Sunshine Kids Monterey Booster: great seat for big kids that still need a boost.

Jul 9, 2010 (Updated Nov 1, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:high weight limit, cupholders, LATCHable, easy to install and use

Cons:More expensive than some other boosters, but totally worth it.

The Bottom Line: This seat is easy to use and grows with your child. I would definitely recommend this for any child that is ready for a booster.

We purchased this seat when the baby outgrew his infant seat so that we could pass down 4.5’s Radian and moved him to the Sunshine Kids’ Monterey booster. We soon learned that he wasn’t mature enough for a booster so we moved the Nautilus from my mom’s car to ours for him to use on a daily basis and used this seat as a backup seat. He is now 5.5 and does well in a booster so we passed down the Nautilus to my neice who needed it and put him full-time into the booster.

From the manufacturer:
Monterey combines exceptional booster performance with unique versatility. Monterey expands in width and adjusts in height to fit children as they grow up to 63" tall and 120 lbs. It features 7" deep, aluminum reinforced sides lined with energy-absorbing EPS foam for real side-impact protection and integrated UAS connectors for a safe and secure installation in seconds. Monterey's extra long seat bottom with thick foam padding provides proper leg support and total comfort and the cup holders are extra deep and angled to keep drinks upright. It packs flat for convenience and can also be used as a backless booster.
- For children up to 63" tall and 120 lbs
- Height adjusts to 11 different positions
- Sides expand to 20" for growing child
- UAS connectors for a secure fit
- Reinforced sides lined with EPS foam provide side impact protection
- Special EPE bottom cushion for superior comfort
- Longer seat bottom for leg support
- Extra-deep cup holders
- 2 recline positions
- Rubber bottom pads for secure installation

Weight limits are 30-120 lbs in the U.S. and 40-120 lbs in Canada.

Car seat safety experts recommend keeping children harnessed to the limits of their seat. Remember that every step forward in car seats (RF to FF, harness to booster, booster to just seatbelt) is a step down in safety so don’t make the switch until it is necessary. Most children are not ready for a booster until 5 or 6 years old. They must not only meet the weight limits, but also have the maturity to sit still for the entire ride without wiggling around, bending forward, trying to get out of the seat, falling asleep and slouching over, or otherwise moving in a way that prevents the seatbelt from doing its job properly.

The top position for the seatbelt guides is 20”. The guides should be at or above your child’s shoulders. It also converts to a no-back booster.

Ease of use

It is very easy to adjust the height of the belt guides. The belt guides are the open type which is safer than the closed type guides like on the Alpha Omega seats – if the child leans forward, it allows the seatbelt to retract as the child sits back. With the closed guides, the seatbelt stays loose when the child leans back.

The lap belt guides position the lap belt very low on the child’s hips, which is safest. The lap belt should not be across the child’s stomach as this can cause severe internal injuries (“seatbelt syndrome”).

The sides of the booster move in and out to allow for room as the child grows. This is easy to adjust using a knob on the back of the seat.

This booster seat is equipped with lower LATCH tethers to keep the seat in place. This does nothing to keep the child safe in an accident, however, it will keep the seat from flying around the interior of the vehicle when unoccupied. If it is not LATCHed, it must be belted in with the seatbelt when unoccupied so that it does not injure other passengers.

The back is detachable from the base. It attaches by placing the seat upside down, sliding the tabs into the tabs on the back of the seat, and then rotating the seat forward to snap the back into place. This is also useful to match the angle of the backrest to the vehicle seat. If the child’s shoulders pass the belt guides in the top position but they do not pass the “5-step test” to be able to use the seatbelt without a booster, then you can remove the back of the booster to use just the seat portion.

Please note that you cannot use this seat, or any other booster seat, with a lap-only belt. It must be used with a lap-shoulder belt.


There is EPS foam completely surrounding the child’s head for safety and comfort. The padding on the rest of the seat is sufficient. He has not been in any long trips in this seat yet but has never complained of being uncomfortable.


This seat, like all booster seats, is not allowed to be used on airplanes. (The main purpose of a booster is to position the child so that the shoulder belt fits correctly. There is no shoulder belt on airplanes.)
The seat weighs 15.65 lbs.
You can purchase a travel bag separately for $26.99.


There is a 6 year expiration. Go here for a great article on the expiration dates of car seats.


This seat was purchased from Dear Born Baby on clearance for $99. It retails for $179.99. It is no longer sold at that store, but can be purchased from the manufacturer at

The colours are very handsome.  It is available in grey, grey/pink, black/red, black, and silver/black. It doesn't look like a baby seat at all and looks very nice in grey next to the baby's grey Radian.


I would definitely recommend this seat. It is easy to use, adjusts to fit the child well, and has LATCH so I don’t have to remember to strap it in when unoccupied.

My other car seat reviews:
Evenflo Embrace infant bucket seat
Cosco Alpha Omega Elite "All-in-1" convertible seat
Sunshine Kids Radian80/Premier convertible seat
Graco Nautilus combination seat

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