The best car seat is the one that fits your child, vehicle, budget, and lifestyle and has the features important to you. The safest car seat is the one you can install correctly and use properly on every ride! Let us know in the comment section what questions you have about this review of the Ride Safer Travel Vest. And if you want to compare car seats and let us help you find your recommended car seats, our Car Seat Buying Kits are your best bet!
Ride Safer Travel Vest Review (US)
The Ride Safer Travel Vest is a wearable booster seat alternative for children. It works by bringing the seatbelt down to your child’s level rather than boosting them up. While we suggest its use for children aged 5 and above, the manufacturer approves it for those as young as 2. Offered in four sizes, the vest accommodates a variety of age groups/child sizes. It’s a great option for tight 3 across configurations since it only takes up as much space as the child does. But it’s not as easy to use as a traditional car seat.
A wearable booster alternative
Ideally from 5+, but can be used with younger children when needed
Manufacturer’s minimum age is 2+, our minimum age recommendation is 5+, can be used until child fits the seat belt properly (10-12)
What you need to know before you go.*
- height limit: Extra Small (29-40″), Small (35-48″), Large (45-57″), Extra Large (55-64″)
- weight limit: Extra Small (22-40#), Small (30-60#), Large (50-80#), Extra Large (80-100#)
- head height rules: child must have vehicle head support to at least the top of their ears
Other Seat Stats
- width of seat: as wide as the child who is using it
- weight of seat: 1.5 pounds
- crash replacement policy: Replace after any moderate to severe crash.
- expiration limits: 10 years
*Head to the Car Seat Buying Kits for a complete database of all car seat stats for our recommended car seats.
✅ Seat is Good for You If:
✅ You frequently use Lyft/Uber/Taxis.
This seat only weighs 1.5 lbs and comes with a backpack to carry it in. This makes it the lightest option available for booster age kids. It works well in most vehicles and is easy to use after some practice.
✅ You travel often.
This seat is much smaller than a traditional car seat or booster. You can easily pack it into your carry-on luggage so that you can have it ready upon arrival in your destination. It’s also easy to carry around if you’ll be mostly using public transportation instead of renting a vehicle.
✅ You need to fit 3 across.
You can’t get anything smaller than this vest. If you have a tight 3 across situation, it may work well to have your oldest child in the center seat with this vest. In most vehicles, this would allow you to have 2 narrow car seats in the outboard seating positions. For other 3 across car seat options, check out our post here.
✅ You have a higher percentile child who has reached 65 pounds before they are mature enough for a booster.
Occasionally we see kids reaching 65 pounds before they are old enough or mature enough for a high back booster. In these circumstances, we find that the Ride Safer Travel Vest is a good option since there are no longer any conventional car seats that harness a child above 65 pounds. The vest has an optional top tether that can be used to keep the child sitting upright. You are also allowed to lock the seat belt if needed.
✅ You have an older vehicle with lap-only seat belts.
If you have an older vehicle with lap-only seat belts and your child is not able to sit rear-facing any longer, the Ride Safer Travel Vest is your best option. In this scenario, you will need to use the top tether. If your vehicle does not have a top tether anchorage, you will need an additional accessory called the RideSafer Energy Absorbing Tether Anchor Loop. This allows you to create a top tether anchorage that can be used with the vest. The vest and top tether together help distribute the forces of a crash so that they are not all concentrated in the lap belt area on the child’s body.
🚩 Use Caution If:
🚩Your child is below 5 years of age.
We don’t recommend using it below 5 years of age in most circumstances, but there are some exceptions. If your child has reached 65 pounds and they are below 5 years of age, this vest is a better choice than a booster since it does have the top tether anchor to help keep them in place. If you are using Ubers/Lyfts and will sit by the child at all times, the Ride Safer Travel Vest may work for a child younger than 5 as well. It would depend on the child and if they are able to sit properly with constant reminders or not. Wayb Pico may be a better option for younger children; you can see our review of that seat here.
🚩You want something easy to use.
The Ride Safer Travel Vest is not as easy to use as a traditional harnessed car seat or booster. With some practice, an older child should be able to get themselves in and out of the vest. But grandparents and other caregivers may find this vest challenging to use in comparison to other options.
