The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released the results of its 2017 booster seat tests, with 13 out of 16 achieving the highest rating of “Best Bet” and three rated “Check Fit”.
The “Best Bet” rating means a booster provides good safety belt fit for typical four- to eight-year-olds in almost any car, minivan or SUV. Boosters that are rated “Good Bets” provide acceptable belt fit in almost any vehicle, while those rated “Check Fit” could work for some children in some vehicles. Seats designated “Not Recommended” don’t provide good belt fit and should be avoided.
There are now a total of 118 booster seats on the market rated “Best Bet”. Only one current seat — the Safety 1st Summit 65 — is rated “Not Recommended”. Four others that had been were discontinued this year.
“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality booster seat. Unlike more complicated harness-equipped restraints, a booster is a simple device that doesn’t require any special features to do its job,” said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Jessica Jermakian. “Boosters need to elevate the child and guide the lap belt so that it lies flat on the upper thighs and not up against the tummy and position the shoulder belt so that it fits snugly across the middle of the shoulder.”
Booster seats are designed for children who have outgrown harness-equipped restraints. Children aged four to eight are 45% less likely to sustain injuries in crashes if they are in boosters than if they are using safety belts alone.