A quality car seat should be considered an essential purchase for the safety of your child. Parenting never stops being a challenge, and researching and buying the right seat for your child is not only important, it is challenging as well. This is because a child has different needs at different stages of life, depending on factors such as age, weight and height. A booster seat is, generally, considered the last type of seat a child will need before the child is old enough to be secured using only the car’s seat belt system. This article provides a complete review Graco’s Turbo GO backless booster seat to help you decide if it is the right seat for your child.
Backless Booster Seats – What Do You Need to Know?
A booster seat is an important stepping stone between using a harness seat and relying solely on the car’s seat belt system for your child’s safety. It helps position your seat and child in a way that your vehicle’s seat belt follows a given path for optimal safety while ensuring the safest and most comfortable fit across the child’s shoulders, chest and hips.
They are recommended for use when your child has exceeded the maximum age, weight and height restrictions for using a forward facing car seat and can be used until they exceed the restrictions for a booster seat. These restrictions may be different depending on the seat model and manufacturer. There are two types of booster seats: Backless booster seats and high-back booster seats.
Studies done between 2005 and 2009 showed that high-back booster car seats tend to be safer than backless booster seats. However, this may not always be the case. The studies failed to account for the fact that a backless booster seat may actually be safer depending on your child’s physical characteristics and the vehicle’s safety features. Also, technological advancements in the last decade or so have ensured that most seats today surpass the safety standards of those made a decade ago with ease. However, here are some factors you can take into consideration:
- Backless booster car seats are the cheaper choice
- They have a higher weight minimum, so more suitable for older, healthier or taller children
- High back booster seats are more capable of providing head, neck and back support for a younger or smaller child
- Booster seats are available as standalone products or as part of All-in-one or some convertible seats
- Booster seats should only be used when the child meets the age and size recommendations of the manufacturer
- Backless booster seats should be used for a child that is unable to or cannot be relied on to sit with his back pressed against the vehicle’s back seat
- Booster seats should be used if the vehicle’s seat belt system does not fit the child as accurately as it would fit an adult.
Pros and Cons of Using a Backless Booster Seat
Graco Turbo Go
Measurements and Specifications
- Age recommendation – 4 to 10 years
- Weight recommendation – 40 to 100 lbs
- Height recommendation – 43 to 57 inches
- Lifespan – 10 years
- Seat width (at widest point) – 15.25 inches
- Seat depth – 12.5 inches
- Seating area width (at widest point) – 13.5 inches
- Seat weight – 3.5 pounds
- Size when folded – 5×14 inches
- The fabric is machine washable
- Convenient self-positioning belt guide
- Belt guide is steel reinforced
- Extremely compact (especially when folded)
- Easy to set up
- Very easy to carry
- Easy to store
- Consistent and comfortable belt fit
- Big seating area
Graco is an American company based in North Carolina. It was established in 1942 in Philadelphia and is currently owned and operated by Newell Brands. Graco is a manufacturer of baby products and their first baby product was an automatic baby swing, Swyngomatic, which was the world’s first wind-up automatic baby swing. The company now manufactures and sells car seats, strollers, household products and gear such as highchairs, nursery items, swings and jumpers etc.
Graco acquired Century, a car seat manufacturer, in 1998. It introduced the SnugRide car seat which has, since, become one of America’s best-selling car seat product line. Graco’s Turbo Booster line launched in 2002 which helped keep the child safe and secure in a car seat for longer. Graco car seats have approvals from NHTSA, FAA and other relevant authorities. The Turbo product line has a proven safety record. Graco owns and operates its own crash testing facility, and its products meet or exceed the US safety standard guidelines FMVSS 213. Graco car seats are tested for front, rear and side impact safety, rollover accidents, and extreme car temperatures. Graco products have been recipients of numerous rewards and accolades for their safety, comfort and diverse range of features.
Graco is an American brand. Their products measure up to or exceed the highest American safety standards. The company offers easy access to support through email, live chat and its helpline. It also offers thorough warranty policies which is a reflection of their confidence in their products.
What’s So Special about the Graco Turbo Go?
Some parents may be concerned that, like other backless booster car seats, the Graco Turbo Go does not have any head, neck and back support, does not have any padding, and there are no additional features such as cup holders. It does, on the other hand, offer a safe and comfortable place to sit and ensures that the arms align the seat belt and the child. The Graco Turbo Go isn’t any ordinary backless booster seat. Not only is it incredibly lightweight and portable, but it folds and unfolds easily to make it easier to store and transport.
