Arlington, Virginia – A new report by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that 13 of the 41 child booster seats evaluated did such a poor of job of improving the fit of lap and shoulder belts for children that the Institute does not recommend them; only 10 models were “best bets” and five were “good bets”.

These evaluations, done in conjunction with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, are the first to tell consumers how well booster seats sold by U.S. retailers improve belt fit for children in cars, minivans and SUVs. The IIHS plans to continue the assessments.

“We evaluated the safety belt fit boosters provide, not crash protection,” said IIHS president Adrian Lund. “This is because, unlike child restraints, boosters don’t restrain children in crashes. They simply position children so lap and shoulder belts are in the right place to restrain them. We’d expect the 10 best bets to improve belt fit for children in almost any car, minivan or SUV. Likewise, it’s clear that kids in the 13 boosters we don’t recommend aren’t getting the full benefit of improved lap belt fit. These boosters may increase restraint use by making children more comfortable, but they don’t position belts for optimal protection.”

All of the best-bet boosters locate the lap belt on the child’s upper thighs. The main problem for the boosters that aren’t recommended is they leave the lap belt partially or fully on the abdomen. A good booster also positions the shoulder belt at midshoulder, keeping the webbing away from the neck.

The evaluations were:

Not Recommended:

Safety Angel Ride Ryte backless
Cosco/Dorel (Eddie Bauer) Summit
Graco CarGo Zephyr
Evenflo Big Kid Confidence
Cosco/Dorel Traveler
Compass B505
Compass B510
Evenflo Generations
Dorel/Safety 1st (Eddie Bauer) Prospect
Cosco Highback Booster
Cosco/Dorel Alpha Omega
Evenflo Chase Comfort Touch
Safety 1st/Dorel Intera

Best Bets:
Graco TurboBooster backless with clip
Fisher-Price Safe Voyage backless with clip
Combi Kobuk backless with clip
Fisher-Price Safe Voyage
Britax Parkway
LaRoche Bros. Teddy Bear
Safeguard Go backless with clip
Volvo booster cushion
Recaro Young Style
Britax Monarch

Good Bets:

Graco TurboBooster
Safety Angel Ride Ryte
Recaro Young Sport
Combi Kobuk
Safety 1st/Dorel Apex 65

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