Car seat safety should never take a back seat. Even if you’re traveling abroad, navigating city transportation, or squeezing your kids into a 3-across situation, car seat safety must remain a top priority. However, there are situations where meeting all the safety requirements doesn’t feel practical or even possible. 

The folks at Safe Traffic Systems saw this problem and realized thousands of families were opting for unsafe travel solutions due to various transportation challenges. So, they created the RideSafer Travel Vest, which is an alternative to traditional boosters. Here’s what you need to know about the RideSafer Vest:

What’s the RideSafer Travel Vest?

The RideSafer Travel Vest functions as a belt-positioning booster. Unlike a traditional booster seat that lifts the child up to properly position the seat belt, the vest actually brings the seat belt down to properly fit the child. It looks very different from the car seats and boosters we’re used to. But it is compliant with all National Highway Traffic Safety Association guidelines, including FMVSS 213

The RideSafer Vest comes in sizes XS – XL, fitting children from 22 lbs – 110 lbs. However, we always recommend children be rear-facing as long as possible. We do not condone the use of the RideSafer Travel Vest until at least age 4, except in some special circumstances that we’ll talk about below! 

This child restraint system may look complicated, and the initial setup can be finicky. But once the vest is fitted correctly to the child, it’s no more difficult on a day-to-day basis than buckling a traditional 5-point harness! However, since you have to size up your RideSafer Vest every 30 lbs or so, it’s definitely not cheaper than traditional for long-term use. 

So, what is the appeal of the RideSafer Vest? We’ll discuss a few reasons the RideSafer Vest might be right for you:

3-Across Situations 

Some parents need to put three car seats in one row. This can be difficult with a large SUV or van, let alone a compact car! There are plenty of car seats out there that work with 3-across situations. But if you’re struggling to find a configuration that works, RideSafer Vests can be a favorable alternative to poorly installed or poorly fitting car seats for the sake of the 3-in-a-row configuration

3 Across Car Seats

Frequent Travel (Especially International) 

When you travel by plane, car seat safety doesn’t just go out the window! We abide by FAA recommendations, which state that any passenger under 40lbs should ride in their FAA-approved harnessed car seat on planes. But what about those big kids?! Belt-positioning booster seats can’t be used on airplanes. But even if a child is big enough to safely fit the airplane seatbelt, they still need a safe solution at their destination until they pass the five-step test.

Parents have a few options for their booster-ready fliers. They can choose a high-back booster that folds small enough to go in the overhead bin, or they can have their child carry a backless booster on board as their personal item and store it under the airplane seat. Or the parent can store a RideSafer Travel Vest in a carry-on bag and just unfold it at the destination, ready to go!

A RideSafer Vest can be a great way to bring a safe child restraint system with you, without the hassle of a bulky car seat or booster. (However, the Wayb Pico Portable Car Seat is a better solution to this problem for 2-5 year olds, in our opinion. Read our Wayb Pico Review here.) You can learn more about safe airport travel on the blog and through our Wheels Up Course

Taxi and Rideshare Commutes 

If you frequently use city transportation like taxis or Uber, the RideSafer Vest is a great way to ensure your child stays safe on every commute. It’s true that some rideshares have a car seat and booster seat option, but we don’t recommend using these! You don’t know how the seat has been installed, cleaned, and utilized over the years. So there’s no way to determine that it can do its job and protect your child in a crash. With a RideSafer Vest, you can be certain of your child’s safety in the back of a cab or rideshare without needing to schlep around a large car seat!


Carpools or regular vehicle hopping may be another reason to use a RideSafer Vest. If you have younger children joining a carpool, using a car seat or booster may not be possible or practical. They can’t take their bulky seats to school or daycare with them. However, they could take a RideSafer Vest with them, as long as the driver knows how to properly buckle them. (Here are more carpool tips.) 

Young Children Over 65 lbs

Currently, the highest harness weight limit commercially available in the US and Canada is 65lbs — and the minimum recommended age for safe booster seat use is 5 years old. So what options are there for younger kids who outgrow their harnessed car seats before they’re booster-ready?!

There are adaptive car seat options out there with higher harness limits. But these are incredibly expensive, difficult to obtain, and usually require a prescription from the child’s doctor as well as input from a car seat technician with extra training for these situations. Heavier children who don’t have a specific disability or medical diagnosis may not qualify for insurance coverage of these specialized car seats at all.

Fortunately, the RideSafer Travel Vest can be a useful tool when we need to fill this gap in the conventional market!

While the RideSafer Travel Vest is a belt-positioning product, and we don’t normally recommend it before age 4, it can be the best option for kids aged two to four who have outgrown all the standard harnessed car seat options. Parents can use the top tether attachment that comes with the vest. And they can lock the vehicle seatbelt to help the child stay in place. So the child doesn’t have as much freedom of movement as they would in a regular booster.

