As the time passes by, car booster seats get safer, but still the main question is what the safest booster seats are. Still there are many booster seats that fail to meet the United States safety measurements. According to United States booster seat laws you can use a booster seat for your child when he or she grows enough to not fit in a forward facing infant car seat. General children of the age group 4 to 8 years are suitable for boosters. But you have to take into account your child’s size and weight not his or her age. Use a booster seat when it is required a toddler car seat otherwise is the safest. But don’t try to skip it, as it may harm your child.
Now a day, there are a number of booster seats available in the market but according to the result of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety not all boosters are same. The institute began rating car seats five years back based on their research. They have stated that most seats are not up to the mark while considering their safety belts. They started rating boosters as Best Bet, Good Fit, Check Fit and Not Recommended. The rating system is based on the theory that how the three-point lap and shoulder belts fit a dummy, shaped like a child, seated on a vehicle booster seat fewer than four testing conditions that span the range of safety belt configurations in passenger vehicles. This testing focuses only on the safety belt fit but not on crash tests. As per their results, among 31 seats tested this year, 19 falls under best bet, one received Good fit and 11 fall under Check fit. From the above data, you can understand that almost 35% of the boosters are safe only for a specific group of children, not for all.
As per IIHS rating, the best bet booster seat’s belt fits the child of 4 to 8 years of age group; thigh and shoulder accurately– not his or her abdomen or neck and face. Good fits are installed in most of the cars. And a Check Fit is ideal for some children but it is not delivered the same result for all children.
Booster seats are available in both backless and high back. The price also varies among the brands. A high back seat provides some headrest and has guides to both the lap and shoulder belts. Whereas a backless seat offers only lap belt guide and uses a plastic clip to put the shoulder belt properly in position. A backless seat is ideal for older children who have grown a bit. In either case, the fittings of the belts are essential.
Thus, according to IIHS, a Best fit booster is the safest one. While you can use some of these boosters as a harness style infant car seat. There are two new dual use best bet boosters available in the market. Those seats are available in both backless and high back form. These two brands are Evenfall Right Fit and the Greco Affix. The rate of these safest boosters also varies from $18 to $300. So, before investing your money on safest booster seats gather as much information as you can.
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Booster Seats in Cars
One of the most important issues to modern moms and dads now are what is the suitable time to put booster seats in cars. First thing to check is whether your child outgrows the forward-facing infant car seat with a belt or not. As soon as your child outgrows that kind of seats it’s the time for him or her to travel in a booster car seat. You can find answers to the above questions in a lot of websites, but before you transfer to booster seats, please read the available documents carefully.
According to USA laws, once your child has grown enough to fit in a forward facing car seat with straps then it is the time to shift to a booster seat keeping it on the back seat. And keep your child there until he or she accurately fits in a seat belt. The common age groups to keep your child in this type of special seats are 8 to 12 years.
Choosing a right booster for your kid is not that easy. You have to carefully consider many things because it is a question of safety for your child. Insurance Institute for highway safety (IIHS) rates these seats based on some safety measurements. As per IIHS, a booster should provide excellent lap and shoulder belts in a wide range of cars. Unlike infant car seats, boosters depend on the car safety belts to hold back the child.
IIHS puts boosters into four main categories:
Best Bets: These are the seats that provide an excellent belt fit for children 4 to 8 years of age. It is suited in almost any minivan or SUV cars.
Good Bets: These seats offer a good fit in almost every minivan or SUV cars.
Not Recommended: These must be avoided as they provide poor belt fits.
Check fit: It offers different safety measures for children of different size and different vehicle mode.
The key point of boosters is their proper fit. A good quality booster should provide proper excellent lap and shoulder belt fit. A car safety belt is designed keeping in mind the adult requirements but with a booster it can fit your child properly.
Lap Belt fit: A lap belt should lie flat on top of the thighs, not on the abdomen.
Shoulder belt fit: A shoulder belt must fit across the shoulder.
Now it is the prime question that what is the ideal time for you to switch to a booster seat. It is safe to have a booster for your child when he or she is at least 4 years of age or weighs 40 pounds or more. But don’t stick to the child’s age or weight limit. Buy a booster only when your child has grown enough that his shoulders are higher than the top harness strap slot. Always remember that infant car seat is the safest for your kid. However, it is recorded that nearly 94% of parents skips the booster. But don’t do that. Because a booster seat is always better than an adult seat belt for your child when his size and weight falls between that required for infant car seat and adult seat belts.