Experts note that backless boosters don't offer the side-impact protection that most high-back chairs do, but they can be a good choice for travel, occasional use or carpools where several car seats may need to fit across the back seat.
Backless boosters are generally easier to use and more portable than high backs, and parents say the Evenflo Amp Belt-Positioning Booster (Est. $25) fulfills both criteria. The Amp is top-rated for ease of use and proper seat-belt placement, and reviewers like the vibrant, wipeable fabrics and expandable cup holders. A few reviewers note that the seat base is somewhat wide, which can be a problem in narrow or contoured seats. And like many belt-positioning boosters, it should be buckled in even when not in use -- otherwise, it can become a projectile in a crash, experts say.
Parents who are willing to spend a little more so they don't have to buckle in their unoccupied boosters may want to check out the Graco Affix Backless Booster (Est. $35). The Affix has LATCH connectors that keep the seat secure in the car whether or not it's in use, and reviewers say the connectors are a cinch to use with a front-adjust tightening strap. The seat also provides good seat-belt placement, and parents like the integrated cup holder and storage compartment. Some reviewers say the Affix still slides around a bit while latched in, however. It also doesn't have the Evenflo Amp's wide range of color choices, and it's a few pounds heavier.
Though backless boosters are already among the most travel-friendly child safety seats, the BubbleBum (Est. $30) takes portability one step further. Parents inflate the seat for use, then deflate it and roll it into a carrying pouch when they're on the go. Testers say the seat also offers excellent belt placement. The BubbleBum has a small base that can fit in cramped vehicles or alongside other car seats, but reviewers say that also means it doesn't offer a lot of thigh support -- a particular concern on longer trips. Some parents also report that it's hard for their kids to use the seat-belt guides independently, and it lacks conveniences such as cup holders and armrests that the Evenflo Amp and Graco Affix have.
For price, quality, appearance and ease of use, it's hard to beat the Evenflo Amp for a stylish, affordable backless booster.