The newest addition to the Essentials by Britax family is the Britax Skyline. I recommend it because it has the safety and comfort features Britax is known for and it is a very affordable booster seat for what you get.
Until now, Britax hasn’t shown up in big box stores like WalMart because it has always made higher-cost, higher-quality products that those places just don’t sell. But the Skyline, Emblem and Allegiance are a new line of seats in the Essentials family that carry the same Britax engineering but are available at a comfortable price.
Belt-Positioning High Back Booster
The Britax Skyline is a high back booster that has the added benefit of properly positioning the seat belt. There is a period of time when a child grows out of the harnessed seat but is not quite ready for the backless booster. If in a backless booster, the way the seat belt lays on the child would not be the most safe situation.
This is when a high back, belt positioning booster comes into play. It keeps the seat belt at the correct position so as to keep the child as safely restrained as possible. The belt guides are also color coded to assure proper seatbelt positioning.
It’s worth a mention that the Britax Skyline is a dedicated high back booster seat, meaning it does not later convert into a backless booster seat. While some may see this as a downside, others (like Consumer Reports) say that a dedicated high back booster is safer in a collision than a booster that converts. Because the dedicated booster does not have detachable parts, it stays together in a collision better, keeping the child safer and more secure.
The Britax Skyline car seat is secured to the vehicle using LATCH anchors. This allows for a secure, no-hassle installation that has a higher chance of being correctly installed.
This is different from most boosters, as any booster I’ve personally used up to now just sits against the seat and is not anchored. It definitely makes sense that securing the seat to the vehicle instead of it being able to move around makes for a safer car seat.
The base of the Britax Skyline car seat, at 16.5 inches is narrow enough to be a contender for 3 across positioning in most backseats. The actual seat area where the child sits is 12.5″ deep x 12″ wide. This does not stop the Britax Skyline from being a comfortable seat though! The seat back flares out to accommodate the child comfortably, with a shoulder area that is 15″ across. The overall dimensions of the Britax Skyline are 16″ Long x 19.5″ Wide (with cupholders) x 27.5″ High.
The Britax Skyline car seat can accommodate children from 40 to 120 lbs, and 38 inches to 63 inches. The Head Rest has 10 adjustable positions so that the car seat can grow with your child as they get taller.
Another cool feature is that the headrest adjustment takes place behind the fabric and the fabric stretches to accommodate. This makes it look like it’s an integrated, seamless fit. There are also no seams to chafe against the child’s neck.
The headrest is adjustable from a height of 27.5 inches to 35 inches. It adjusts easily with a one handed hold.
Great Impact Protection
The Britax Skyline car seat has deep side walls which help keep your child safe, no matter their size. Specifically, their body is protected by 2 layers of Side Impact Protection.
Side Impact Protection is especially important at the lower weight range (40+ lbs) because the Side Curtain airbags on vehicles may not go down low enough to protect the child in case of a collision. The car seat then compensates for the difference with it’s own Side Impact Protection.
The deep side walls of the Britax Skyline protect the full body, head and pelvis from the impact of collisions.
Check out this video in which a Britax representative explains the rationale of side impact protection:
Sleek and stylish
Because most kids are eager to move out of their “baby” seat and into a big kid seat, Britax worked hard to make the Skyline sleek and stylish. With a choice of either Teal or Dusk (pictured), the seat is ideal for either boys or girls. It has a soft, cushy, comfortable fabric and clean design.
Most seats on the market today come with removable, dishwasher safe cupholders. And thank goodness for that. No longer is it necessary to take the entire car seat out of the car to clean the cupholder. Or deal with the hassle of trying to clean the cupholder with a wipe or a wet rag.
And kids are messy by nature, so there is definitely a need to clean these often. The Britax Skyline seat has two Cup Holders that are removable and can be washed in the dishwasher.
The Britax Skyline car seat has a 10 year life, which should be long enough to accommodate at least one, if not a few children. After that, it’s best to dispose of the car seat. This is because even if it looks okay, the plastic inside has begun to degrade and can no longer do its job properly.
Any car seats also need disposed in case of a collision of any sort. This is because the forces of the impact are absorbed by the car seat. So again, even if the car seat “looks” okay, stress and pressure has been put on the seat. In a future collision, the seat would not do a great job of keeping the child safe.
Britax also offers several accessories available for purchase with this (or other) seat. I’m always looking for a better way to organize the backseat so these sound really great to me – the Car Seat Caddy (which sits next to the child or in between children), and the View N Go Backseat Organizer (which hangs on the back of the seat that is in front of the child).
There is also accessories to protect your car from the wear and tear of children and car seats – the kick mat, for hanging on the back of the seat that will be in front of the child, and a vehicle seat protector that you can put underneath the car seat on the seat to keep it from warping.
More reasons to choose a High Back Booster
When your child outgrows the harness type car seat but is still too little to ride in a car without a seat of any kind, the options are either a Backless or a High Back Booster. And while either is better than none, there are many reasons why a High Back Booster is superior in terms of safety for your child.
Keeps the belt positioned properly
The job of either the backless or high back booster is to position the belt properly across the child. This includes the belt across the lap, across the body and at the shoulder. Many vehicles do not have low enough seat belt anchors, so that the seat belt is too high over the child’s shoulder to be positioned properly.
The High Back Booster solves this problem by having it’s own internal clip for the seat belt to be threaded through, positioning it at the proper shoulder point. This is something a backless booster does not have and therefore a high back booster is safer in this regard.
Supports the head and shoulders
Another feature of the high back booster which makes it superior to backless boosters is that it has support for the head and neck of the child. It’s very important to have a high back booster in a vehicle where there is no headrest in the rear row. Or if the headrests are not high enough to protect the child’s head.
In fact, most vehicles do not allow the use of a backless booster if the back of the seat (or headrest) is below the child’s ears. If you use a high back booster, it does not matter if there is a headrest or not, as most seats are strong enough to protect the head on their own.
Side Impact Protection
Not all, but some high back boosters also offer Side Impact Protection. The Britax Skyline is one of the high back boosters that offers Side Impact Protection. The deep walls protect the body, head and neck from the forces of an impact of a collision. This is something even the best backless booster cannot offer.
A high back booster seat also helps the child be more comfortable. If the child falls asleep while in the seat while traveling, for instance, the high back booster offers a surface to rest against. Many high back boosters have padded headrests with “wings” and this is even more comfortable for the child. While asleep, their head can rest against the “wing”.
A high back booster can also offer comfortable back support for the car ride, whether long or short. Usually, this is more comfortable than the vehicle’s seats. The Britax Skyline has cushy foam that looks really cozy and comfortable in this regard.
Overall, the Britax Skyline looks like a great choice in a high back booster with many safety and comfort features.
You’ll find the Britax Skyline identified as a best high back booster on our top booster list among several other choices.