NEW YORK (AP) — Companies that make child booster seats for vehicles are getting better at designing them to protect kids, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Thursday.
Of the 53 new booster seats IIHS tested, 48 received the nonprofit’s highest rating. Two models of booster seats, which were made by Dorel Juvenile, were not recommended. When IIHS first began rating booster seats about eight years ago, only a quarter of seats earned the highest rating.
“Parents looking for a safe option for kids who have outgrown seats with built-in harnesses have more choices than ever,” said Jessica Jermakian, a senior research engineer at IIHS.
Booster seats are made for children between 4 and 8 years old who have outgrown their car seats. Kids who sit on the booster seats are 45 percent less likely to be injured in a crash compared to just using seat belts alone, IIHS said.
The Dorel Juvenile models that were not recommended were the Cosco Easy Elite and the Cosco Highback 2-in-1 DX. The IIHS said Dorel Juvenile designed seven other boosters that received its highest rating.
“It’s disappointing that they would introduce boosters that don’t do their job when they clearly know how to do it right,” Jermakian said.
The Institute puts the booster seats it tests into four categories:
- BEST BETs are seats that provide good belt fit for typical 4 to 8 year-olds in almost any car, minivan or SUV.
- GOOD BETs provide acceptable belt fit in most cars, minivans or SUVs.
- Not recommended don’t provide good belt fit and should be avoided.
- Check fit applies to booster seats the Institute has tested that have varied results depending on child size and vehicle model. This designation appears on some models in the “Search by brand” section.
IIHS assesses boosters using a special crash test dummy representing an average-size 6 year-old. Engineers measure how three-point lap and shoulder belts fit the dummy in each of the tested boosters under four conditions that span the range of safety belt configurations in vehicle models. An overall rating for each booster is then assigned based on the range of scores for the lap and shoulder belt measurements.