ARLINGTON, Va. - The Insurance Institute for Highway Safet y finished its review of booster seats, and found two that are not recommended. The Institute said they don't provide proper belt fit. The good news is that 47 are recommended as a BEST BET.
The IIHS said the results show manufacturers are designing seats that provide a good safety belt fit for booster age children. Since the Institute began rating the seats in 2008, this is the first year the number of BEST BET seats outnumber the number of booster seats in any other category. There were 47 BEST BET seats, five GOOD BET, and 37 in the Check Fit category.
A GOOD BET means the seat provides acceptable belt fit in most vehicles. A Check Fit seat means the product may provide good fit for some children in some vehicles, but not as many vehicles as the boosters in the other categories.
"Booster manufacturers have risen to the Institute's challenge to improve seat design, giving parents more choices than ever when shopping for a booster that will provide a good, safe fit for their children," said Anne McCartt, Institute senior vice president for research.
The Institute said to avoid the Safety 1st All-in-One and Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite seats. Both are made by Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc. They are older designs both first evaluated in 2009. They are a 3-in-1 seat, and can be converted to a booster by removing the harness and using lap and shoulder belts to restrain the child. The concern is they don't work well as a booster because they leave the lap belt too high on the abdomen and the shoulder belt too far out on the shoulder.
"Dorel should redesign the All-in-One and the Alpha Omega Elite to improve booster function," McCartt said. "Parents who own these seats should use them with the built-in harness as long as possible, up to Dorel's recommended height and weight limits."
The IIHS said when using a booster, make sure the lap belt lies flat across your child's upper thighs and the shoulder belt crosses snugly over the middle of the shoulder. If that's not the case, get another seat.
To see how your booster seat ranked, or to see all the rankings, click here: http://www.iihs.org/