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The Insurance Institute on Highway Safety (IIHS) and University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute tested all of the child booster seats on the market today. Of the 41 seats currently available, 13 of them tested so poorly they can’t recommend them at all.

Child booster seats are recommended for children when they outgrow a child restraint seat, usually at about the age of 4, depending on the size of the child. Child booster seats are not meant to be restraint mechanisms, they are intended to position a regular, adult seatbelt on the child so that the child is not injured by the belt in the event of a car crash. It is recommended that a child use a booster seat until he or she reaches a height of 4′ 9" when the adult seatbelt will protect them properly.

In addition to the 13 that failed the test, 10 models were considered "best bets" and 5 were considered "good bets". It was interesting to see that the high price of a booster seat did not nessesarily equate to a high rating. The $20 backless booster seat from Graco was one of the top rated.

Here is a list of all the booster seats in their rankings:

Booster seat evaluations

Not Recommended

  • Safety Angel Ride Ryte backless
  • Cosco/Dorel (Eddie Bauer) Summit
  • Graco CarGo Zephyr
  • Evenflo Big Kid Confidence
  • Cosco/Dorel Traveler
  • Compass B505
  • Compass B510
  • Evenflo Generations
  • Dorel/Safety 1st (Eddie Bauer) Prospect
  • Cosco Highback Booster
  • Cosco/Dorel Alpha Omega
  • Evenflo Chase Comfort Touch
  • Safety 1st/Dorel Intera

Best Bets

  • Graco TurboBooster backless with clip
  • Fisher-Price Safe Voyage backless with clip
  • Combi Kobuk backless with clip
  • Fisher-Price Safe Voyage
  • Britax Parkway
  • LaRoche Bros. Teddy Bear
  • Safeguard Go backless with clip
  • Volvo booster cushion
  • Recaro Young Style
  • Britax Monarch

Good Bets

  • Graco TurboBooster
  • Safety Angel Ride Ryte
  • Recaro Young Sport
  • Combi Kobuk
  • Safety 1st/Dorel Apex 65

Note: Unless the booster name indicates that it is a backless seat, all boosters are highbacks

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