Consumer Reportage: Car Booster Seat and Restraint Comparison

For the purposes of this test we outfitted two cars. One car with the Graco TurboBooster car seat, the other with plastic restraints. To ensure the best possible uniformity in testing we used a pair of identical twins separated from their mother by eye-opening legal precedent.
At only eight pounds, the Graco TurboBooster car seat is lightweight and fairly easy to carry, but even that is no match for the minimal weight and size of plastic restraints.
The Graco TurboBooster routinely scores quite well in crash tests and its reinforced sides offer additional protection. Plastic restraints lack additional protection but are excellent at keeping children firmly in place if you use enough of them.
The TurboBooster complies with all Federal safety standards. Plastic restraints are not subject to the same standards, but are made from high-tensile nylon fibers.
The Graco TurboBooster incorporates the car’s seatbelt. Installation involves nothing more than running the seatbelt through the Graco’s belt cuff and across the child’s shoulder.
Plastic restraints are a more involved installation, particularly if you have an active child who does not like to be physically attached to the car. Unlike traditional car seats, plastic restraints offer multiple options for creatively installing your child.
The Graco TurboBooster is easily removed by unlocking the seatbelt and removing it from the belt cuff.
Plastic restraints can be removed with pruning shears.
Pros: Price, brand reputation, general acceptance.
Cons: Cumbersome if you have septuplets.
Pros: Cheapest option, portable, disposable.
Cons: Meddling parents will form advocacy groups.
The Graco TurboBooster is top of its class as far as traditional booster seats go, but there’s no denying that plastic restraints offer their own benefits, especially with hyperactive children. In the end, what you use depends primarily on your travel plans and window tinting.

Next Week: A comprehensive review of toys that flame.