High back to backless booster



So my very petite 9-yr-old wants out of her Britax Frontier with clicktight, and she wants a backless booster (I kept her harnessed forever…and rear facing in her Radian til age 4 before the Frontier). It doesn’t help that her 12-yr-old sister (who loves to undermine me, and generally gives me a lot of gray hair) keeps advocating for this, too, in support of her sister. When she fans the flames it really gets my 9-yr-old revved up about switching .

My 9-yr-old almost always sleeps on long car rides…even short ones, really. You can set your watch by her racking right out. So the headwings give her a more comfortable ride when she’s sleeping. And she has epilepsy: I feel like the high-back booster gives her more support, and containment even, in the event of a seizure. So I’m not keen to move her to a backless booster just yet if I can possibly hold off.

But the Britax is coming up on the end of its tenure (manufactured in 2015), and the protesting has gotten louder… so I’m going to have to do SOMETHING.

9-yr-old weighs 62 lbs, and she’s 49” tall. I feel like I MIGHT be able to sell her on a new high-back booster if it’s new, and fresh, and cool looking, and if it looks like…well, not a high back booster. 😏

Any ideas of what I could get to replace the Frontier? And if I can’t sell her on a new high back booster, what’s a good backless booster to consider?

I’m driving a 2011 Subaru Outback.

Thank you!


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
I'd consider a few things.

How likely is it that she'll have a seizure in the car? If the epilepsy is well-controlled, or seizures tend to occur at times she's less likely to be in the vehicle (such as when asleep), I wouldn't worry too much about that.

I'm assuming she's already using it in booster mode, not harness mode. In that case, a booster is a booster, during a seizure she may fall forward anyway. It would always be recommended to pull over as soon as possible and remove her from the seat as necessary.

I had a daughter who had epilepsy at that age, too, and it was hard on both of us; I wanted her as supported and safe as possible in the car, but she just wanted to feel "normal." So I really empathize with you here, but urge you to really consider the circumstances under which she might have a seizure in the car, how likely is it, etc, and weigh that against emotional health as well.

Maybe you could compromise? How about a high back booster that has a backless mode, and during short trips around town/rides to school etc., she uses it backless, while during longer out-of-town or nighttime rides, she has the back on?

Diono and Britax both make boosters that tend to fit kids this age and size well in both backless and high back mode.


Thank you for your reply! Those are all good considerations. I like the idea of compromising with an optional high back version for longer trips. And historically she seizes in sleep; so sleeping in the car makes me super nervous.

Thanks again!


One more thing: If using a backless booster, would it be safe to let her use a neck pillow? Or even a regular bed pillow, between her and the door? She definitely slumps when sleeping. Thanks!


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
My daughter also had her seizures during sleep. The good news is that makes it pretty easy as a compromise, as you can be pretty sure of when she'll be more likely to sleep in the car!

Neck pillow can be used backwards, or a VERY small one that doesn't push the head forward, but I often think they're more trouble than they're worth. Bed pillow is ok between the child and the side of the car IF it doesn't interfere with positioning or get between the child and the belt AND you don't have side-curtain airbags for it to interfere with.

Much more helpful is usually teaching kids to look up when they get sleepy. If the body is positioned with the head pointed up, it's more likely to stay upright.

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