Product Type: Graco child car seats
Newest Review: ... usual seatbelt. The booster seat is backless, and identical to the base of the Graco Junior Maxi car seat, with which it shares the sa... more
The Graco Turbobooster - a product that isn't as exotic as it sounds!
Graco Backless Turbobooster
Member Name: azana
Graco Backless Turbobooster
Date: 20/12/10, updated on 21/12/10 (109 review reads)
Advantages: cheap seat
Disadvantages: no back, or possibility of adding one
Normally when thinking of buying a car seat (and a quick count has lead me to the horrifying conclusion that 7 years, and 2 children has meant 7 seats so far), I would tend to research it thoroughly, on sites like this one and via "Which"reports, I think it's really important to get the correct seat. My purchasing of this seat was rather different though - in actual fact it was bought when one of my children got rather violently ill during a car journey- I'll spare you the details - conveniently very near to Halfords, which is where I bought this seat seeing as their usual one was rendered temporarily unusable so that I could get them home safely. The booster was around the £20 mark and purchased in about 2 minutes flat - holding one vomit covered child certainly speeds up the decision and purchasing process....
Installation of this seat is pretty well straight forward and involves little more than plonking the seat on your car seat and attaching your child (aged 4 and up) with your usual seatbelt. The booster seat is backless, and identical to the base of the Graco Junior Maxi car seat, with which it shares the same manual. You can't, however, buy the base and then opt to buy the back to add on later, but the footprint and construction is the same, design wise this means that there is a rather strange unusable hinge section on this booster at the rear of the seat, which measures in at 41cm by 41cm.
There are two cupholders, one each side, to the turbobooster, which can be pulled out and pushed in and which, in my experience tend to be an invitation to children to spill drinks everywhere than a very necessary feature in all honesty. There's a removable, washable cover - ours is pink, but this booster also now seems to be available in red and dark blue as well as the lighter blue pictured above. There's nothing much to the seat really - very little padding at all. The fabric which covers the booster is not particularly pleasant to touch, being synthetic and textured, but it's hard-wearing enough and hasn't faded so far in over 2 years' use. The whole thing is in one solid piece - as a seat it's pretty light, weighing in at 2kg, and easy to transport between cars and easily stowable. The plastic it is made of is very solid indeed.
In theory you can adjust the arm rests for your child's comfort, but as this involves using a screwdriver it's not really something I've done, but it's good to have that possibility for when my children get bigger. According to the manual (link at bottom, page 32) you can use the "seat belt adjuster" (not pictured above) to help position the seat belt, the adjuster is just a length of fabric on a belt that attaches to the seat base - in reality in my experience this doesn't really work though and the adjuster just really serves as a way of making sure the seat doesn't fly about in the event of sharp braking with no child in the seat. Speaking of children being in the seat - though not the most comfortable of seats, my children have always been happy to sit in this one, perhaps helped by the fact that theirs is bright pink. It sits well on the car seat, and seems to adapt to a variety of seats successfully, we have used it in about 10 different cars in all, it seems to work well and is stable, if not necessarily the most comfortable of seats.
For occasional use this seat is ideal, I do think, however, that I would be rather loathe to use this seat on longer journeys or as their only stage 3 seat - why? - well there's absolutely no head protection at all, and I do think it's perhaps worth buying the version with the back for younger children in particular who, should the worse happen, really need the protection to their neck that a head-hugger provides. Recent "Which" reports have been well publicised and highlighted this point, and I really think it is worth spending a bit more on a seat and not buying this one if it is for frequent use. An additional £20 would buy you the Logico L model which is more padded, more comfortable, and also has a back.
That said, I'm glad to say that we have had much more use of this seat than the one journey back from Halfords it was initially purchased for. It's handy to have as a spare for transporting a third child coming to tea, or to hand over to Granny to pop to the shops in her car with one of my offspring. We tend to use it for short journeys only, and for this use it's ideal. Of course as the weight limit on this item is 36kg it may be that older children who may not need head protection as much, may be too heavy for it; as with all car seats it really is a good idea to check that the seat is appropriate for your exact circumstances.
Overall, for the use (ie occasional) to which I put it I am happy to recommend this seat, at the time of writing you can pick one up for £11.50 from Mothercare, which strikes me as very good value, generally this item will cost you around the £20 mark, on the scale of car seats that's a good price for making sure your child can travel safely and legally on a short journey. I'd give it 4 stars, for the reason that it isn't very padded and you can't buy a back add on even if you want to - but it does raise children to the level they should be to be safe. I'm not sure what's "turbo" about this seat in all honesty, but as a booster, it's pretty good, it's great value, and it's been a worthwhile buy for us.
Link to manual for indepth information:
Summary: for short journeys it's pretty good
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