I was sitting at a stop sign today preparing to turn right onto a main road, when the woman behind me slammed into the back of my car. My thoughts immediately turned to my babies and how thankful I was that my husband had decided to pick them up from daycare. Looking in my rearview mirror at the woman, I noticed that there was a young child in the back seat of her car.
When we pulled over to the side of the road, she said that both she and her 3 year old daughter were fine. As we waited for the police to arrive to file an accident report, I noticed her daughter was jumping and running around, clearly unphased by the accident. I couldn’t resist asking to see the woman’s booster seat in her car, since clearly it had done its job of keeping her daughter safe. It looked very similar to this booster seat.
Ironically, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released their 2010 booster seat ratings today. Overall, they rated 28 out of 72 seats either a BEST BET or GOOD BET. 11% (or 8 out of the 72 seats tested) were rated as NOT RECOMMENDED. The Institute’s ratings took into account the position of the booster seat’s lap belt and the shoulder belt.
The booster seat’s lap belt should sit flat across the child’s upper thighs and not across the child’s soft abdomen. The shoulder strap should cross snugly over the middle of the child’s shoulder. The shoulder strap should not rub against the child’s neck or lay against the child’s upper arm.
Why does having a safe and well fitted booster seat matter? According to the IIHS, “Children 4-8 who ride in boosters are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than children restrained by belts alone.”
Surprisingly, no federal standards exist to regulate a booster seat’s belt positioning. IIHS claims that “the government’s dynamic tests of crash performance don’t measure what boosters are meant to do, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only ranks boosters by how easy they are to use.” All 50 states have different child restraint laws pertaining to booster-age children. ConsumerReports.org conducts extensive crash testing for car seats, but not for booster seats.
IIHS’ Booster seat ratings are listed below.
2010 IIHS BOOSTER EVALUATION RESULTS
Britax Frontier 85 (combination highback)
Chicco Keyfit Strada (dual highback)
Clek Oobr (dual highback)
Cosco Juvenile Pronto (dual highback)
Cybex Solution X-Fix (highback)
Eddie Bauer Auto Booster (dual highback)
Evenflo Big Kid Amp (backless)
Evenflo Maestro (combination highback)
Graco TurboBooster Crawford (dual highback)
Harmony Baby Armor (dual highback)
Harmony Dreamtime (dual backless)
Harmony Dreamtime (dual highback)
Harmony Secure Comfort Deluxe (backless)
Harmony Youth Booster Seat (backless)
Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR (dual highback)
Recaro ProBOOSTER (highback)
Recaro ProSPORT (combination highback)
Recaro Vivo (highback)
Recaro Young Sport (combination highback)
Safety 1st Boost Air Protect (dual highback)
The First Years Pathway B570 (highback)
Britax Parkway SG (dual highback)
Combi Kobuk Air Thru (dual backless)
Combi Kobuk Air Thru (dual highback)
Evenflo Symphony 65 (3-in-1 highback)
Graco TurboBooster Sachi (dual highback)
Graco TurboBooster Wander (dual highback)
Maxi-Cosi Rodi (dual highback)
Eddie Bauer Deluxe (combination highback)
Eddie Bauer Deluxe 3-in-1 (highback)
Evenflo Express (combination highback)
Evenflo Generations 65 (combination highback)
Evenflo Sightseer (highback)
Harmony Baby Armor (dual backless)
Safety 1st All-in-One (3-in-1 highback)
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite (3-in-1 highback)
Click here to see a list of the 36 seats rated in the “middle range.”
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