The main purpose of a booster seat is to elevate children and guide seat belts so they offer the same amount of protection for children as they do with adults. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) researches products, vehicles, and other items to help consumers make the right purchase. The IIHS booster seat evaluation was released towards the end of last year and it provides an excellent resource on which booster car seats are the safest, and which one’s you’ll want to stay away from.
You want to have one that positions the lap belt on the top of the thighs, not across the belly. The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the shoulder, not sliding down or riding up on the neck. Below I’ve outlined some of the top rated booster car seats for 2013 based on the recent IIHS findings in the studies they completed.
Britax Frontier 85 Combination Booster Car Seat
- Making the top of the IIHS booster seat list as a ‘Best Bet’ of 2012, the Britax Frontier 85 Combination Booster Car Seat provides exceptional safety with a secure fit.
- Has one of the highest seat capacity’s thanks to the 5 point safety harness that fits children up to 120 lbs in booster mode.
- Easy to adjust the head restraint, harness, and head rest to get the perfect ‘custom-like’ fit that you’ll need to keep your child safe on the road.
- Side Impact Protected that’s engineered to distribute the force of a crash as evenly as possible. It’s uniquely designed in a way that keeps the body, head, neck, and spine in proper alignment while in a car accident.
- Uses tether webbing to anchor the seat at two points that help minimize the forward movement in the unfortunate event of a crash.
- Comes in several different color schemes and is appropriate for both girls and boys.
Diono RadianR100 Convertible ‘Booster’ Car Seat
- A brand new model for the year, the Diono RadianR100 Convertible ‘Booster’ Car Seat provides 3 adaptable modes for using from baby on up to 100 lbs.
- With a steel alloy frame and energy absorbing foam, it surpasses Federal crash test standards and meets NCAP standards for superior performance in serious car crashes.
- Rear facing from 5 to 40 lbs, forward facing from 20-65 pounds, and booster mode up to 100 lbs.
- Integrated 5 point safety harness with SuperLATCH installation for a secure and trustworthy fit in your vehicle.
- Folds up into an incredibly compact design that’s easy to transport – it’s even approved for airplanes!
- Long lasting and reliable. It’s rated for 10 years of life.
- Backed by a one year limited warranty.
- Cozy material is used to keep your child comfortable for long road trips – plus, it’s machine washable in case of any spills or accidents.
Britax Parkway SGL Booster Seat
- An easy to use, safe, and reliable choice, the Britax Parkway SGL Booster Seat utilizes several state-of-the-art features to top the ‘Best Bet’ list by the IIHS.
- Uses the ISOFLEX Flexible Lower LATCH System to securely fit it within your vehicle. It installs with 2 audible clicks and a simple pull to ensure it’s locked in position.
- SecureGuard technology uses the safety belt in your car to keep the lap portion of it in place, thus preventing your child from sliding under the lap belt. Ultimately, this reduces the risk of abdominal injury.
- Protects from side impacts since it has sufficient head support with large side walls to keep your child’s body properly aligned. This has been shown to limit bodily injury if your vehicle was ever hit from the side.
- No assembly is required. It comes as a complete unit and is protected by a one year limited warranty to guarantee the investment in your child’s safety.
- Suitable for children who range from 38 to 63 inches in height and are between 40 to 120 lbs. in weight.
Graco Highback TurboBooster
- An inexpensive, and ‘Best Bet’ choice by the IIHS, the Graco Highback TurboBooster has been rigorously crash tested to exceed US Safety Standards, assuring that your child will always be safe when in your vehicle.
- Open loop seat belt guide provides assurance that it’s properly installed before setting your child in it.
- Adjustable to grow with your child as they grow. Suitable for ages 3 to 10 ranging from 30 to 100 lbs. in weight or up to 57 inches tall.
- Uses EPS energy absorbing foam to handle high forces remarkably well.
- Adjustable headrest keeps the body in proper alignment to ensure safety while providing plenty of comfort and support.
- Very lightweight, easy to handle – weighs just 9 lbs.
- Protected by a limited 1 year warranty.
- Machine washable seat cushion.
Evenflo Maestro Car Seat Booster
- The Evenflo Maestro Car Seat Booster is an affordable, high quality choice that’s on the IIHS ‘best bet’ list, providing an exceptionally safe and budget friendly option.
- Uses RightFit belt position to create a secure and snug fit for your child while keeping them cozy and comfortable thanks to the incredibly soft polyester material that’s used in it’s construction.
- Meets or exceeds strict Safety Standards by the Federal Government to assure that it’s been properly side impact tested.
- Easily adjustable 5 point safety harness with armrests and a cup holder on each side.
- Lightweight and easy to install.
- Available in two colors – Keller or Adele.