Cybex’s lineup of booster seats has long included some well-featured, brightly-colored, plush options that our reviewers have found themselves quite fond of. That tradition continues with the Solution Z-Fix, a well-padded, very adjustable high back booster seat with rigid lower anchors that comes in a variety of very attractive fashions and has a very high height limit.
CSFTL Quick Stats
Initial Setup and Assembly
The booster must be assembled before use, which means that the back must be attached to the bottom. This is super easy and quick, and when assembled, the Solution Z-Fix feels solid and sturdy. Cybex has cleverly placed assembly instructions right in the front of the manual, where parents and caregivers will find it before usage and fit instructions.
The Solution Z-Fix is not approved for use as a backless booster, it is a high back booster only. This assembly is a one-time process.
Linear Side Impact Protection (L.S.P.)
The Linear Side Protection pods must also be installed when the seat is assembled. This was a fairly easy task — they pop into slots on both sides of the seat’s shell. The pods do make the seat wider than most other boosters, especially since the seat itself gets wider to accommodate a growing child, but probably not the best choice for a side by side or three across setup.
Height and Use Recommendations
Cybex lists the Solution Z-Fix age range from 3-12 years, but we do not recommend booster seats for kids under the age of 5. That’s because children that young aren’t mature enough to sit properly, without wiggling or reaching around for the entire ride and their bones aren’t quite strong enough for the adult seat belt.
I was interested to see that the seat has a generous 38-60 inch height limit, since not all kids are able to get a good belt fit at the 57 inch height limit many boosters offer. The Z-Fix is a high back booster only, so I was hoping that an older child could use this seat to the fullest. We’ll see how an average 12 year old fits later in the review!
Reclining Internal Headrest
The reclining internal headrest offers three positions and support for kids who like to doze in the car. Two out the four models for this review did not notice a major difference between the settings, but the other two preferred the most reclined headrest setting. A comfortable child is more likely to want to use a booster and to be a happier car rider, so if this is something your child might enjoy, the reclining headrest might make this seat a fine option for your kiddo.
The Rigid LATCH feature is easy to use and stow away. The manual states that the Solution Z-Fix must be secured with either the lower anchors or the vehicle belt when not in use. That’s a general guideline that we support for all booster seats. Since the Solution Z-Fix is a bit heavier than most booster seats, it is an especially good idea to follow that rule so it does not become a potential projectile hazard when it is not being used.
Installing the seat with the Rigid LATCH positions the Solution Z-Fix pretty close to the buckle in my 2014 Dodge Durango. The recessed buckles made it difficult for some of my models to buckle up. This is a fairly common struggle with recessed buckles and is more about the vehicle than the booster seat.
Air Vent System
Within the first two weeks of use, I had an unexpectedly early opportunity to remove the seat’s cover when a child stepped in the seat and left a bit of dirt behind. That’s when I noticed the air vents on the base. They’re noted as a feature, but I did not fully appreciate how ventilated the Solution Z-Fix was until I that moment.
The ventilation system extends through the back of the seat, though I hope to not have to wash the entire cover just yet. As an aside, removing the cover on the base was easy, and it was so simple to put back on that my 10 year old model did it on her own. Washing instructions are clearly noted in the manual.
The belt path is clearly marked, the sewn-on labels on the seat are very visible and helpful.
Setup and Installation
The Solution Z-Fix installs easily using the rigid LATCH, though it can be used without these anchors if the vehicle doesn’t have them. Here’s how to get the Solution Z-Fix ready for use:
Squeeze the orange handle on the base to release the lower anchor connectors. Flip the connectors out of their storage spots and attach them to the lower anchors in the vehicle. Squeeze the handle again and push the Solution Z-Fix towards the seat back to secure the booster in place. Cybex requires the seat to sit flush with the vehicle seat.
The indicator on the rigid LATCH connectors turns from red to green when they’re attached correctly.
I preferred using the lower anchor connectors when available, since using them provides stability and means that I won’t have to remember to buckle the seat in when it’s not in use.
Even though the seat is definitely top heavy, it does not wobble or tip backward when sitting on its own.
The booster’s height adjusts via a handle on the back of the headrest. I had difficulty doing this with one hand, because the back of the booster is a bit heavy and has moving parts.
