Chicco KeyFit Strada Toddler Booster Seat Review

A safe, comfortable seat with lots of features

The Chicco KeyFit Strada Toddler Booster Seat
The Chicco KeyFit Strada Toddler Booster Seat is designed for children ages four - 10. Chicco

My kids have never been a fan of booster seats, complaining that they are big enough to ride without one. It seems that lots of families feel that way. In 2008, the National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats found that just 43 percent of children 4 to 7 used them. But booster seats are a must-have. Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that using a belt-positioning booster seat  reduces the risk of injury to children by nearly 60 percent compared to the use of seat belts alone.

I recently had the chance to review the Chicco KeyFit Strada Toddler Booster Seat and was pleased with what I found.

Who Can Use the Chicco KeyFit Strada Toddler Booster Seat?

According to the manufacturer, the seat is designed for kids from 4 to 10 years old who are between 38 and 57 inches tall and weigh between 33 and 100 pounds. Once a child reaches 40 pounds, the KeyFit Strada seat can be converted to a backless booster. The backrest is height-adjustable and can conform to nine different positions.

Installation of the Chicco KeyFit Strada Toddler Booster Seat

You do have to put the seat together as it comes in two pieces -- the backrest and the bottom base. It wasn't too difficult, but you do have to use some force. The good news is that if you were ever in an accident, the car seat will not come apart. Once the backrest is locked into the base, you can carry the seat by the backrest and it will not detach from the base.

As for installation, my husband usually handles all the car seat installing in our household. I always worry that I don't have enough upper-body strength to put it in properly. But like most booster seats, the KeyFit Strada is simply placed in the backseat of the vehicle and then buckled in with the seat belts.

This is great if your child doesn't always ride in one car -- if you carpool to school or if grandma handles some of the running around during the day.

As far as adjusting the seat as your child grows you can adjust the headrest and side wings to go both up and out for more space and comfort -- great for winter days when clothing is bulky and hard to snap in. Once your child hits 40 pounds, you can convert the seat to a backless booster. All the adjusting can be done simply, with just one hand.

Features of the Chicco KeyFit Strada Toddler Booster Seat

While we didn't tear the cover off of the seat, photos from Chicco show that underneath all the padding, there is energy-absorbing EPS foam -- important if you were ever in a car accident.

When I heard that the seat could accommodate a child anywhere from 40 to 100 pounds, I was skeptical -- clearly, there is a big difference in size there. But once I unpacked the seat from its box, it was immediately apparent that the seat would work as well for a 4-year-old as it would for an older child. There are nine different height positions and the side also expands. And if your child falls asleep in the car as often as mine does, the seat will help them relax comfortably -- the side "wings" as they are called, provide great support.

The seat itself is also ergonomically designed, sloping at an angle, rather than being upright. Other bells and whistles include an adjustable, removable cup holder and a removable fabric cover. I think those two might be my favorite part -- no more angling myself in the car with a bottle of fabric cleaner, trying to remove the stain from the juice box that spilled while we were out running errands!

The seat is available in two colors -- red and gray (Fuego) and gray (Pearl). Both are mesh and attached with zippers.

Overall Impressions

I really liked this seat a lot, as did my tester. The seat is nicely padded, making comfortable to ride in and the sloped angle seemed to make a difference.

We did a few test runs of varying lengths, and teach time the child remarked on how soft the seat was. The removable cup holder is adjustable, so whether we had a juice box or a bottle of water in the seat, it was always sturdy. And when we had a minor spill, it was great to be able to remove the cup holder, wash it in the sink to remove all the stickiness and then put it back where it belongs.

Fortunately, we didn't have the opportunity to really test the seat as we were never in a car accident, but I have to say, this is one sturdy seat. It just feels strong when you hold it or touch it. Luckily, I don't just have to go with my instincts -- the Chicco KeyFit Strada was recently included as one of the “Best Bet” booster seats out of 72 booster seats that were evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The seats were evaluated based on how well the booster seat position children to fit in their seat belts in the back seat.

Overall, this is a great seat, offering a nice balance of safety and comfort.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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