Are you in need of a booster seat, but unsure of where to begin? The goal of a booster seat is to position the seatbelt in the most optimal position to protect your child. When a seatbelt is not properly positioned, children are at risk for internal injuries that can be fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 3 out of 4 parents do not properly use child restraints.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS-HLDI) reviewed over 70 models of booster seats for optimal fit among 4 to 8 year-olds for use in cars, minivans, and SUVs. Their Booster Evaluations for 2010 assigned 21 booster seats with a “Best Bet” rating, 7 with a “Good Bet” rating, and listed 8 as “Not Recommended.” While I find highback boosters to be great for maintaining proper positioning with children that nap in cars, both highback and low back boosters received the “Best Bet” rating. Additionally, I was pleased to find that the “Best Bet” list contained several options for a variety of budgets with items ranging from $40 to over $250 – all with the same approval rating.
Whichever booster you select, be sure to read the manuals (both your vehicle and the safety seats) and pay close attention to the diagrams that depict how the seat belt should be properly positioned. This will help you to determine if the booster is the right fit for your car and child. Throughout the nation there are Child Safety Seat Inspection Locations that you can visit where a certified technician can examine your child’s seat for proper positioning, at no charge to you.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends children remain in car seats as long as they fit the seat’s height and weight requirements. They recommend parents select car seats based on their child’s age, height, and weight; with all children under 13 riding in the back seat. While these are general recommendations for everyone, child passenger seatbelt requirements vary by state.
Be sure to review the links in this posting to educate yourself on the child restraint laws in your state and recommendations for obtaining and securing seats for optimal child safety.