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IIHS Reports Booster Seats Are Safer Now Than They Were in 2008

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48 out of 53 booster seats tested by the IIHS earned the highest safety rating possible of Best Bet

Kids between the ages 4-8 are 45% less likely to be injured in a car accident when using a booster

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently tested the effectiveness of 53 booster seats; 48 of them earned the highest overall safety rating of Best Bet.

Booster seats are meant for kids who’ve outgrown harness-equipped restraints, but still need to use something until a typical safety belt will fit around them in the correct manner. A safety belt should fit over the top of a kid’s upper thighs and across their shoulder. If a belt rests over their abdomen or across their neck, then the safety belt is not in the correct position.

The ratings for all 53 booster seats were determined by measuring how the three-point lap and shoulder belts fit around a dummy that was the size of a child. These evaluations were performed on a stationary test fixture and measurements were taken using the four safety belt designs found in family automobiles. It should be noted these evaluations only tested how the belts fit around the child-size dummy and that no actual crash tests were performed to judge the effectiveness of any booster seat.

48 out of 53 booster seats tested by the IIHS earned the highest safety rating possible of Best Bet

The tests measured how child-size dummies fit in each booster seat

As previously mentioned, 48 of the 53 booster seats tested were able to earn the top safety score possible. This is a drastic improvement from the first time the IIHS tested the effectiveness of booster seats in 2008. Only 25% of those seats tested back then earned Best Bet ratings.

“Parents looking for a safe option for kids who have outgrown seats with built-in harnesses have more choices than ever,” said Jessica Jermakian, IIHS Senior Research Engineer. “Unfortunately, we can’t declare total victory because manufacturers continue to sell subpar boosters.”

There were two booster seats in the recent IIHS safety test which earned Not Recommended ratings. Those were the Cosco Highback 2-in-1 DX and the Cosco Easy Elite. Both of these models are from Dorel Juvenile, and each earned ratings of Not Recommended due to unacceptable lap belt fit.

“Dorel has a long history of producing BEST BETs, and this year alone the company introduced seven of them,” said Jermakian. “It’s disappointing that they would introduce boosters that don’t do their job when they clearly know how to do it right.”

Three other booster seats earned Check Fit ratings because they work for only certain kids in specific vehicles.

The most affordable booster seat to earn a Best Bet rating from the IIHS is the Harmony Big Boost Deluxe. It can be purchased for less than $20 at Wal-Mart.

Video: Most Boosters Earn Top Rating, Bad Designs Slip Through

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