Sturdy Booster with GREAT side impact protection

Sep 22, 2009 (Updated Sep 24, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:side impact protection, sturdy, LATCHable, comfortable, adjustable width

Cons:small/awkward belt guide, costly, heavy

The Bottom Line: BUY IT! it's a GREAT booster for your Big kid! You will not be dissapointed

The Monterey is a high-back & backless booster for children 40-120lbs & up to about a 20.5 inch torso. It has many features that include several headrest positions, removable cover for washing, EPS foam in the headrest & side-wings, adjustable side-wings and LATCHable (lower anchors). the lifespan of the seat is 6 years from date of manufacture

I bought the Monterey in this beautiful red color 1.5 years ago for my large 8.5yo son who had outgrown the Graco Turbo Booster but still needed the head support as our old vehicle at the time had no headrests as well as the belt fit without a booster was not acceptable.

My son found it to be VERY comfortable & loved the head-wings for when he would nap, never mind the added protection from them. The adjustable width in the shoulder area was great too as my son has wide shoulders & found it comfortable to lean into the side. The shoulder belt laid perfectly on the shoulder and the lap belt was nice & low touching his thighs. 

The Monterey has Lower Anchors available if your vehicle is LATCH equipped. My older van at the time didn't have LATCH but it is perfectly fine not to use the the lower anchors. This feature is more of a convience for those who can't remember to buckle up an empty booster to keep it from being a projectile in an accident. My newer van has LATCH & I take full advantage of using the lower anchors on the Monterey since I have a hard time remembering to buckle up an empty booster.

The cover is removable so you can either change covers or wash it. Its recommended to be hand washed & laid flat to dry. i have washed it in my front loader on gentle/hand wash cycle & hung to dry & has come out very well. The hardest part is taking off the cover. There are several plastic pins to remove & elastic loops to undo. The red fabric in the center is a soft mesh & the outside gray material is a velvety/suede like material.

My biggest beef about the Monterey is in my newer van (01 Grand Caravan). In the 3rd row outboard position the seat belt geometry is just terrible. The belt guide is rather small & the shoulder belt gets twisted & stuck in the guide. we have to be sure to fix it every time my son gets in, but still the belt bunches up. The Monterey does seem to fair better in the 2nd row captain chair. I didn't have the same problem in the older van (94 grand caravan).

The Monterey is WIDE. It can be used in a 3 across situation with maybe the right combo of car seats & wide enough rear seat. The seat is heavy & cumbersome so moving it frequently from car to car is not going to be pleasant.

The Monterey offers great leg support for long legged children. The bottom however is tapered in the rear so super wide bums may not fit very well. The width in the rear is comparable to the Graco Turbos bottom maybe a wee bit wider.

The Monterey is best suited for larger boostered children. Its width can pose a problem with shoulder belt fit. I'd say it starts to fit the average 5-6yo that is in the mid 40lb range. My above average sized son fit the high back until 10yo, over 90lbs & beyond 4ft 9 in tall.

It is a GREAT booster that I highly recommend. it's super sturdy construction & side impact protection is excellent. just love how it cradles my children. As always its recommended to check the fit with your child AND vehicle to be sure it's an appropriate choice for you.

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