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The Best and Worst Child Car And Booster Seats

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Are you looking for a new car seat for your child, but overwhelmed by the choices and worried about how to properly install your car seat? The government recommends car seats for children up to 40 pounds, and booster seats for children over 40 pounds or until they are 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which conducts crash tests of new vehicles, found that several booster seats don’t put children in the best position to be protected in a crash. These poorly rated car seats include: Compass B505, Compass B510, Cosco/Dorel Traveler, Evenflo Big Kid Confidence, Safety Angel Ride Ryte, Cosco/Dorel Alpha Omega, Cosco/Dorel (Eddie Bauer) Summit, Cosco Highback Booster, Dorel/Safety 1st (Eddie Bauer) Prospect, Evenflo Chase Comfort Touch, Evenflo Generations, Graco CarGo Zephyr, and Safety 1st/Dorel Intera.

According to Adrian Lund, President of IIHS, these 13 boosters may increase restraint use by making children more comfortable, but they don’t position belts for optimal protection. The seat belt should be routed across a child’s lower hips and mid-shoulders instead of the abdomen because the liver and spleen are more vulnerable to injuries.

Of the 41 seats that were evaluated, 10 seats were rated “best bets” by the IIHS, meaning they were most likely to correctly position seat belts. They include: Combi Kobuk, Fisher-Price Safe Voyage (with plastic clip), Graco TurboBooster, Britax Monarch, Britax Parkway, Fisher-Price Safe Voyage (highback), LaRoche Bros. Teddy Bear, Recaro Young Style, Volvo Booster cushion and Safeguard Go when it’s used as a backless booster.

However, parents should not interpret these evaluations to mean that poorly rated seats are ineffective. Regardless its ratings, these child seats are an effective restraint and have been known to reduce risks of injury and fatality. Parents buying a new booster seat should try it out in their car and see how the seat belts fits on their child. They should also check with their local seat inspection station to ensure a safe and proper fit for the child safety seat so that injuries to the child could be prevented.