Can a booster seat (without the backrest) replace a car seat?

Light, cheap, universal, eye-catching prints of fairy-tale heroes loved by children – these are the most important advantages of car booster seats. The most important ones and… the only advantages there are. Can a piece of polystyrene, which can be crushed in your hands with a bit of strength, provide your child with any safety while in a car? The answer is clear: not particularly. The booster seat will not replace an actual car seat.

To be precise: we are talking about polystyrene or other similar material booster seats popular in Poland, which can be bought for a dozen or so zlotys in any major supermarket. Such boosters are not an alternative to an actual seat – their most important function is protection against… a ticket.

Carrying children in such seats will never be one of the truly safe ways to travel for several reasons. First of all, the booster seat does not have a headrest, so it does not protect the child’s neck and head in any way in the event of an unexpected road accident. And even more – it does not protect their head and neck even during normal driving. When your child falls asleep on the go, their head will unconsciously drop or tilt sideways, which is definitely not a safe or comfortable position.

Secondly, the booster often makes it impossible to guide the seatbelt properly, both in the shoulder and lap parts. During a collision or sudden braking, it may have serious consequences – if the seatbelt runs incorrectly, the force of overloads can cause injury to the cervical spine, chest and internal abdominal organs. The only protection that the child has at that time, i.e. the seatbelt, ceases to fulfil its function. Good car seats are equipped with special guides that make it easier to place and tighten the seatbelt correctly.

Thirdly, the booster seat does not provide any protection for your child in the event of a side impact. Moreover, it can be dangerous even in a car with an air curtain system – research has shown that by sitting on such a platform, the child’s head may end up in the curtain opening zone before the curtain opens at all. Meanwhile, many car seats available on the market are equipped with special bumpers that increase the protection of the baby in the event of a side impact.

The car seats are superior to booster seats in many respects. For a parent who wants to provide their child with the highest possible level of safety while traveling by car, the choice is clear – only a good car seat from a recognised brand will do.

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