Best Bet For Childhood Booster Seats
The organization known for its crash tests to make cars safer has just released the findings from another study. This one is especially important for anyone with kids.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety took a look at booster seats to find out how well they're protecting children.
Having your child in a booster seat, safety experts say, is one of the best ways to protect him or her in a car. Once they've outgrown their car seat, around the age of four, they should move into a booster seat.
Studies show that when kids between 4 and 8 are in a booster, they're much less likely to be injured in a crash than kids who are just wearing a seatbelt. But according to the Institute for Highway Safety, having the right booster can make all of the difference.
"With a good booster, the lap belt should lie flat across the upper thighs, not riding up on the tummy," said Jessica Jermakian, senior research scientist with the Institute.
"And the shoulder belt should fit snuggly across the center of the shoulder. It's not sliding off the shoulder or riding up onto the neck."
The Institute tested dozens of booster seats and found 58 new and current models earned top ratings or are what the Institute calls a best bet.
"A best bet booster correctly positions belts on a typical 4-8 year old child in almost any car, minivan, or SUV," Jermakian explained. "If a booster earns a best bet rating, it means that parents can move that seat from vehicle to vehicle and it should provide a good belt fit every time."
Booster seats that work in most vehicles were rated "good bets." A few got a "check fit" rating which means the seats may provide a good fit in some vehicles but parents should check to make sure.
Two booster seats got a "not recommended" rating. They are the Safety 1st All in One and the Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite.
"Booster seat manufacturers are responding to our ratings. Parents should have an easier time finding a top rated booster seat because there are more of them this year than ever before," Jermakian stated.
And you can spend as little or as much as you want to for the top rated or best bet boosters.
The Graco Connext backless seat sells for around $18, while the most expensive one on the list, the Ferrari Beline SP, will run you $300.
Click here for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's complete list of booster seat ratings.