IIHS Rates 13 Child Booster Seats "Poor"

October 1, 2008
Child Safety Seat

Child Safety Seat

In a test of 41 belt-positioning booster seats fitted in a range of '01-'06 model year autos, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety judged that 13 models did a poor job of repositioning belts in order to adequately protect children in the event of a collision. While the poorly performing models may have improved belt comfort for children, they reposition the lap belt down to the hip area, which can lead to serious abdominal injuries in a crash.

The agency was careful to note that it did not evaluate crash protection, but rather only proper belt position, crucial for proper child protection. Standard three-point seatbelts are designed for adult-sized frames, making it easy for children to slide beneath belts, get pinned in soft and vulnerable areas during a crash, or become entangled in the belts (rather than restrained) during rapid deceleration.

Some vehicles, like safety-oriented Volvos, offer integrated booster seats as a factory option on vehicles like the V70 Wagon. Integrated booster seats were not covered in the IIHS' test.

IIHS did give its seal of approval to 15 booster seats, with 10 receiving the organization's "best bet" rating, and five earning a "good bet" stamp of approval.

For the complete list of seats and the full results of the test, visit the IIHS Web site.--Colin Mathews

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