Choices. Life throws a ton of them at us every single day. Some are easy like what to have in your coffee and others, especially when they’re related to our kids, can be very stressful and cause you to lose sleep.
Before The Kids were born, I spent a lot of time researching cribs, a stroller and car seats. For me, these were the ones with the biggest price tag and the most important to the overall happiness and safety of our family. I was very pleased with the purchases I made so when it came time for us to move The Kids to car boosters*, I thought that I’d share my list of considerations with you as to why we once again chose a Diono product, the…
1. High Back Booster.
We do a lot of driving and often for extended periods of time. When we drive to Mexico, we cover 5,000km in only four days. That means six hours of driving at a time without a break and no stopping at night until 10 or 11pm. The Kids have to be able to sleep and without the high back boosters, they would be “falling out of” the shoulder seat belt strap. Not safe and not at all comfortable. Speaking of which,
The one complaint that The Kids had with their car seat was that they were strapped to the back of the seat with no ability to move forward or side to side. This is of course by design (for safety) and wasn’t a problem when The Kids were young but at 7.5 years old, there were things that they wanted to see and do. Now, they are able to adjust themselves while still having the benefits of a high back and have even commented on how soft the cushioning is. Having the seat strap adjuster and dual cup holders also add to the total car ride comfort experience.
The The Diono Monterey XT High Back Booster has extra-deep side walls that are reinforced with aluminum and lined with EPS foam for superior side impact protection. While I know that other boosters meet the requirements of Transport Canada for Child car seat safety, I feel better having these safety features in my kids boosters.
The great thing about this high back booster is that it doesn’t have to be a high back booster. Confused? It’s so easy to remove the high back portion and use it as a backless booster that even your kids can do it. Perfect for a smaller car or if you need to move the boosters regularly. While the boosters are lighter than The Kids carseats, I wouldn’t call them light.
The Kids are going to change a lot over the next few years and this booster seat will accommodate them. A simple-to-use dial on the back adjusts the width of the seat to fit a child’s shoulders up to 50.8 cm (20″) wide. The 11-position headrest gives ultimate flexibility and adjusts up to 16.5 cm (6.5″) in height with one hand for an easy, precise fit.
6. Grows with Your Child.
The Diono Monterey XT High Back Booster is a full-featured, expandable high-back booster seat designed to fit growing children 18 to 54 kg (40 lb to 120 lb). The long seat bottom provides extra leg support. As mentioned in item #5, the booster also adjusts to your childs height and width.
7. UAS Connector.
As a fixed-position booster, integrated UAS connectors and front adjusters allow for a safe and secure installation. While not required by Canadian law, this was a huge advantage for me. The one drawback was that it took a few minutes and two adults to attach when the highback was installed (it was quick and easy when it was backless).
We spend a fair amount of time in our vehicles and often eat a snack or even a few meals a day (!) in them. Since they get so much use, I wanted to make sure that the fabric held up to wear and tear as well as cleaning. The Kids can easily remove the cover and I just throw it in the wash and hang to dry. When it needs it, we take a hose to the bare seat and it dries quickly. The booster comes in four colours with black bottoms (that hide dirt well); teal, purple, red and our choice heather.
Since we had triplets, we needed to find a car seat that would fit three across the back of our van (or buy another car!?) and Diono’s car seats fit the bill. This time around, we only needed two boosters to fit, however, we often drive another adult in our car so there had to be enough room for me to sit in the back. Fortunately, I can fit my hips and shoulders in between the two car seats, buckle my seat belt and not feel claustrophobic.
When I was researching our car seats, I realized that factors out of my control such as weight and height as well as useful dates and durability all had an impact on how long a car seat would last a child. I knew several people who were on their third car seat and their child wasn’t even four years old! I chose to avoid the hassle and cost as well as gain so much more by purchasing a Diono product. And so, when it came time to buy another car seat product, I turned to Diono again. I am confident that The Kids will have these car boosters until they no longer require them.
I could go on, and on and on. I didn’t mention the angled seat bottom to prevent submarining, that it packs flat for travel and storage, comes with a 1 year warranty and I only touched on the cup/snack holders which are retractable and by far The Kids favourite part of the whole experience. The fact that they want to drive in the van because it has their new booster seats in it is also a big plus.
When I bought my Diono car seat, people told me that they wanted to buy it and loved the features but didn’t because of the price. I understand that the Diono car seats/boosters may be priced higher than some of their competitors, however, based on all the time and hassle that they had to go through and all the safety and other features it comes with, it was money well spent and a choice that I would make again.
It should also be said that over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to review products from many companies, including ones that produce car seat/boosters. Prior to The Kids “expiring out” of their car seats, I was offered another companies car booster, I declined. I was holding out. Hoping to get an opportunity to work with Diono and if not, I was going to purchase their car boosters. You can see how things worked out. They say that patience is a virtue.
I hope that you too will do your research before purchasing your childs car booster and be sure to check out all the products that Diono has to offer.
What Features Do You Consider When Buying a Car Booster?
— Journeys of The Zoo (@zoojourneys) July 6, 2017
P.S. Yes, I am this giddy about this company and their products.
P.P.S. I have contacted Diono to see if they have a car seat recycling program. What did you do with your old car seat?
* Our Diono Sunshine Kids Radian car seats had a “useful life” of eight years.
** Max has been growing out his hair since late last year. Only a few more inches to go and he will donate it to “Locks of Love” or another organization for people in need. Please send me an email if you know of a company in need.
Disclosure: Journeys of The Zoo received a copy of this product(s) that enabled us to complete this review.