Car News

IIHS Reports Booster Seats Are Getting Better

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Autotrader September 2010

Booster seat manufacturers are raising their standards according to the recent (and third) Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ratings. Using Best Bet, Good Bet or Not Recommended as criteria, the IIHS review of 72 seats shows that boosters have improved at lap and shoulder belt "fit" on 4-8-year-old kids to restrain them in a crash.

"For the first time top-rated boosters outnumber ones that the Institute doesn't recommend…we have many more Best and Good Bets from our recent survey," says Anne McCartt, Institute Senior Vice President for Research. "Now more than ever, manufacturers are responding to these ratings and they are redesigning the seats to improve belt fit."

"Fit is crucial," notes Russ Rader, Vice President of Communications for the IIHS. He told AutoTrader, "The lap belt should fit flat across a child's upper thighs, not the soft abdomen (where they can sustain abdominal injuries). Good boosters have belt-routing features that hold lap belts down and forward. The shoulder belt should cross snugly over the middle of the shoulder. Then it's in position to provide effective protection in a crash."

McCartt adds, "Obvious red flags are lap belts that ride up on the tummy and shoulder belts that either fall off the shoulder or rub against a child's neck."

While the Institute doesn't conduct crash tests to evaluate booster seats (since the seats don't do the restraining in a crash) they do conduct other trials. Engineers use a crash test dummy representing an average 6-year-old to measure how 3-point lap and shoulder belts fit in each of the boosters under a range of conditions.

"The trouble is that there are no government standards to state how belt fit should be improved. Unfortunately, you can't go to a store or go online and get any seat and know that it will work properly," Rader confirms.

The IIHS evaluations measure belt fit of booster seats in a variety of vehicles, even older ones. "It doesn't matter what year the vehicle is just as long as it has a lap and shoulder belt. The ones that we rated Best Bet will provide a good belt situation in practically any vehicle," adds Rader.

He advises, "Parents can use these ratings to narrow down the choices, but be sure and try out the booster in your car before you buy it."

And it doesn't have to break the bank. Consumers can find several Best Bet boosters for $50 or less through online retailers.

Go to iihs.org for a full list of model numbers and booster pictures.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
IIHS Reports Booster Seats Are Getting Better - Autotrader