It can even fit easily in a backpack! Your child can carry the Graco Turbo GO with them and use them in a friend’s car or when driving around with grandma!
It is extremely easy to use and set up, and positions and aligns your child to maximize safety while travelling in a vehicle. In fact, it is so easy to use that, with proper initial guidance, a child can learn to buckle up without any adult assistance. There are no complicated levers, adjustments or triggers.
Manufacturer’s Usage Recommendations
Booster seats are recommended once forward facing harness seats are no longer a viable option. The manufacturer recommends that the Turbo GO should be used for a child weighing between 40 and 100 pounds and is between 43 and 57 inches in height. While, on average, a child hits falls between this ranges at an age of 5 to 6 and above, the manufacturer recommends that it can be used for a child aged between 4 and 10 years. However, while age is important, the seat should not be used until the child meets the minimum height and weight criteria nor should it be used once these limits are exceeded, regardless of age. Also, the manufacturer recommends that the seat should be retired after 10 years of use.Top of Form
The Graco Turbo GO is incredibly easy to install and it takes no time at all. Here is a brief installation guide:
- Prepare for the installation process by making room in the back seat and going through the instruction manual. It is also important to be familiar with the safe features of the vehicle, so consider reading the vehicle’s manual and familiarizing yourself with the seat belt system
- The back of the seat is foldable to increase portability. The first step is to unfold and flip it into the right direction. Doing so automatically releasing the belt positioning system.
- Place the seat in the forward facing direction.
- Place the child properly in the booster seat. Ensure that the child is not too big or too small for the seat (read the manufacturer’s recommendations).
- The seat belt can then be threaded easily through the car seat’s belt positioning system. At this point you should ensure that the belt centered and evenly placed against the belt positioners for a secure and comfortable fit. The shoulder belt positioner should be used to ensure a proper fit over the child’s shoulders as well.
- Never place a booster seat in the front passenger seat of a car.
- Check and recheck the positioning of the seat before each use.
- Conduct proper research about the type of seat, manufacturer and model.
- Check the seat’s safety record.
- Get the seat checked by experts.
- The lap section of the belt should be low and pressed tightly across the child’s hips.
- The shoulder section of the belt should fit snugly on the shoulder while staying clear of the neck and face.
- Ensure that the belt is not twisted. This can have a negative impact on the belt’s integrity.
The Advantages of Using the Graco Turbo GO
- Lightweight, Compact and Foldable – Weighing just over 3 pounds, this is one of the lightest seats available in the market. When you add that to the compact size, this is easily one of the most convenient seats to carry, store and travel with. 3 of these seats can be used simultaneously in most cars. One of the major selling points of this seat is that it can be folded easily, which adds to its compactness. When folded, it is small enough to fit inside a child’s backpack.
- Can be Moved Between and Used in Different Vehicles – The Graco Turbo Go seat’s size and weight along with the ability to fold it allows you to easily move the seat between different vehicles. This means that you no longer have to buy multiple booster seats.
- Easily Removable Machine Washable Fabric – Keeping a seat clean for a child is a major concern. The seats fabric can be removed easily in a single motion and washed in a machine. This makes it incredibly easy to maintain the seats hygiene.
- Belt Guide – The seat comes with a belt guide that leaves no room for inaccuracy. The belt path is self-positioning and steel reinforced to add to your child’s safety.
- Seat Belt Fitting – The seat is designed to ensure that installation results in a consistent and comfortable fit if all the steps have been followed accurately.
- Affordable – The seat provides a great deal of safety without a hefty price tag. This is especially useful for parents with tighter budgets. This also ensures that you can buy multiple seats easily if you have multiple children that fall between the age, weight and height limits.
- Big Seating Area and Higher Boost – The seat is big enough to ensure extended use, in order to keep your child safer for longer. The seat also provides a greater boost than most competitors.
- Ease of Installation – The seat positions and aligns your child with the seat belt with incredible ease. The lack of complicated levers, adjustments, switches and triggers means that, with a little bit of initial guidance, your children can buckle themselves up.
- Choice – The booster seat comes in multiple colors to choose from. These are bright pink, grass green, slate blue and plain black. However the belt positioners are only available in red and the base is only available in dark grey regardless of fabric colors.
- Storage Pouch – Store instruction manuals on the pouch underneath the seat. It is important to keep the manual nearby for guidance.
- Designed and Engineered for US Safety Standards – Graco is a USA based company and is subjected to the highest standards and safety regulations. (More on this later)
- No handle – While this seat offers ease of carriage because of its weight and size, it lacks a handle that would make carriage even easier.
