IIHS Rates Best and Worst Booster Seats

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its latest reports on children’s booster seat evaluations.  With safety in mind, IIHS, a non-profit organization funded by auto insurers, carries out research and produces ratings for passenger vehicles, as well as for certain consumer products like booster seats.  In reading the report, it’s not just the seat that’s important, it’s how the seat and seatbealt fit the child.  Most booster seats, unlike carseats, utilize a vehicle’s seatbelt.  Carseat.org (link to an informational PDF) says booster seats are typically used by children 4 until 10.

According to IIHS, it’s important to note that the Institute doesn’t conduct vehicle crash tests to evaluate boosters because boosters don’t do the restraining in a crash. It’s the fit of the belt that’s important.  A good booster routes the lap belt across a child’s upper thighs and positions the shoulder belt at midshoulder.










IIHS says that this year’s top-rated boosters outnumber ones that they don’t recommend.  Brands such as Britax, Chicco, Clek, among others make the list.  Read more to find out which seats make IIHS’ list.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s third round of booster evaluations:

Best Bets

Britax Frontier 85 (combination highback)
Chicco Keyfit Strada (dual highback)
Clek Oobr (dual highback)
Cosco Juvenile Pronto (dual highback)
Cybex Solution X-Fix (highback)
Eddie Bauer Auto Booster (dual highback)
Evenflo Big Kid Amp (backless)
Evenflo Maestro (combination highback)
Graco TurboBooster Crawford (dual highback)
Harmony Baby Armor (dual highback)
Harmony Dreamtime (dual backless)
Harmony Dreamtime (dual highback)
Harmony Secure Comfort Deluxe (backless)
Harmony Youth Booster Seat (backless)
Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR (dual highback)
Recaro ProBOOSTER (highback)
Recaro ProSPORT (combination highback)
Recaro Vivo (highback)
Recaro Young Sport (combination highback)
Safety 1st Boost Air Protect (dual highback)
The First Years Pathway B570 (highback)

Good Bets

Britax Parkway SG (dual highback)
Combi Kobuk Air Thru (dual backless)
Combi Kobuk Air Thru (dual highback)
Evenflo Symphony 65 (3-in-1 highback)
Graco TurboBooster Sachi (dual highback)
Graco TurboBooster Wander (dual highback)
Maxi-Cosi Rodi (dual highback)


Eddie Bauer Deluxe (combination highback)
Eddie Bauer Deluxe 3-in-1 (highback)
Evenflo Express (combination highback)
Evenflo Generations 65 (combination highback)
Evenflo Sightseer (highback)
Harmony Baby Armor (dual backless)
Safety 1st All-in-One (3-in-1 highback)
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite (3-in-1 highback)


The CNN article that prompted me to research more about this report just hit my inbox, literally minutes ago, and I’m sure some of you may have seen it already, too.  Because I have a squirmy, not-quite 3 year old, as a mom, I’m more familiar with carseats.  After extensive research, we found that the Britax Boulevard was the best seat for our family.  We go on many, many roadtrips, and so, we chose a seat that was highly rated in safety and one that would be comfortable for the kid who ends up sleeping in the seat for hours at a time.  That said, one time, we flew to my parents house for a quick trip and chose not to bring our big carseat since my mom had an older nephew’s old booster.  Bad idea.  The seat, one of the brands in the aforementioned “worst” list was a terrible fit.  It was poorly constructed, ill-fitted and seemed far less safe than other boosters I’ve seen in person.

In my research and experience as a kid product blogger, I’ve come across several less than desirable booster seats.  However, I just have to state the obvious, I’m not a safety expert.  That being said, sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint the better ones from the not-so-good ones.  But what it all comes down to when choosing a product that’s a good fit, it’s imperative to do your research, and if possible, “test” out the seats firsthand.  Babycenter has a great report on how to choose a booster seat that’s right for you.  And for what it’s worth, you can’t put a pricetag on your child’s safety.  Baby Bargains is also a trusted resource for parents.





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