Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluates booster seats for safety. As manufacturers release new designs and models, the IIHS awards one of four ratings:
- BEST BET: the seat’s belt positioning on a child is correct in just about any motor vehicle.
- GOOD BET: an acceptable fit of the safety belt is provided for most automobiles.
- Check Fit: the booster seat may offer acceptable belt fit for adolescents in certain vehicles, but not in as many automobiles as in the first two categories.
- Not Recommended: the child safety booster seat is not recommended for use by the IIHS due to safety concerns.
These ratings are determined by measuring how well the three-point lap and shoulder belts of each booster seat fit on a dummy the size of a child. While the tests do not involve crash testing, they are still valuable because they reveal whether children will be harnessed correctly in vehicles, regardless of whether it is a car, SUV, or minivan. The correct fit of a booster seat’s belt would include a lap belt that goes flat across the passenger’s upper thighs, as well as a shoulder belt which should cross over the middle of the shoulder.
In 2014, more booster models received BEST BET recognition than in any year before. Out of the 41 total new models, 27 received this highest rating. Three more received GOOD BETS. That leaves eight seat models in the Check Fit category and three in the Not Recommended category. Each booster seat’s IIHS evaluations can be found online at www.iihs.org. BEST BET booster seats can be purchased for prices ranging from$25 to $370, so there is no excuse for dangerous child safety restraint systems.
Jones & Swanson, our law firm primarily represents victims of automobile accidents. Unfortunately, this means that we often interact with victims of auto accidents in which young children were involved. We are dedicated to providing the highest level of protection possible for children in automobile accidents. Last year, we partnered with Safe Kids Cobb County for a safety event and since that time have advocated for their Child Safety Seat Inspections. These inspections are performed monthly and provide professionals who are happy to fit your child for the appropriately sized safety seat for their height and weight. More information about these inspections can be found at www.safekidscobbcounty.org.