Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) assessed 72 kids’ booster seats to check for the ones that offer a good fit, one of the most important safety criteria. They designated 21 booster models as “Best Bets” and 7 as “Good Bets.” That’s a marked improvement over last year’s list, when only 9 models earned the highest grades. They have also rated 8 models as “not recommended.” See the full list: 2010 IIHS Booster Evaluation Ratings.
These ratings are important because they offer guidance on fit. While there are other tests and ratings for boosters – such as crash performance tests and ease of use – there are none that address fit. IIHS says, “Belts do the main job of keeping kids in boosters safe in crashes, but belts along with vehicle seats are designed for adults, not children, so it’s important for boosters to lift kids into position for lap/shoulder belts to provide proper restraint. Children 4-8 who ride in boosters are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than children restrained by belts alone.”