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Is Your Kid Riding In A Bad Booster Seat? We've Got The List

booster seat car seat safety

The IIHS tests booster seats for proper fit on a 6-year-old crash test dummy.

This week the International Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced their recommended lists of booster seats for children ages four to eight.  While they found many that met the good fit required for children’s safety in cars, booster seat models from a couple of well-known brands — Safety 1st and Evenflo — landed on their “Not Recommended” list.

Children should ride in booster seats when they reach the height and weight limits of their forward facing car seats.  The IIHS says the keys to a safer booster seat are good lap and shoulder belt fit, which means, “… the lap belt will lie flat across a child’s upper thighs, not across the soft abdomen, and the shoulder belt will cross snugly over the middle of a child’s shoulder.”

The IIHS reviewed  more than 80 models of the most widely-used brands of both high back and backless booster seats, including Britax, Combi, Chicco, Graco, Evenflo, The First Years and Safety 1st.  They were tested for proper fit using a crash test dummy the size of an average 6-year-old.

On their list of booster seats that should be avoided were two well-known brands, Safety 1st and Evenflo.  Here are the six seats on the Not Recommended List:

  • Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite
  • Safety 1st All-in-One
  • Evenflo Sightseer
  • Evenflo Generations 65
  • Evenflo Express
  • Evenflo Chase

There were other models of booster seats by these two manufacturers, however, that were listed as recommended.

The IIHS report found that half of the booster seats reviewed need to be checked by parents for fit. One of the reasons for this, as reported in the Washington Post, is, “Because vehicle seat belts are anchored in different locations … the same booster might properly position the seat belt in a grandparent’s sedan but not in a family’s minivan.”  If your seat doesn’t meet the guidelines for proper fit, you’ll need to buy a new booster seat.

Photo credit: International Institute for Highway Safety

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