IIHS Names Top Booster Seats

April 21, 2016

In 2008, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety started its system for rating booster seats. During the initial year of the ratings, most seats failed in belt fit; however, companies have adjusted and improved their designs. Most seats that are evaluated today have an acceptable or good fit for children between the ages of four and eight.

There were 23 models up for evaluation during the latest report phase, and 20 earned the "BEST BET" rating from the IIHS. This rating means that the belt should provide a good fit for a child in nearly any SUV, minivan or car. Three other models earned "GOOD BET" ratings. This rating signifies an acceptable belt fit in most cars, SUVs and minivans.

The IIHS is proud of its rating system and the progress shown by seat manufacturers because of it. They said that these ratings make it easier for parents to choose booster seats with confidence. Booster seats are intended for children between the ages of four and eight. When used correctly, booster seats lower the chance of serious injuries in an accident by about 45 percent. Since children in this age group are usually not large enough to safely fit into the seat belts of vehicles on their own, booster seats serve as a bridge until their torsos grow more. For some children, booster seats may be necessary until about age 12.

To fit correctly, a booster seat must put a child in the right position for the vehicle's safety belt to fit. This means that the bottom part of the belt lies flat against the child's upper thighs, and the shoulder belt fits correctly along the middle of the child's shoulder. The bottom part of the belt should never rest on the abdomen. When the IIHS tests seats, they use a child-size dummy in the booster seats. They take measurements in four different conditions to check the consistency of the belt's placement.

While the main benefit is for consumers, these tests and ratings also help manufacturers of booster seats. They are able to adjust the designs of their seats using the measurement criteria from the IIHS. Many manufacturers have become very proactive since these tests started in 2008, and some even drive to the IIHS test facility to test their own products during planning and revision stages.

The good news is that there are several quality booster seats to fit every buyer's needs. Parents do not need to spend a fortune to keep their children safe in a good seat. Check the current list synopsis from the IIHS for specific product recommendations. To learn more about booster seats and vehicle safety, discuss concerns with an agent.

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