And thanks to its extended sizing up to 110lbs, it can be a good option even for older kids who have certain disabilities or behavioral challenges that make it difficult for them to sit correctly in a traditional booster — either while a family waits months for an adaptive seat. Or, in some cases, to replace the need for an adaptive seat altogether. Please note: we strongly encourage parents of children who need unconventional vehicle travel accommodations to contact a child passenger safety technician with training in special circumstances to get help finding the best option for their child!

How To Use Ridesafer Travel Vest

Step One: Install the top tether.

That top tether will be the first thing we’ll install! Attach the side with a single hook to the top tether anchor on the back of the vehicle seat (refer to your vehicle manual if needed). Place the Y-shaped side of the top tether through the headrest bars and leave it for now. 

P.S. If you have an older vehicle with lap-only seatbelts, you will need the top tether to use the RideSafer Vest. Another reason to make sure you get that tether! 

Step Two: Fit the vest and crotch strap onto your child. 

Next, put the vest on your child. The vest is made up of a variety of adjustable straps and loops to get the best fit. However, it doesn’t need to be tight like a car seat — as long as we get that perfect seatbelt fit!

Buckle the center panel, adjust the back straps, and fasten the crotch strap. The crotch strap should be threaded through a loop on the bottom panel and velcroed between the legs. Each of the straps and panels should have a neutral tension on the child. Not too loose, not too tight. 

Step Three: Ensure the bottom panel is resting on your child’s thighs. 

Now your child is ready to get in the car for the rest of the adjustments. Place them in their seat and ensure the bottom panel is resting on top of your child’s thighs, not on their stomach with the center panel. 

Step Four: Thread the seat belt through the vest and buckle.

Next, go ahead and buckle the seat belt as usual. Then, attach the lap belt to the clips on the bottom panel. And then attach the shoulder belt to the clip on the shoulder strap. You’ll find the shoulder belt clips under a velcro panel with the “RideSafer” logo on it. And you can slide this hardware up or down on the vest panel to achieve the right placement. These clips are the most important part of the vest because it properly fits the seat belt to the child’s body. 

Step Five: Attach the top tether to the vest.

That top tether should be hanging out behind your child’s neck just below the headrest. Attach those clips to the metal loops on the back of the RideSafer Vest. The top tether feature helps keep the child seated upright — it’s the reason the vest provides a bit more movement restriction than a normal booster seat. And it’s why the vest can be the best option for younger kids who’ve outgrown all traditional harnessed car seats! You can also lock the vehicle seatbelt as an extra measure of positioning support.

Step Six: Remind your child how to sit safely. 

If your child is used to a 5-point harness seat, the RideSafer Vest will be a big change. Though it provides some support, maintaining the right body position is much harder in the RideSafer Vest. Your child’s legs don’t yet bend over the front of the seat. So many kids naturally slouch and wiggle forward to get comfortable, creating a huge (and dangerous) gap between them and the vehicle seat. Instead, encourage your child to sit criss-cross-applesauce if that’s more comfortable. (This isn’t an option in a normal booster because it can cause a dangerous lap belt fit. But the vest can keep the seatbelt in the proper position even with the child’s legs crossed.)

Remind your child how to sit upright and maintain good positioning. If you feel like your child can’t keep the correct posture, the RideSafer Vest is not the best choice for your family. This is one of the big reasons we don’t recommend it for younger kids. Though the RideSafer Vest technically fits a wide age range, it’s definitely not the right fit for every child. This is why we think a traditional booster or car seat is all-around a better option for most families. 

A RideSafer Vest is a safe booster seat alternative, but it’s not right for every family. 

The RideSafer Vest was definitely needed in the market. It fills an important niche for travel, challenging 3-across car seat configurations, or children who can’t use traditional booster seats. And using it in a taxi, rideshare, or carpooling situation is better than graduating to a seat belt too soon. However, it’s not a replacement for traditional harnessed car seats or booster seats. And in general, we’d recommend using more traditional restraint products whenever appropriate. There is a reason for this awesome invention, but make sure it’s right for your family before making the purchase. 

Our Full Ride Safer Travel Vest Review: click here

If you’re looking for more info about car seat safety and different types of car seats, visit the Safe in the Seat blog and Instagram. We share expert advice on car seat safety every day to keep your whole family safe in their seats! 

Affiliate links are included above. Safe in the Seat earns a small commission when you purchase through these links with no cost to you. We so appreciate your support.

Use Code: TARGET for 15% off Car Seat Buying Kits!

Skip to content