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IIHS Awards “Best Bet” to 20 Models of Child Booster SeatsJenny

Every year, the list of great boosters for kids gets bigger and bigger, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Parents and caregivers have an easier task of finding a belt-positioning booster seat that will provide their child with a safe seat belt fit. The IIHS evaluated 23 highback and backless models for optimum seat belt fit on a 6 year old dummy; fit is determined by how well the seat belt lies across the shoulder and thighs. The booster is given a rating of “Best Bet,” “Good Bet,” “Check Fit,” or “Not Recommended.”

Booster seats are for an age group of kids (about 5-11) that are commonly known as the “forgotten kids” of child passenger safety. Well, *we* haven’t forgotten them, but they slide through the cracks of safety because they’re too big for convertible carseats and too small for the vehicle seat belt to fit safely. A recent Safe Kids survey found that 86% of parents switched their kids to just the vehicle seat belt before it fit properly. While you may frequently hear that it’s OK to move your child to a vehicle seat belt when he’s 4’9″ tall, as parents, we at CarseatBlog know our children didn’t fit in our vehicles using just the seat belt at that minimum height suggestion. Remember, these are adult seat belts so your kids must be adult-sized to use them. Until then, booster seats are the way to go.

What do the ratings mean? A “Best Bet” rating means it should correctly position the seat belt on a typical 4-8 year old child in most vehicles. But remember, your vehicle may not be “most” vehicles and may have a different belt geometry. Always try before you buy, if you can, and hold onto the box and receipt in case you need to return the booster.

A “Good Bet” means that the belt fit will be acceptable in most vehicles and these boosters shouldn’t be automatically shunned because they aren’t “top tier.” “Check Fit” means just that: it may fit a larger child better than a smaller child in some vehicles or vice versa. I’ve used “Check Fit” boosters quite successfully before with my kids in my cars—it definitely doesn’t mean you should chuck the seat out with the baby’s bathwater.

Here’s an excellent example of a booster, the Graco 4Ever in backless mode, that fits well in one vehicle but not in another. You can see that in the vehicle on the left, the shoulder belt fit is poor whereas in the vehicle on the right, the shoulder belt fit is excellent. The lap belt fit in both vehicles is excellent. We need to have excellent fit for both shoulder belt AND lap belt in order for the booster seat to be safe.

4Ever backless

What does good belt fit look like?

IIHS lap belt fit

IIHS shoulder belt fit

Incognito buckle side MDX 2016HondaPilotThirdRowBooster


 

New Best Bet Boosters Tested in 2015

Previous models that retain their “Best Bet” ratings include:


Baby Trend Hybrid 3-in-1 Backless mode only
Baby Trend Hybrid No Back Booster
Britax Frontier 90 w/redesigned belt guides for 2014
Britax Parkway SG Highback mode only
Britax Parkway SGL Highback mode only
Britax Pinnacle 90 w/redesigned belt guides for 2014
Britax Pioneer 70 w/redesigned belt guides for 2014
BubbleBum
BubbleBum Neon
Clek Oobr Highback mode only
Cosco Pronto Highback mode only
Cybex Solution X-Fix
Diono Monterey Highback mode only
Diono Radian R100
Diono Radian R120
Diono Radian RXT
Diono Solana
Dream On Me Turbo Booster Highback mode only
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Belt-Positioning Booster Highback mode only
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65
Evenflo Amp
Evenflo Big Kid Amp Backless
Evenflo Big Kid Amp Highback Backless mode only
Evenflo Big Kid LX Backless Mode only
Evenflo Big Kid Sport Backless Mode only
Evenflo Chase
Evenflo Maestro
Evenflo Right Fit

Evenflo Secure Kid 300/400
Evenflo Symphony 65
Evenflo Symphony 65 e3/Symphony DLX
Ferrari Beline SP Backless mode only
Ferrari Dreamway SP Highback mode only
Graco 4Ever All-in-1
Graco Affix
Graco Argos 80 Elite 3-in-1 Highback and backless modes
Graco Milestone All-in-One
Graco Nautilus Highback mode only
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 with Safety Surround Highback mode only
Graco Nautilus Elite Highback mode only
Graco Nautilus Plus Highback mode only
Harmony Dreamtime
Harmony Olympian
Harmony Transit Deluxe
Harmony V6 Highback
Harmony Youth Booster Backless
Kiddy Cruiserfix Pro
Kiddy World Plus
Kids Embrace Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Maxi-Cosi Rodi AP Highback mode only
Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR Highback mode only
Maxi-Cosi RodiFix
Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120 Highback mode only
Recaro Performance Booster
Recaro Performance SPORT
Safety 1st Boost Air Protect Highback mode only
Safety 1st BoostAPak
Safety 1st Store ‘n Go Highback mode only
Safety 1st Store ‘n Go No-Back

New Good Bet Boosters Tested in 2015

Good Bet Boosters

Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH CarseatBlog Review CarseatBlog Recommended Seat
Cybex Solution M-Fix Y
Cybex Solution Q2-Fix Y Review
Safety 1st Grow and Go Y

Previous models that retain their “Good Bet” ratings include:

Baby Trend Hybrid 3-in-1 Highback
Combi Kobuk Air Thru Backless Mode
Diono Rainier
Evenflo Symphony 65/Symphony LX
Ferrari Beline SP

New Check Fit Boosters Tested in 2015

Check Fit Boosters

Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH CarseatBlog Review CarseatBlog Recommended Seat
There are no new Check Fit models!

Previous Check Fit boosters:


Britax Parkway SG Backless Mode
Britax Parkway SGL Backless Mode
Clek Olli
Clek Oobr Backless Mode
Clek Ozzi
Cosco Ambassador
Cosco Highback Booster
Cosco Pronto Backless Mode
Cosco Stack-It
Cosco Top Side
Diono Monterey Backless Mode
Diono Santa Fe
Dream On Me Coupe Booster
Dream On Me Turbo Booster Backless Mode
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Belt-Positioning Booster Backless Mode
Evenflo Big Kid Amp Highback Backless Mode


Evenflo Big Kid LX Highback Mode
Evenflo Big Kid Sport Highback Mode
Ferrari Dreamway SP Backless Mode
Ferrari Ola
Graco Nautilus Backless Mode
Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 with Safety Surround Backless Mode
Graco Nautilus Elite Backless Mode
Graco Nautilus Plus Backless Mode
Maxi-Cosi Rodi AP Backless Mode
Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR
Peg Perego Viaggio HB 120 Backless Mode
Safety 1st Boost Air Protect Backless Mode
Safety 1st Store ‘n Go Backless Mode
Volvo Booster Backless Mode
Volvo Booster Highback Mode

New Not Recommended Boosters Tested in 2015

Not Recommended Boosters

Manufacturer and Model Can Use LATCH CarseatBlog Review CarseatBlog Recommended Seat
There are no new Not Recommended models!

Previous Not Recommended boosters:

Diono Olympia
Diono Pacifica
Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65
Safety 1st All-in-One
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite
Safety 1st Summit 65

 

For the complete 2015 IIHS Status Report, visit the IIHS website: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/50/9/1

Please note that many very good boosters are not included in our Recommended Carseats list.  This may be simply because we have not yet reviewed them.  In other cases, we may feel they were very good products, but just didn’t offer quite as much as others we did recommend.  Even if a product is not listed as a “CarseatBlog Recommended Seat,” it may still be worth consideration if it works well with your child and vehicle.