When your child outgrows other forms of forward-facing restraints, it’s time for a booster. But which ones are best?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety just released its latest report with belt fit data on 62 booster seats. Of those 62, each model that could be used as a high back and a low back booster was considered to be 2 separate boosters for a total of 83 seats evaluated.
Of those 83, a record 31 seats were listed as “Best Bets”(meaning that they fit most kids well in most cars) and five seats were listed as Good Bets (acceptable fit in most cars). 41 seats fall into a middle “Check Fit” category (they work in some cars, but not others). Six seats were not recommended.
Seats failing the test due to poor seatbelt fit:
- Evenflo Chase
- Evenflo Express
- Evenflo Generations 65
- Evenflo Sightseer
- Safety 1st All-in-One
- Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite
“If the booster isn’t doing a good job — if the lap belt is up on your son or daughter’s tummy or if the shoulder belt is falling off your child’s shoulder — then find a replacement booster seat as soon as practical, but you’ll probably want to keep using the old one until then,” says Anne McCartt, the Institute’s senior vice president for research.
Popular “Best Bets” include seats at a wide range of price points: Cosco Pronto (high back, about $40), Diono (Sunshine Kids) Monterey (currently about $112), Britax Frontier 85 (high back, currently $212.49), Graco TurboBooster Baldwin and Elite (highback, $69.98) , Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR (high back, currently $159.99), Recaro Vivo (high back, currently $82.59), and Evenflo Big Kid Amp (low back, currently $24.99)
- When choosing a seat, you might also check these seats against the National Institute for Highway Safety’s Ease-of-Use ratings.
- SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. offers several other booster resources.
- For all things car seat, I recommend checking out the discussions at Car-Seat.org.