Booster seat report ranking seat safety may mislead some parents

Booster seat

Parents need to buckle in children who are 8 or younger and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall back into booster seats, according to a new Georgia law. (WRDW-TV / June 30, 2011)

News 12 at This Morning / Friday, Nov. 4, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- After Georgia's booster seat law went into effect over the summer, many parents went searching for the perfect seat for their child.

A new report published by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety is claiming some are better than others.

A quick shopping trip for Tracy Bostic can turn out to be time consuming when she brings along her kids.

"I have a 7, a 5, a 3 and 7-month-old," she said.

The mother of four uses car seats and booster seats for all her children. The hard part isn't buckling them in, it's finding the right fit.

"It is difficult because my daughter, she's seven and she's kind of tall," Bostic said.

Adding to the stress of finding the perfect seat, is this new report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

It ranks more than 40 popular booster seats that parents can find on store shelves.

Rene Hopkins, the safe kids coordinator for our area says, "Statistically speaking one third of children are in the wrong type of restraint altogether."

Hopkins says the report can be misleading.

"They were using a standard mannequin. That mannequin didn't change its proportions when it was tested from one seat to another," she explained.

She says children have different proportions from their torso to where their hips sit when they are in a car seat.

"What fits one child well may not fit another child well," Hopkins explained.

In the report, several Evenflo models are under the not recommended list because they don't give a proper belt fit, but Hopkins says she's tested out a few of those seats that are not recommended.

"We got great fits on many many children. It's not about brand, make, model or cost."

Even Bostic purchased a "not recommended" item.

"That's shocking," Bostic said. "I have two safety first booster seats."

Hopkins says parents shouldn't be alarmed. If your child's lap belt comes across low on their hips and the shoulder belt runs across the middle of their shoulder bone, you've got the best seat, one that works for your child. All seats have to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards.

When purchasing a booster seat, keep your receipts and packaging in case you need to return it.


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