I found that standing above the booster seat helped with gaining access to the adjuster handle. I definitely needed two hands to raise and lower the headrest, but once I had that trick in my toolkit, it was not difficult to do while the seat was installed in my vehicle.
Fit to Child
5 Years Old
Our 5 year old model weighs 42 pounds and is 45 inches tall. She’s used to car seats, but fairly new to booster seats. She is booster ready and takes the responsibility of proper booster behaviour very seriously now — she knows that she has to sit still for the entire ride and she is ready to meet that challenge!
The seat provided a great vehicle seat belt fit and she has lots of room to grow. The Solution Z-Fix was a cushioned and comfortable seat for her. My 2014 Dodge Durango still has the recessed buckles that I mentioned earlier. These buckles gave this kiddo a bit of trouble while she was learning to buckle but she picked it up pretty quickly.
8 Years Old
This 8 year old model weighs 47 pounds and is 47 inches tall. She still uses a high back booster all of the time. Her favorite part of the Solution Z-Fix was the padded back. Unfortunately, she had trouble buckling herself in without assistance but we wouldn’t necessarily blame that on the booster because the belt stalks in my vehicle can pose a challenge.
The vehicle seat belt fit was great, and she had lots of room for growth. She preferred the most reclined headrest setting and felt that it was very comfortable for resting.
10 Years Old
Our 10 year old model weighs 65 pounds and is 52 inches tall. She thinks the Solution Z-Fix is very fancy and futuristic. In most cases, we recommend that children outgrow their high back booster before moving to a backless booster. Since she is well within the height and weight limits for this seat, and it fits her well, she can continue to use it for some time.
Many kids her age and size are already out of booster seats, and legally in our state she does not have to use one. At 10 years old, she understands that safety is very important, and also knows that a good belt fit is more comfortable for her. She did not have a preference about the headrest setting, but liked how supportive the headwings are, perfect for a nap!
She loved the color and styling of the seat.
12 Years Old
This model is 12 years old. He weighs 75 pounds and is 58 inches tall. In some seating positions, he passes the Five Step Test so he no longer needs a booster seat to fit the adult seat belt properly most of the time but he was kind enough to model the Solution Z-Fit for us. This seat has a maximum height of 60 inches tall, making it a viable option for children who don’t quite pass the Five Step Test yet.
While he may not fit for very long at that top headrest setting, I was pleasantly surprised that he could still use the seat. He prefers larger headwings for support and because they seem to help prevent him from getting carsick.
Important Information – Where to Find
Manual storage – There is a handy manual storage spot in the cover on the back of the seat. A tag with a picture of a manual indicates the spot where it will be. Cybex also offers a manual in many languages online in case yours is lost!
Date of Manufacture Label – This label is on the bottom of the base, and this position is noted in the manual as well.
FAA Approval – Like all belt positioning boosters, the Cybex Solution Z-Fix is not FAA approved. As indicated in the manual, a lap only belt cannot be used with the booster, so it cannot be used on the plane.
The Solution Z-Fix is a stylish and long lasting booster seat option. It is heavy and on the higher end of the pricing scale, but has premium styling and ease of use and safety features that we’ve come to expect from the Cybex brand. The rigid lower anchor connectors are a welcome feature, allowing for more stability and keeping the seat secure when not in use, which is a big help for me, a busy mom with four regular back seat riders. I have one less thing to remember to do, and that’s great!
While the weather is not yet warm enough for us to need the air vents, I can see them in the seat and I definitely see how they’d be very useful. In summer, a seat that is beefy and enclosed, like the Solution Z-Fix, could be hot or trap heat, so the vents designed by Cybex are a clever addition.
With the generous height and weight limits, this high back booster may fit the needs of parents and caregivers who are looking for a premium option. The styling wows and impresses even the most picky of car seat users, and I’ve also had several adults tell me how fancy and cool it looked. Cybex has done a great job with this booster, I can definitely see us continuing to use this booster seat for some time to come.
Cybex is giving away TWO of these plush booster seats, one to a user in the United States and one to a user in Canada. Please read our Terms and Conditions, then enter below for your chance to win!
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This content was originally published here.