(NEW YORK) — There’s good news for parents driving with young children in the car. According to a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), car booster seats are better than ever.
Out of 31 new models tested this year, 19 of them earned the institute’s highest rating of “Best Bet” — meaning that the “booster correctly positions belts on a typical 4- to 8-year-old child in almost any car, minivan or SUV.” When older models were also taken into account, 58 seats in all received the top honors in 2013.
That’s a considerable leap from 2008, when the IIHS published its first-ever ratings, showing that only 10 out of 41 models earned a “Best Bet” rating. At the time, 13 seats were considered “Not Recommended,” the institute’s lowest rating.
“Only two seats now, some older models from Safety First, are on the ‘Not Recommended’ list. That is, they don’t provide consistent belt fit across different vehicles,” IIHS spokesman Russ Rader tells ABC News Radio.
While there’s been vast improvement, Rader advises parents to still test booster seats before deciding on which one to buy.
“It’s important to check the institute’s ratings and also try the booster seat that you want to buy in your vehicle with your child to make sure that that belt fit is good,” he says.
As for what a good fit should look like, the IIHS says: “Correct belt fit means that the lap belt lies flat across a child’s upper thighs and the shoulder belt crosses snugly over the middle of the shoulder.”
When fitted correctly, 4- to 8-year-olds sitting in booster seats are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than kids using a belt alone, according to the institute.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio