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From Products Liability Law Daily, November 12, 2013

IIHS releases annual booster seat ratings

By Joe Bichl

More new child booster seats have been granted a top rating of “Best Bet” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, according to a booster seat status report just released by the IIHS. The institute’s report indicated that not only are manufacturers continuing to market new child restraints, they are also “improving the way an adult safety belt fits a typical booster-age child.” (IIHS 2013 Booster Seat Ratings, November 7, 2013)

Report highlights. Since 2008, the IIHS has issued an annual status report providing belt fit ratings for booster car seats. When the IIHS first published its ratings in 2008, only 10 of 41 models earned “Best Bet” ratings and 13 models were “Not Recommended.” Of the 31 new booster seats evaluated in 2013, 19 earned a top rating, the report said. Counting carry-over models, there are 58 “Best Bet” boosters for 2013, more than any prior year, IIHS remarked. A booster ranked as a “Best Bet” is one that “correctly positions belts on a typical 4-to-8-year-old child in almost any car, minivan or SUV,” according to the IIHS.

Booster car seats are regulated by design and testing requirements by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Generally, booster seats reduce the risk of injury in vehicle crashes. The IIHS noted in its report that, historically, children ages 4 - 8 in booster seats are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries than kids restrained by belts alone.

Responding to the report, Safe Kids Worldwide said in a statement that, “as technology produces more advances in child passenger safety,” proper and thorough evaluation of child booster seats becomes more important. “This list of booster seats offers additional information to help parents check the fit of every seat, even those on the ‘Best’ and ‘Good’ list, to be sure it is right for their child,” the safety group said.

Companies: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Safe Kids Worldwide

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