag. The Britax Marathon G4.1 and Boulevard G4.1 are now the Essentials by Britax Allegiance and Emblem. The changes between the Britax and the Essentials by Britax seats are minor, but just enough to justify the price drop. We focus on the Emblem in this review.

Allegiance Emblem
5-40 lbs. RF 5-40 lbs. RF
20-65 lbs. FF 20-65 lbs. FF
10 no re-thread harness positions 10 no re-thread harness positions with EPP headwings
9"-17" harness height (6 ½” bottom slots with infant cushion) 9"-17" harness height (6 ½” bottom slots with infant cushion)
49" standing height 49" standing height
40 lbs. RF | 50 lbs. FF LATCH weight limit 40 lbs. RF | 50 lbs. FF LATCH weight limit
7 year lifespan 7 year lifespan
$199 $239