Thursday, July 6, 2017

10 Things to Consider When Buying a Car Booster for Your Child

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL Logo

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…

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL-600

Diono Monterey XT High Back Booster

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,

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL Highback

Max’s hair is almost long enough to donate**

2. Comfort.
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.

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL Cupholder

3. Safety.
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.

Diono-Transport Canada Safety

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL Safety-600

4. Two-in-one.
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.

5. Adjustability.
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.

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL Adjustability

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL Adjustability 2

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).

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL USB Connector

8. Durability.
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.

9. Compact.
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.

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL Compact-600

10. Longevity.
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.

Child Car Booster Diono Monterey XL Longevity

Don’t they look happy! No more “when are we going to be there Mom”.

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?

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.

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Disclosure: Journeys of The Zoo received a copy of this product(s) that enabled us to complete this review.

22 thoughts on “10 Things to Consider When Buying a Car Booster for Your Child

  1. Christy Maurer

    I know that the price might be a drawback for some people, but when you add up how many car seats and booster seats some people need to buy, it really isn’t a drawback after all. I love how comfortable this seat looks not to mention how safe it is. When companies go above and beyond what is required of them, it really makes them standout to me. It will be great when Max can donate his hair. I’ll look around for other organizations that may take the donations as well.
    Christy Maurer recently posted…Road Trip Musts for Traveling with KidsMy Profile

  2. Mommy Outside

    Can I tell you how glad I am that we are finally in booster seat stage? I certainly didn’t rush the move from a car seat but at 52 pounds and slightly above average height Molly was ready. Our seats also are high back but can convert into just a seat which is really handy if we are travelling and end up in a smaller car somewhere. A good seat is absolutely worth paying a little more for.

  3. Jason

    These look like very durable, comfortable & safe car seats. I love the fact that they grow with your child and that it looks like a comfy place for a nap since kids NEVER look comfortable when they nap in the car. Great post 🙂

  4. Debbie S.

    These sound like fantastic car boosters. I just bought a used car seat for now for my granddaughter. I will definitely be checking these out as her safety is most important. Thanks for sharing about these car seats.

  5. Aneta

    Thanks for all of these. As a mom of four we have been through so, so (SOOOOO) many seats in the past few years that I don’t even want to tally up the $$$. Our youngest loves the Radian and I love that it help everyone fit into the car. Will look into the Monterey when they grow more.

  6. GYM

    Good tips to consider when looking at a booster seat! We won’t be thinking about getting these for a while yet but I’m sure time flies 🙂

  7. Jennifer

    Great tips! As a working mom I’m always on the go running around with the kids on the back seat of the car so we should make it a priority to have a quality car seat or booster seat! believe me when I say I get the importance of the article because these are part of the reasons why I created my website; to help moms visit my beautiful Ottawa hassle free and keeping their little ones safe!!

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Jen,

      In Canada, car seats have what I thought was an “expiration date”. In the case of our Diono Car Seats, that was 8 years (from manufacture) so that’s why I was in the market for new (Diono) products. However, it turns out that Transport Canada also uses the term “useful date” (interchangeably). I didn’t know about these two dates/terms until I was doing research for this article. Learn something new every day.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. Happy to hear that you saved yourself a “new” car purchase. Great minds think alike 🙂

      Besos Sarah.
      Sarah recently posted…This is What Happens at a Paw Patrol Show in Mexico #travelMy Profile

  8. Sophei @ Basic Finance Care

    Really considerable points you have mentioned here. I want to say simply, best seat is that one that’s apt with our kid’s size, can correctly placed, must fit well in our carriage, and is used properly every time when we drive.

  9. Elfriede @ All Out Finance

    Me also recommending highly the Diono product! I bought a booster seat for my three year old. I liked it’s head and side supports features. Without flopping down his head it made the long drive more comfortable. It is a very stable car seat that is well secured to the car and hold the kid well in place while keep him comfortable.

  10. Stephanie ReadsWell

    I am very watchful at the safety of my kids, especially when we are travelling in a car. This car booster looks extremely useful, full of safety measures, and comfort. I’ll definitely look for diono product next time.

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Norah,

      In Canada, law requires that all children under the age of 4 be in certified car seats. A booster car seat would not meet the legal requirements. However, Diono also makes a car seat which was rated to last for the entire time my kids needed it (7.5 years, I got my moneys worth!). I have and continue to recommend it 100%.

      Congratulations to your sister and all the best with your selection.

      Besos Sarah.
      Sarah recently posted…Everything You Need to Know About Organic Kids’ Clothing #IAmCanadianMy Profile


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