Children are precious cargo. We’ve all heard that saying before and it’s absolutely true. When parents pick out their child’s car or booster seats, usually the process is painstakingly memorable. The reviews, the expert opinions, the brand reputability… parents can spend hours picking out the right one. But now, thanks to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), parents can rest a little easier and save some precious time when picking out their car seats – booster seats, no exception. That’s because the IIHS has just released its “Best Bet” designations for 27 child booster seats that, according to the IIHS, promise to be easy to use and, most importantly, safe.

The IIHS considered many benefits – of course, considering safety first – but also including usability and ease of use. After all, if it’s difficult to install, the list of potential safety problems could be miles long. In addition to safety and ease of use, the IIHS also considered safety belt configurations including 3-point lap and shoulder belt fits. The evaluations do not involved crash tests – the lap positions and their ease of use are the primary factors when considering the booster seats’ designation.

For seats that were designated as a “Best Bet,” all lap positions correctly protected a “typical 4- to 8-year old child in almost any car, minivan or SUV,” reports indicated. For the seats with a “Good Bet” designation, lap belts provided an acceptable fit for children in the same age group.

Experts were primarily concerned whether the booster seats’ lap belts were able to lie flat across the child’s upper leg area with the shoulder belt arranged comfortably over the shoulders in the correct position.

Finally, for the seats ranked as “Check Fit,” the IIHS noted that for some children, the fit was ideal, while for other children of different shapes of sizes, the fit may have suffered. In addition, vehicle model may have also affected the fit of booster seats rated as “Check Fit.”

“Buying a booster seat can be confusing,” said a senior research scientist at the IIHS. “There are lots of models and features to choose from. Until we started our ratings six years ago, parents couldn’t be sure that the booster they’d put in their shopping cart would actually provide the right belt fit for their child once they unpacked the seat and installed it in the family vehicle. Our ratings take the guesswork out of purchasing a booster seat.”

To read the complete list of “Best Bet” car booster seats, click here.


Did you know that even when a parent buys the very best car seat or booster seat, it may still not fully protect the child in light of improper installation? Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S.

When a parent uses a car seat for their child, it reduces the risk of wrongful death by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers. Booster seats, such as those recommended by the IIHS, reduce the risk of serious injury by 45 percent for children between 4- and 8-years old.

It goes without saying that car seats and boosters are a necessary step toward preventing children’s injury. Take a look at this visual provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and learn more about child car seat safety and what you can do to be a proactive parent by clicking here.

CDC seats