Arlington, Virginia – A record 31 child booster seats have been named “Best Bets” in testing by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This means they correctly position a vehicle safety belt on a typical 4- to 8-year-old in almost any car, minivan or SUV.
Another five seats were rated Good Bets, meaning they provide acceptable belt fit in most vehicles. Six booster seats were not recommended because they do not provide proper belt fit.
Booster seats are for children who have outgrown forward-facing child restraints. They should elevate the child and route the lap and shoulder belts, which are designed for adults, in the correct position to restrain a child during a crash. The IIHS said that consumers can’t tell a good booster from a bad one just by comparing features or prices, and in 2008 it initiated booster seat ratings. The engineers evaluated 62 seats in the latest round, with 21 of them showing up twice in the list due to being dual-use seats, which can work as high-back or backless boosters.
The focus of the ratings is belt fit, not crash performance, and no crash tests are conducted as part of the evaluation.
Among booster manufacturers, the Canadian company Harmony Juvenile Products “continues to be a standout,” the IIHS said, with all five seats the company makes reaching Best Bet status.
To see the seat ratings, visit IIHS.