- Padding – As this is a backless booster seat, it offers very little padding for protection.
Safety Information and Recommendations
- The instruction manual comes with detailed guidelines, warnings and information that help you maximize the safety of your child.
- All types of car seats should be replaced after crashes and other safety incidents.
- Most experts, including the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommend using harnessed seats for as long as possible. Booster seats should only be used once the child has exceeded the age, height and weight limits set by the manufacturer.
- Be sure to check state laws addressing car seats and purchase and use seats accordingly.
- Seek advice from reputable experts and check recommendations from recognized institutions such as the AAP and the NHTSA.
- Keep the instruction manual close by. Storing it in the Turbo Go’s pocket (can be found underneath the seat) for easy access to guidance.
- All Graco seats meet or exceed federal safety requirements. Being based in the USA, they are subjected to the highest standards and are designed for US roads and traffic (however, they are available in other countries as well). They have a proven safety record, and are engineered and tested for the US standard FMVSS 213.
- Some Graco seats, like the Turbo Booster has received prestigious awards such as from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
- While there are no laws requiring the use of car seats on airplanes, they are highly recommended. Booster seats, however, are not suitable for air travel.
- Parents should read and check all labels and stickers for important information. One example if the date of manufacture. This is important as the manufacturer recommends retiring the seat 10 years after the date of manufacture.
Comparisons with Other Car Seats
Graco Turbo GO vs Bubblebum Booster Seat
Bubble bum has a few advantages over the Graco Turbo Seat. It weighs less than the Graco Turbo Go especial when deflated – weighs around 1 pound. It’s smaller as well and therefore, even easier to carry with more room to spare. However, the bigger size and greater width means that the Turbo GO is more spacious. This makes it more suitable for older and bigger kids. The seat and the base are also considerably more stable. Making a choice would depend on your child’s characteristics as well as your preferences.
Graco Turbo GO vs Graco Turbo Booster TakeAlong
While both are Graco products and share numerous features, there are some differences as well. The Turbo Booster TakeAlong is a booster seat that has two modes of use – high back booster seat and a backless booster seat. While both are highly portable, the Turbo GO weighs less and is, therefore, easier to carry. Both models provide a great degree of consistency in terms of the vehicle’s seatbelt fitting. Also, both seats have the same size limits.
Graco Turbo GO vs Graco RightGuide
The Graco RightGuide is one of the narrowest booster seats available in the market. It can fit, both, smaller and larger kids with equal safety and has some lateral flexibility. It weighs less than the Turbo Go booster seat. However, the Graco Turbo Go is likely to accommodate larger kids in comparison to RightGuide and it gives the child a higher boost (especially useful for shorter kids).
Graco Turbo GO vs Mifold Booster
Both booster seats are meant for similar age, weight and height ranges. However, the Turbo GO stands out because of its belt consistency and the fact that the child can buckle up with needing adult supervision. The Mifold’s belt path and guide, on the other hand, can be difficult to thread through.
Graco Turbo GO vs Chicco GoFit
The Turbo GO and GoFit are similar in terms of their height and weight restrictions. The GoFit has a carry handle – a useful feature missing in the Turbo GO. The GoFit offers cupholders and more padding. However, the Turbo Go is foldable, which gives it an edge in terms of storability and ease of transport. While, the Turbo Go can fit in a back pack with room to spare, the GoFit needs a bit more space. Also, the TurboGO weighs considerably less. The Chicco GoFit is more suitable for smaller kids, whereas the Turbo GO has clearly been designed for larger kids.
One of the first things that most parents are likely to notice is the absence of bells and whistles such as cup holders and extra padding. However, the Turbo GO booster seat does do the job it is meant for – it works. It provides a great deal of security and comfort while going easy on the parent’s pocket. It is small enough to fit 3-across in the back seat and can be carried easily by parents and children. It does lack some useful features of other seats such as a carry handle, but it makes up for it with the fact that is can be folded easily. In its folded state, it takes up far less space than most competitors. The two most important questions that need to be asked when choosing a car seat for your child are:
Q 1) Does it have the ability to keep the child safe?
A 1) It does. It meets all safety standards and is designed to keep your child safe.
Q 2) Is it the best seat in the market?
A 2) Ultimately, deciding which seat is ‘the best’ for your child depends on the child’s physical and, even, psychological needs. A seat may have all the features in the world but if it is too big or too small for your child, it fails to do its job. Additionally, other factors such as budget, type, and size of vehicle and personal preferences also play a part.