When you’ve got a little baby, you know that you need to get a good car seat to keep him safe while he’s on the road. However, as time goes by and the baby grows up, many parents become careless and neglect to use the right car seat. Some will even do without a car seat entirely if they’re only going for a short trip, such as a quick supermarket run. The truth is that even older children need special seats to keep them safe and secure in a vehicle. You should get your preschooler one of the best rated booster car seats if you want to take care of his well-being while he’s on the road.

In the beginning, a child needs to be put in a rear-facing seat. When he’s bigger, he can move on to a forward-facing seat, and eventually a booster seat. Booster seats can be used once a child is 40 lbs in weight and is at least 4 years old. Both requirements must be satisfied as kids below 40 lbs may be too small and light to be secure in a booster and those below 4 may not have achieved the right level of physical development. If your child is the right age and weight however, you can take a look at these characteristics of the best rated booster car seats to help you pick the best one.

1. Safe.

As with all types of car seats, safety is paramount when you’re looking for a booster. Booster seats with a back are considered a lot safer than backless types. That’s because the former has some form of protection and support for the head and neck region, while the latter depends merely on the vehicle’s built-in restraints. Staged-release tethers, high-density foam lining, and similar features are all desirable in a high-backed booster or convertible booster seat.

2. Practical.

Higher height and weight limits are considered practical if you’re getting a booster. That’s because you’ll be using it until your child is at least 8 years of age and 4 feet, 9 inches tall. If your child is on the large side, you want to be sure that he doesn’t outgrow the booster seat until he’s the right age and weight. When it comes to convertible seats for babies, a higher rating for the harness is ideal.

3. Easy to use.

Ideally, your older child should be able to strap himself into the seat, so you want one with straps that are secure but easy to use. Look for a well-marked belt path.

4. Comfortable.

When it comes to booster seats, there should be room to grow as well as provisions for a snug fit. Adjustable harness slots and crotch straps are very important if you don’t want your child to feel too restricted without compromising his safety.

There are several models on the market that claim to be the best rated booster car seats; you’ll find that most if not all of them possess the characteristics mentioned above.