The Cosco Juvenile Pronto Booster Car Seat has the distinction of being one of the least expensive seats on the shelf at the local Wal-Mart. This fact alone precipitated its purchase, since the necessity for it arose in-between paydays. It was on sale for $35, and came home to accommodate the needs of a larger-than-average 2 ½-year-old boy.
In general, the Cosco Juvenile Pronto Booster is recommended for children who have outgrown the convertible forward-facing car seats with 5-point harnesses. This seat is a sturdy booster base that allows a child to sit about 6” higher than on the seat alone, and the removable high back has a seatbelt guide so that you can comfortably adjust it to your child’s current height.
The entire seat is made of the same tough plastic as standard car seats, and has a semi-slick padded fabric cover. Frankly, the padding is pretty sparse. The foam does grab the plastic nicely to keep it from slipping and sliding, but it’s thin enough that this seat is rock-hard. The semi-slick nature of the fabric makes it easy to wipe clean after spills or accidents. Of all the features, this has been one of the most helpful—that, and the cover is easy to remove and machine wash.
For long car rides—or if your child just doesn’t like to go far without a sippy full of water—there is a cup holder on the side that fits most standard cups and bottles up to about 20oz. It’s a little difficult for a child to slide in and out, so just get it in the position you want before you start driving. The good news is, it’ll probably stay where you put it since it’s so stiff.
Let’s face it, this is a $35 seat – I’ve seen it online for as much as $50. It’s not fancy, and the people who buy it probably don’t expect to get fancy. It’s hard, but sturdy and nestles into the seat well. It doesn’t attach to the car itself like a car seat, but instead offers a sturdy perch from which a child can be securely buckled into the vehicle’s built-in seatbelt. It’s exceptionally easy to move from one vehicle to the next, which has come in extremely useful for switch-offs between my son’s two homes.
The back does come off easily during moves, though it securely hooks into the base when it’s in place in the car. My son was able to work the cup holder himself by age five, so it may not be an issue for someone a little further down the growth percentiles. He stopped needing the seatbelt guides at age four but, as stated, he’s quite tall – his best friend used similar guides until age seven. When the child is done with those guides, the base can be used by itself without the back. My son could easily carry the seat from one vehicle to another by himself once the back came off, as well as adjust it properly and buckle himself in.
While the armrests are a nice idea, they’re too low once kids get older. Luckily, my son spent most of his long rides in a captain’s seat, so he was able to use the armrests on the vehicle seat itself.
Laws regarding booster seat use will vary according to where you live, but there’s a good chance that this is the only seat you’ll need until such time as your child no longer needs a booster. My son used this seat until he was seven years old, but it was only replaced then due to expiration. Car seat manufacturers – and boosters are no different – recommend replacing this equipment every five years. It still looked like it was in great shape, but apparently the plastic can get brittle over time and no longer offer protection. If your child starts using the seat at the more standard age of 4-6, then it’ll probably last until the legal “no booster” age of 9-12.