According to a report released by Consumer Reports, high-back booster seats are safer than a backless booster seat. Now, don’t go and throw out your booster if it’s not high back; using a booster, regardless of back shape, is better than not using one. However, the high-back booster seat is better at keeping the seat belts properly positioned. A booster seat is working properly when the seat belt stretches across the child’s shoulders, chest, and hips. Consumer Reports says that booster seats drastically cut down on injuries for children between the ages of 4 and 8 by 45 percent when compared to children of the same age not using one.
While many backless booster seats still do the job, high-back booster seats are better at keeping the seat belts where they should be. Upper belt anchors don’t always line up with the child’s shoulder when using a backless booster seat, but a high-back booster has guides to place the belt where it needs to be. This is also helpful if you have a child who moves around while in their booster seat. A backless booster seat also allows the child to escape the seat belt more easily while the high-back booster does not. Some backless boosters don’t have a clip to keep the shoulder belt in place like the high-booster seats do too.
Another advantage to using a high-back booster seat is the head support it gives. During an accident, especially a rear-ending, whiplash is a common occurrence. These headrests also usually have enough foam that it can dissipate any energy absorbed during a crash. Just having a headrest provides a place for the child to rest their head, and in turn, makes your commute a little less stressful, too.
Either way, using a backless booster seat is better than not using one at all. Be mindful that all booster seats have a weight rating and should be observed accordingly. Backless booster seats are usually less expensive with some costing as low as $14.
Source: Consumer Reports