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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Best Booster Seats


Fit matters when it comes to booster seats. That's the conclusion in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's recently released tests.

A good fit means the booster seat raises your child up so that the seatbelt lap belt is flat and tight across the upper thighs, not the stomach. And the shoulder belt is snug across the mid-shoulder, not digging into the neck or slipping off the shoulder. Parents: check the fit for each kid. Don't rely on the booster seat to provide the right fit. There are no federal standards on how boosters position seatbelts.

I checked my own daughter, who is 4 years old, in her booster seat. In California a child who is between 4 and 6 and 40 and 60 pounds must be secured in a booster in the back seat. Well, turns out hers is not a good fit. The seatbelt, as you can see in the picture below, is digging into her neck, which the IIHS says is an obvious red flag. This can injure a child in a crash.


The IIHS test results are below. Testers used a dummy to simulate a 6 year old in crash tests. For the first time top-rated boosters outnumber ones the Institute doesn't recommend. And what they found is one size does not fit all, when it comes to both cars and kids. Some boosters fit well in some cars, but not SUV's, and vice versa. What's also interesting is even within the same manufacturer, some performed well and others didn't. So again, the most important thing it to check the fit of each booster seat in each individual vehicle and for each individual child. That way, your precious cargo has the best possible protection.

Best Bets

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)

Good Bets

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)

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