In a crowded market, the Safety 1st Go Hybrid has carved out an unusual niche as a lightweight, portable harness-to-booster seat. Because it lacks a rigid back, the seat can fold up easily for travel. However, experts say there are better seats out there for permanent use, and the required use of tether anchors in harness mode may make it a poor choice for older vehicles.
Requires tether in harness mode. The Safety 1st Go Hybrid offers energy absorbing foam, a chest clip and five-point harness in harness mode. It uses a vehicle's seat belts in booster mode. It can be installed using LATCH connectors in harness mode until a child reaches 65 pounds, unless the vehicle where the seat will be installed specifies a lower weight limit. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates it a check fit, meaning the seat doesn't offer proper belt fit in as many vehicles as other booster seats.
The seat receives average reviews in a separate round of expert safety testing because it achieved only average fit to vehicles using both LATCH and seat-belt installation. Testers also dislike that the seat requires parents to use a tether anchor in harness mode since some older cars lack anchors. This may also be a problem if your vehicle has a low LATCH weight limit, experts note, severely limiting the lifespan of the seat's harness.
LATCH is easy; seat belts are not. Reviewers say the Safety 1st Go Hybrid is easy to install using LATCH connectors, but one expert notes that it's much trickier to install with seat belts. The front harness adjusters are easy to operate, reviews say, though each side is adjusted independently. In ease-of-use ratings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA), the seat receives 4 stars out of 5 in booster mode and harness modes. Testers cite a complicated conversion to booster mode and a lack of labels illustrating the process. An expert reviewer agrees that the conversion to booster seat is unnecessarily complicated.
A good option for on-the-go families. The Safety 1st Go Hybrid converts from a forward-facing seat with a five-point harness to a backless belt-positioning booster. It features a padded headrest, armrests and an included carrying case. The seat does not have cup holders, which reviewers miss. However, reviewers say it is an excellent choice for parents who often have to use cabs or rental cars because of its 10-pound weight, easy installation and carrying case. Its slim profile also makes it a good pick for those with small cars or those who need to use multiple car seats.
While some parents say the Go Hybrid seems comfy for their children, many complain it's not a good seat for napping, as the headrest juts forward more than the fabric back, creating an uncomfortable angle. The seat padding is hand-wash only. The seat is recommended for children 34 to 52 inches tall and 22 to 65 pounds in harness mode, and 43 to 57 inches tall and 40 to 100 pounds in booster mode.
One-year warranty, mixed reviews for service. Safety 1st offers a limited one-year warranty on the Go Hybrid. Dorel Juvenile Group, which owns the Safety 1st label, gets mixed reviews for customer service from owners. The Go Hybrid expires six years from the date of manufacture.
Review Credibility: Excellent The Safety 1st Go Hybrid is one of CarSeatBlog.com's picks for best combination booster seats. Editors say the seat is good for families who need three car seats in one row or for frequent travelers, and it's easy to install with LATCH. They also like the no-rethread harness and tall harness slots. However, there is no front harness adjuster, and the seat must use a tether. It also may not be comfortable enough for sleeping and is tricky to install with seat belts, they say.
Review: Recommended Carseats, Editors of CarSeatBlog.com, September 2012
2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Review Credibility: Excellent The IIHS evaluates booster seats on how well they make a safety belt fit an average 6 year old. The Safety 1st Go Hybrid is rated check fit for backless mode, meaning it offers "good protection for some kids in some vehicles, but not in as many cases as top-rated boosters."
Review: Booster Evaluations for 2012, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Not dated
Review Credibility: Excellent NHTSA rates car seats on a 5-star scale for ease of use, label content and clarity, instruction content and clarity, ease of installation and ease of securing a child. The Safety 1st Go Hybrid receives 4 stars in booster mode and 4 in harness mode. Testers dislike the lack of illustrations and complexity of the conversion to booster mode.
Review: Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Not dated
4. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent This comprehensive book reviews baby gear and common baby brands. The authors review popular car seats based on expert testing and parents' reviews, as well as information from manufacturers and retailers. Their website offers up-to-date information, additional reviews, recall information and forums for parents to discuss baby products.
Review: Car Seats: Picking the Right Child Safety Seat, Denise and Alan Fields, Tenth Edition, 2013
Review Credibility: Excellent Editors of ConsumerReports.org test 13 combination and 33 belt-positioning booster seats, including high-back and backless models. The ratings are reliable and unbiased, and they include editors' highs and lows for each seat -- helpful for parents who want a quick summary of each seat. However, there are a couple of discontinued models listed, and it's unclear when the tests were performed.
Review: Toddler Booster Seat Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good The Safety 1st Go Hybrid receives 4.2 out of 5 stars in more than 70 reviews on Amazon.com. Reviewers like the seat's portability, especially for cabs, and five-point harness. They also say the slim profile works well in small seats or cars with multiple car seats. Most reviewers say installation is quick and easy. However, several say it seems uncomfortable for naps, while others note that the harness won't work in older cars that lack a tether hook. Some reviewers say they expected the seat to have a hard back.
Review: Safety 1st Go Hybrid Convertible Booster, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good Michelle Horton picks the Safety 1st Go Hybrid as one of the top car seats for innovation, saying it's a nice lightweight option for travelers and families who want a seat that can convert from a forward-facing harness seat to a booster. But the seat is not the best option for kids under 2, and installation can be difficult without LATCH, she says.
Review: Babble Blogger Favorites: Infant and Toddler Car Seats, Michelle Horton, Nov. 12, 2012
Review Credibility: Fair In addition to top picks, the editors of BabyGizmo.com offer an overview of what to look for in booster seats and links for further reading. The Safety 1st Go Hybrid is one of their top five picks for booster seats, but there is no accompanying review and the methodology is unclear.
Review: Booster Car Seats, Editors of BabyGizmo.com, Not dated