Is your child ready for a booster?
Whenever I review a booster seat, the first thing I want to make sure everyone understands is that you do not need to rush your child into a booster. Children must be consistently 40 lb (18 kg) and at least 38″ (97 cm) tall to use the Chicco KidFit, but this doesn’t mean that your 40-lb 3-year-old should ride in this seat.
Once the size minimums are met, deciding if a child is booster-ready is primarily about their maturity. Most children are mature enough to ride safely in a booster seat between 5–7 years old.
I love the guidelines laid out by Chicco in the KidFit manual:
So if you know your child is impulsive and is going to unbuckle when they’re not supposed to, or reach across the backseat to whack their sibling, then it’s not yet time for a booster. The only thing restraining a child when they ride in a booster seat is the seat belt, just like for adults. The booster simply positions the child so that the seat belt can function properly in a collision. Unlike a five-point harness, the adult seat belt doesn’t do anything to hold the child in place if they don’t want to stay still!
Chicco KidFit Booster Seat Specs:
- High-back booster & no-back booster
- High-back mode: 40–100 lb (18 kg–45 kg), 38″–57″ (97–145 cm)
- No-back mode: 40–110 lb (18 kg–50 kg), 38″-58″ (97–145 cm)
- Highest shoulder-belt guide position is 19.5″ (50 cm)
- Width at widest point (seat) is 17″ (43 cm) with cupholders folded in
- Includes premium lower anchors to attach to vehicle’s LATCH system
Note that I am in Canada and therefore am using a Canadian KidFit. There are some slight differences between US and Canadian models, so if you are in the US, make sure you consult your manual!
It’s nice and easy to set up the KidFit straight out of the box. Clip the backrest onto the seat, insert the foam padding under the backrest cover and stick in the cupholders—make sure you put them on the correct sides—and you’re good to go. The cupholders have soft silicone sides, so you can fold them in if you need to make the booster narrower to accommodate another passenger.
While not required, the premium lower anchor connectors allow you to attach the KidFit to the lower anchor bars (LATCH) in your vehicle as you may already do with your harnessed car seats. This is only to immobilize the booster seat and stop it from becoming a projectile if unoccupied. The lower anchors do not restrain the child in any way, so you can absolutely use this seat in a position without LATCH.
Note that in high-back mode, the KidFit manual still requires you to secure the seat with the lap/shoulder belt when unoccupied, even if it is also attached to the lower anchors. This is probably the primary “con” of this seat, since most parents buy a booster with lower connectors to avoid having to belt in the booster when unoccupied. (You do not need to fasten the seat belt around the KidFit when in no-back mode.)
The lower connectors also keep the seat in place when the child gets in and out. Since the child is usually getting into the seat and buckling/unbuckling themself, this prevents the seat from shifting out of place and covering up the buckle.
To attach the lower anchor connectors, push them onto your vehicle’s lower anchors until you hear a “click.” Pull the strap at the front of the seat to tighten. To loosen, push down on the orange button.
Special installation considerations:
- Consult your vehicle owner’s manual if using the lower anchors. Some vehicles prohibit the use of LATCH for booster seats.
- If your vehicle headrests interfere with the seat (pushing the booster’s headrest forward), consult your vehicle owner’s manual to confirm if the headrests can be removed. Vehicles with forward-leaning headrests that are not removable or must be left in place as per the manufacturer may not be compatible with the KidFit in high-back mode.
If your child is ready to use the KidFit without the backrest, remove the backrest and attach the booster to the lower anchors as you did in high-back mode. (If using in a position without LATCH, remember to secure it with the seat belt when not in use.)
The portion where the backrest clicks onto the seat becomes a handy handle if your child often has to tote their booster between cars for carpools!
Adjusting for Your Child
With your child seated in the KidFit, click the orange lever at the top of the headrest to lift it up until the orange shoulder-belt guide is at or slightly about your child’s shoulders. Thread the shoulder belt through the guide.
When raising the headrest of the KidFit, notice that it actually lengthens the entire back support portion of the seat, extending from the base, rather than just extending the headrest. This means the side wings of the seat go up as the child grows. I love this!
Note that contrary to many similar seats, the shoulder belt portion of the belt must go OVER the armrest nearest the buckle. (Just follow the diagrams on the side stickers!)
If the shoulder belt doesn’t sit centred on the child’s shoulder without the backrest in place, use the attached shoulder belt guide.
Our Favourite Features:
- THE MANUAL IS SO CLEAR AND EASY TO FOLLOW! YES I HAVE TO SAY THIS IN ALL CAPS!
- Headrest and back support extend together as the child grows
- Cupholders fold in to make more space for other passengers
- Quick set up out of the box
- Very clear and easy-to-follow manual and side stickers
- Premium lower anchor connectors make attaching the seat easy and keep the seat from shifting when child gets in and out
- Lightweight and narrow
- Seat can be used without a vehicle headrest behind it (and this is clearly indicated in the manual), offering more flexibility in terms of suitable installation positions in a variety of vehicles
Room for improvement:
- Seat must be buckled in when used in high-back mode, even when attached to the lower anchors
- The 19.5″ shoulder belt guide maximum height means especially tall kids (with long torsos) won’t be able to use the seat in high-back mode for as long
- Routing the shoulder belt OVER the armrest rather than under is different from most other seats and will take getting used to if this isn’t your first booster seat
My son and I both love the KidFit. We have used it in our 2014 Odyssey in both high-back and no-back modes with great success. What I like best about the seat in high-back mode is the way the entire body support goes up as the child grows, rather than just the headrest. This extra support on the sides seems to prevent my son from slumping forward when he falls asleep (compared to other high-back boosters he’s used). My son likes the cupholders and the comfort, and that’s really about all he needs to be happy in a booster.