️ Stand Out Features:
The Ride Safer Travel Vest comes with an optional top tether. There are a few circumstances in which you may wish to utilize it. If you have a tight 3 across situation, having the top tether attached means you can leave the vest hanging in the vehicle and the child can get in and out of the vehicle a little more easily. If you are using the vest because your child is above 65 pounds, but too young/too immature for a booster, the top tether will help keep them sitting up. If you have a vehicle with a lap-only seat belt, the top tether must be used.
4 different sizes
The vest comes in 4 different sizes. There is some overlap between the heights and weights of the size options. You can find a detailed size chart here. The Extra Large Size can even work for teenagers/small adults if they are unable to sit properly in the seat belt alone due to medical conditions/disabilities.
Lightweight and comes with a backpack
As we’ve mentioned in this post already, this vest is only 1.5 pounds! It comes with a cute mesh backpack to carry it around in. It can be a great option for carpooling as it’s easier for your child to carry to school than a backless booster would be.
▶️ YouTube Videos:
⚠️ Quirks to Be Aware Of:
⚠️ Not as easy to use as a conventional car seat
This seat has many advantages over conventional seats like its ability to work in most 3 across situations, its lightweight design and its higher weight limit. However, placing a child in it can be a bit challenging initially than a harnessed seat is. Though with practice, it becomes more manageable over time.
✈️ Airplane Use
The Ride Safer Travel Vest cannot be used on an airplane. It does not have FAA-approval. It is still a great option for traveling though, because you can easily fit it into your carry-on luggage or backpack so that it’s ready for the child to use on arrival at your destination.
SITS Bottom Line
The Ride Safer Travel Vest is optimal for those who frequently use ridesharing services or taxis, as it is lightweight at 1.5 pounds and comes with a carrying backpack. It’s also an ideal choice for travelers because of its compact size, which fits easily into carry-on luggage, and its adaptability for public transportation use. For tight vehicle seating arrangements, this vest is perfect due to its compact nature, allowing for a snug 3-across seating configuration. Additionally, it’s a beneficial option for heavier children who surpass the 65 pound weight limit of conventional car seats before they’re mature enough for a booster. The vest is equipped with a top tether, making it a suitable option for older vehicles with lap-only seat belts. Overall, it’s an option that will work well in situations when a conventional car seat will not be a good choice. However, the vest may not be recommended for children under 5 years of age unless specific circumstances apply.
Compare Car Seats
Looking to compare car seats and narrow down the best car seat for your family? The Forward-Facing and Booster Buying Kit walks you through our 7Cs of selection, then on to an interactive quiz, and finally, a recommended car seat list is generated just for you! If you are overwhelmed and sick of spending hours researching and reading car seat reviews like this one, the Buying Kit will guide you to Safe in the Seat’s recommended car seats for you in under 30 minutes!
Check out this Amazon Live for more seats we recommend and the standout features we love.
What About Seats We Don’t Recommend?
Just like anyone, we have preferences! This goes for car seats, too. If we don’t recommend a car seat, it’s not because it’s unsafe for your little one. All car seats are safe if they’re installed and used properly, are not expired or damaged, and when they’re made and sold by a reputable manufacturer and/or retailer. Click here for our full list of car seats that we do not recommend.
A note about crash-tests
How does the Ride Safer Travel Vest perform in crash tests?
Well, that’s a great question. We know that it passes the strict federally required testing that applies to all car seats sold in the United States. But we don’t know exactly how it performs. That data isn’t released by any official sources in the US — not by car seat manufacturers, not by government agencies like NHTSA, not anywhere!
There are a few third-party websites that claim to offer objective crash test data for a variety of car seats. But we at Safe in the Seat don’t pay attention to that data for a few big reasons. First of all, third-party crash tests don’t actually give us meaningful data! Car seat manufacturers crash test their products hundreds, even upwards of a thousand times. They crash test the finished product in every single installation configuration using every applicable-sized crash test dummy, not to mention a whole lot of testing at each stage of the development process too. So one or two crash tests completed by another organization just can’t give the same level of information! One or two crash tests aren’t going to represent the overall average performance of any car seat across its lifespan.
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