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Monday, October 11, 2010

Top 21 "Best Bet" Booster Seats

By Ashley H

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released their top "Best Bet" ratings for booster seats providing a correct fit across a range of vehicles. There were 21 boosters total in the top rated category. Since being Smarty about choices for our families is goal #1 here at CSP, we wanted to recap their tips and findings to keep our Smarty families as safe as possible while on the road.

The Smarty Facts (as issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety):
When deciding on the best booster for your child, fit is first. This is a case when you need to completely ignore pretty. Something that matches your style won't save your child from injury (or worse yet, life) in an accident if the fit is not correct.

Booster seats are getting better and safer. Last year only 9 boosters made the "Best Bet" list, this year it's 21. Bravo to those companies for the commitment to excellence! Another 36 models received marginal marks because while they may fit some children in some vehicles, they didn't measure up with an optimal fit across enough vehicles.

When you shop for the best booster for your child, pay close attention to each booster seat diagram outlining how the seat belt should lie across your child's shoulders and lap. While a poorly positioned belt could safe lives, it could also result in risk of internal injuries in a crash.

A secure seat belt fit= shoulder belt should fit across middle of the joint, not too close to neck nor too far. When the belt is too close to neck children often get uncomfortable and wriggle out, when too far over it allows for too much movement and puts them at grave risk in event of accident. The lap belt should be positioned across the thighs (when it falls across the abdomen it puts child at risk for damage to intestine and spine in a crash).

A common misconception is that high backed boosters are safer than backless, however both options made the top 21 list.

As always, the safest option is to have your booster seat checked in your area with a car seat fitting station, most of the time these are free though some may require an appointment. Quickest way to find one of these is to type your community and "car seat fitting" in to your search engine.

21 top-rated booster seats (*good mix of all price points)
*Britax Frontier 85 (combination highback); about $210
*Chicco Keyfit Strada (dual highback); about $170
*Clek Oobr (dual highback); about $275
*Cosco Juvenile Pronto (dual highback); about $30
*Cybex Solution X-Fix (highback); about $200
*Eddie Bauer Auto Booster (dual highback); about $80
*Evenflo Big Kid Amp (backless); about $25
*Evenflo Maestro (combination highback); about $60
*Graco TurboBooster Crawford (dual highback); about $45
*Harmony Baby Armor (dual highback); about $115
*Harmony Dreamtime (dual backless); about $50
*Harmony Dreamtime (dual highback); about $50
*Harmony Secure Comfort Deluxe (backless); about $20
*Harmony Youth Booster Seat (backless); about $30
*Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR (dual highback); about $120
*Recaro ProBOOSTER (highback); about $130
*Recaro ProSPORT (combination highback); about $280
*Recaro Vivo (highback); about $90
*Recaro Young Sport (combination highback); about $250
*Safety 1st Boost Air Protect (dual highback); about $240
*The First Years Pathway B570 (highback); about $75

For the Institute's full report of "Best", "Good" and "Not Recommended" click here.

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