Choosing the right car seat for your child once you’re ready to forward-face isn’t always as easy as you’d think. You can certainly ride out the life-expectancy of your convertible car seat; but at some point, you’ll need to promote your child to a booster seat. Of course, it’s gotta be safe, but you also want a car seat that is relatively easy to install and comfortable for your child. Furthermore, considering we don’t love the idea of moving any kid straight into a belt-positioning booster seat, you’ll want to look for a high-back booster seat that offers an internal 5-point harness with the option to move to a belt-positioning booster as your child gets bigger.
With that in mind, Recaro’s Performance Sport Combination Car Seat is for children that are at least 2 years old and over thirty pounds. We love it for a variety of reasons, but we especially love that it will likely be the last forward-facing car seat your child will ever need. Read on to discover more about this incredible combination car seat.
Why a Harnessed Booster?
These days, many convertible car seats have a maximum weight limit of 60 lbs and a maximum height requirement of 46 inches, which would easily fit an average 4 year old. However, we’ve found that most preschoolers think their convertible car seat is for babies, and are anxious to graduate to something made specifically for big kids, especially if their friends have already made the move.
You may be tempted to buy a much less expensive belt-positioning booster seat based on the minimum requirements printed on the side of the box, but there’s a lot more to consider before you ditch the 5-point harness.
- Can your child sit still (remaining upright) while the vehicle is in motion?
- Can your child use a seat belt properly?
- Can your child keep their seat belt fastened while driving?
In most cases, a child under the age of 4 is no where close to being ready for a belt-positioning booster. Many parents would argue that their 6 year old still isn’t ready. However, most kids (4 and older) would prefer the look and feel of a booster seat over a convertible car seat.
Assuming that your child isn’t quite ready for a seat-positioning or backless booster seat, but they want to be one of the “cool kids,” we recommend the Recaro Performance SPORT.
German engineered and American manufactured, Recaro has been designing seating for cars, airliners, and race cars for over 100 years. All of that experience translates into racing-inspired designs that protect during side-impact incidents better than any other car seat on the market today. Specifically, with the Performance Sport, the enhanced head wings shield the head and face for added safety, reinforcements at the sides, hips, and thighs help stabilize the torso and pelvis.
Given the fatality rate of a side-impact collision as compared to head-on or rear collisions, we love that Recaro makes side-impact protection and force reduction a priority. In fact, they pride themselves on designing safe products that live up to the Recaro name.
Recaro’s Performance Sport
The Performance SPORT is a combination seat, meaning that you can use it both as a forward-facing harnessed seat and as a high-back booster seat. Specifically, the Performance Sport is designed to be used as a 5-point harness seat forward-facing from 20 to 65 pounds, and between 27″ to 49″ tall.
For children between 30 to 120 lbs and 37″ to 59″ tall, it can be used as a high-back booster. Whether you are using this seat as a harnessed seat or booster, we love these high weight and height limits.
We recommend that your child be kept in the 5-point forward-facing position until they outgrow the weight and height limits, and remain in the high-back booster mode until they can safely meet the criteria below:
- Shoulder belt sits directly in the middle of child’s shoulder
- Lap belt sits low on child’s thighs
- Child’s bottom is located at the intersection of the lower and upper vehicle seats
- Child’s knees do not bend until they are past the bottom seat’s edge
- Child’s feet rest flat on the floor
- Child can sit in the proper position for as long as the vehicle is in motion without moving
Available in 10 color options, the Performance Sport is 19″ wide at its widest point and 17″ wide at the base. The seat back is 27″ high and the seat is 14″ long in depth; and there are 3 crotch strap buckles at 6″, 7″, and 8” to fit any child safely.
Safe, Comfortable and Convenient
Straight out-of-the-box, you’ll immediately notice that the Performance Sport is built solid. At 28 lbs, while a bit difficult to carry around or move between cars, it is designed with safety in mind.
It’s also a fairly uncomplicated car seat to install and use, whether in front-facing or booster mode. We’ve had the pleasure of installing quite a few car seats, and we find that the Performance Sport’s instruction manual makes installation a snap. Each step is very clear and the illustrations are easy to follow; and when you’re done with the manual, you can tuck it into the manual pocket on the side of the seat.
Much like many car seats, you’ll find that the built-in LATCH system with storage and universal top tether is pretty straightforward, making for a quick install that is easily adjusted. With its convenient lift lever, the EasyAdjust, five-point harness and headrest can be customized to properly fit your growing child.
Speaking of adjustable, we found that the crotch buckle is one of the most adjustable ones we’ve seen. There are three slots that allow you to get the buckle into the most safe and comfortable position for almost any child’s size. We’ve sometimes found ourselves digging the bottom buckle out from under our child’s bottom. That is not the case with the Performance Sport.
HERO Harness System
You’ll find that the five-point harness is rather simple to adjust; however you’ll want to adjust it before you install the seat in your car. Simply pull the handle behind the seat and move the bar to the proper harness height. We found that while it does require a little bit of force to move the bar, it’s nothing compared to the effort expected of a re-thread harness.
Additionally, Recaro continues to include their HERO Harness System in the Performance Sport that has been present in their other seats. The HERO system is an exclusive, twist-resistant system that positions the seat’s shoulder pads correctly to ensure the best neck, head and shoulder fit. Not only does it take the frustration out of shoulder pads that are constantly sliding up and down the harness straps, but you’ll be more likely to adjust the chest clip in the correct position to protect your child in the event of a collision (just read some of the reviews from customers who had the unfortunate experience of a collision on their website and you’ll be sold!).
Please note that when you convert the seat from a forward-facing mode to a harnessed mode, you do need to remove the harness; but converting the Performance Sport from harness to booster mood is quite simple. Simply remove the crotch buckle, HERO system and harness straps (explained in the manual). Just be sure that you store everything you take off the seat in a safe place because you’ll need it if you ever plan to use the seat in harness mode again.
Finally, the Performance SPORT is a comfortable seat. Specifically, the Cloud Comfort memory foam and luxurious, temperature balancing fabrics with CoolMesh set this seat apart from all the rest; and the ergonomic shell structure offers maximum comfort. And let’s not forget those mesh storage pockets. While it may not seem like a big deal to you, kids love pockets, especially ones that can hold their drink, sunglasses, crayons or whatever else they want to hang onto.
When having a comfortable car seat can make or break car travel, we can all appreciate a car seat that our kids find comfortable.
Features to Love
Do You Love the Performance Sport As Much As We do?
If you’re interested in seeing what other carseats we love, check out these Car Seat Guides (plus DISCOVER: GEAR for all our gear guides in one place!):
Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk