NJM Safety Center - Auto

Proper Use of Booster Seats

New ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety take the guesswork out of selecting boosters most likely to provide good lap and shoulder belt fit in a range of vehicles. The Institute rates 31 belt-positioning boosters as BEST BETS and five as GOOD BETS out of 83 models examined in a new round of evaluations. Eleven boosters aren't recommended at all because they do such a poor job of fitting the belt. Fit is important because safety belts are designed with adults in mind, not kids.

Proper Best Fit

Boosters elevate children so that safety belts designed for adults will fit better. The lap belt should fit flat across a child's upper thighs, not across the soft abdomen, which is more likely to be injured in a crash than bony structures like the pelvis.

The shoulder belt should cross snugly over the middle of a child's shoulder. Then it's in position to provide effective protection in a crash. Plus it's comfortable to use, so a child won't be as likely to move it behind the back or under an arm.

Current booster seat evaluations:

Best Bets
Good Bets
Not recommended