5 On Your Side

Child booster seats rated for fit, safety

Posted December 22, 2009

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its second annual ratings of child car booster seats Tuesday, finding most models are not doing a good job of positioning seat belts to best protect children who use boosters.

Only nine of the 60 models examined were rated "Best Bets" for how they positioned children in lap and shoulder belts.

More states require boosters for children between ages 4 and 8, but there are no set standards for the seats.

Boosters are designed to elevate small children so that seat belts, designed for adults, fit them better and protect them better in case of a crash. A good booster routes the lap belt flat across a child’s upper thighs and positions the shoulder belt at mid-shoulder.

"What really matters is if the booster you’re considering correctly positions the safety belt on your 4- to 8-year-old in your vehicle. Our ratings make it easier to pick a safer booster for kids who have outgrown child restraints," said Anne McCartt, the institute's senior vice president for research.

The best-rated boosters are the Combi Dakota backless with clip, Recaro Young Sport highback (combination seat), Recaro Vivo highback, Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR dual-use highback, Evenflo Big Kid Amp backless with clip, Eddie Bauer Auto Booster dual-use highback, Cosco Juvenile Pronto dual-use highback, Britax Frontier highback (combination seat), and Clek Oobr dual-use highback.

Six boosters rated a "Good Bet." They are the Combi Kobuk dual-use backless with shoulder belt clip, Maxi-Cosi Rodi dual-use highback, Evenflo Symphony 65 3-in-1, Britax Parkway SG dual-use highback, Graco TurboBooster SafeSeat Wander dual-use highback and Graco TurboBooster SafeSeat Sachi dual-use highback.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • FromClayton Dec 23, 2009

    "us to use common sense when we drive" common sense is for us to buckle our precious babies in.

    now i dont say i agree with putting an 8 year old in a booster though. They are about as tall as I am by then. Kinda crazy, but you bet your life they will be buckled in before the car rolls.

  • CricketGayle Dec 22, 2009

    When I was a kid, I never wore a seatbelt, I stood up in the car, rode in the beds of pickup trucks and rode in the front seat of the car. My "child restraint system" was my mama's right arm thrown in front of me as she slammed on brakes. This was the 1970's. Would I do any of these things today, or allow my son to do them? NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

    Traffic in the '70's is a far-cry from traffic today. Just because we did things different back then doesn't mean they were wrong then, BUT, it also doesn't mean that they would be right for today's conditions.

    I wouldn't consider driving down the road with my son in the car and him not in a child-restraint seat. My only problem right now is finding a good seat that offers a 5-point harness up to 65lbs that doesn't cost 2 arms and a leg! But, if I can't find one reasonably priced, I guess I'm shelling out big-bucks, because my son is not big enough for a booster seat with a regular seat belt and I refuse to pretend that he is.

  • tarheelpatriot Dec 22, 2009

    Using seatbelts/boosters/carseats with kids IS common sense.
    You were lucky all those years, because really bad accidents
    can happen even to the best drivers.
    Many of us grew up before seatbelts were used but to not use them now would be negligent.

  • kittiboo Dec 22, 2009

    Good thing you were never in a wreck TomLynda, since your kids weren't in seat belts. Many people aren't that lucky.

  • TomLynda Dec 22, 2009

    You know, seat belts do save lives. I was on a rescue squad and saw that first hand, but on the other hand, I raised 5 children, and traveled all over this nation with them in different cars, and none of them had seat belts. I suppose the most important thing is not the government telling us what to do for our own good :-( , but rather for us to use common sense when we drive, especially when we have children in our cars and trucks. Never had a wreck in my life. Some close calls, but was able to avoid the crazies out there.

    Just my opionion.