In a news release , the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offered tips on how to best evaluate booster seats and how to know when your child is proper strapped into the seat.
Unlike child restraints that have built-in harnesses, booster seats rely on the vehicles already-present safety belt to buckle to child in and are for children that have outgrown their forward-facing restraints. Their purpose is to make the adult seatbelt fit the child better.
The IIHS says that the proper fit is essential. They have a ratings system designed to help consumers determine if the shoulder and lap belt are in the proper position to protect their children. "Best Bets" are booster seats that provide a good fit for typical 4 to 8-year-olds in most cars, minivans and SUVs. "Good Bets" are able to provide an acceptable fit in most vehicles. Seats in the "not recommended" category do not provide a good fit and should be avoided where possible. The "check fit" category applies to those booster seats that the IIHS has tested but have varied results depending on the child's size and vehicle model.
To make sure that your child is securely fastened into the seat, the shoulder belt should be squarely in the center of the shoulder. It should not be slipping off onto the child's arm or touching their neck. The lap portion of the seatbelt should fit across the top of the child's thighs. It should not be raised onto their abdomen or loose enough that the child could pull the strap behind them.
As a Sumter personal injury attorney , I know the importance of a properly fitting booster seat. In my years as a personal injury lawyer , I've seen the effects of children not being properly restrained during car accidents and I urge all drivers to make sure that their passengers are properly secured prior to embarkation.